MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) – A new law obliging Russian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) financed from abroad and involved in political activity to register as “foreign agents” comes into force on Tuesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law forcing NGOs engaged in political activity with foreign financing to be classed as “foreign agents” in July. The new law has been met with criticism from Russian human rights organizations who say a series of Kremlin-backed laws is an attempt to suppress opposition.
Under the new legislation, NGOs would have to publish a biannual report on their activities and carry out an annual financial audit. Failure to comply with the law could result in fines of up to 500,000 rubles ($15,900).
Kremlin officials have repeatedly claimed that Washington is using NGOs in Russia as a cover to bring about political change. Putin once famously called Russian NGOs involved in politics “jackals.”
What Changes Lie in Store for Non-Profit Organizations
The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, has passed a series of controversial laws in recent months, including the NGO law and a law stipulating a substantial hike in protest-related fines. Critics have claimed it is part of the Kremlin’s wide-ranging crackdown on dissent and what it perceives to be foreign interference in Russian domestic affairs.