Russia Won’t Let NGOs Be Used for Destructive Ends as in Ukraine – Putin

MOSCOW, April 7 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday the country will not allow the activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to be used toward destructive ends as has recently happened in Ukraine.

“Modern Russian legislation creates all of the conditions for the transparent and free activity of non-governmental social organizations, but we will never allow them to be used for destructive goals,” Putin said at a meeting with the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

Putin said NGOs in Ukraine had sponsored nationalistic and neo-Nazi organizations, as well as the gunmen who became “the main striking force of the government’s unconstitutional overthrow” in February.

Russia has consistently warned that the new government in Ukraine has a dangerous fascist element of Ukrainian ultra-nationalism, leading Moscow to take steps to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine.

Under a November 2012 law, which Moscow said was needed to limit the influence of foreign governments inside the country, NGOs that receive funding from abroad and whose activities are in any way political are obliged to register as foreign agents in Russia.

Putin said the law is equivalent to the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), passed in 1938, that requires that agents representing the interests of foreign powers disclose their relationship with the foreign government and reveal their related activities and finances.

Commenting on the law, Putin said last April that Russia has no bans on political activity for organizations that receive funds from abroad, but just wants to know the origin and final destination of the money.

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