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Russia's Justice Ministry Defines 'Political Activity' of 'Foreign Agents'

A woman surveys the work of a graffiti artist, who has painted the words "Foreign Agent" on the side of a building. hrw.org

Russia's Justice Ministry has prepared a bill specifying the definition of ?€?political activity?€? that is mentioned in the the country's law on ?€?foreign agents.?€?

The document was published on the official website for new bills and draft laws.

?€?The bill proposes to establish that political activity can constitute participating in organizing and carrying out public events, such as rallies, protests, demonstrations, marches or pickets, ?€¦ by organizing and carrying out public discussions or speeches,?€? the document reads.

In addition to this, the bill defines political activity as publicly ?€?appraising the government's decisions and policies?€? and appealing to the government.

President Vladimir Putin signed the so-called foreign agents law in 2012, requiring all NGOs that receive funding from abroad and are engaged in political activity to declare that their materials were produced by a ?€?foreign agent,?€? a term widely associated in Russia with espionage.

The law has been broadly criticized for its loose definition of what constitutes ?€?political activity.?€?

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