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Monday, October 24, 2016

The skeptical head of the HRC commented on “mitigation” of the law on NPOs

The bill, which guaranteed the charities receiving donations from foreigners entering the register of “foreign agents”, will be commuted to the second reading, the relevant Duma Committee. But misses to the register charities and NGOs any one still does not guarantee…

photo: Gennady Cherkasov

20 April 2016, the state Duma adopted in the first reading the bill prepared by the working group at the presidential Administration with participation of the Ministry of justice and submitted by the deputies of all Duma factions. It proposes to clarify the concept of “political activity” — as is well known, the presence of this activity, coupled with getting at least one dime or dollar from foreigners or Russians with money of foreign origin, is the basis for inclusion in the registry of NCOs-“foreign agents”. A “political activity” the authors of the bill believe and “public appeals to state bodies”, and “other actions having an impact” on the activities of these bodies or officials, and “participation in organizing and conducting public discussions, and dissemination, including via the Internet, “assessments adopted by the state bodies of decisions and their policies”.

A charitable organization with a small fraction of foreign funding is still not included in the registry, in such a formulation would have been, it is inevitable that their representatives are conducting public activities, participate in round tables and discussions in the media, work in expert councils under government bodies…

The second reading of the bill will be adjusted. Adopted in first reading in the text stipulated that “political activity does not include activities in science, culture, art, health, prevention and health protection, social maintenance, social support and protection of citizens, protection of motherhood and childhood, social support of persons with disabilities, propaganda of healthy lifestyle, physical culture and sports, protection of flora and fauna, charitable activities as well as activities promoting charity and volunteering” — but only “provided”, if this activity… is not political in the very broadest sense of the word and not go beyond (the scope of) the relevant field of activity”. Submitted to the head of the Committee for public associations and religious organizations Yaroslav Nilavum (LDPR) amendment proposes to remove the words about the “conditions” under which charitable and other socially oriented organizations can get into the registry registered as foreign agents. In conversation with “MK” the Deputy called the amendment “coherent” and said that the state Duma may adopt the bill in the second and third reading next week.

The Director of the Foundation for children with oncohematological and other severe diseases “gift of life” Ekaterina Chistyakova told “MK” that “discussed possible texts of amendments, among them were those who seemed to us more perfect”. The offer g-on Nilov, in her words, “just returns us to what is now, restores the status quo. This, of course, a compromise, but he at least does not worsen the situation.”

If you look at the current version of the Law “On NGOs”, it is possible to ensure that Ms. Chistyakova rights: amendment actually returns a clause about charities and other carrying out social functions of the organization to its present appearance.

“The amendment improves the text of the bill, but only in this part,” — said the “MK” head of the HRC Mikhail Fedotov: a comprehensive definition of political activities were, and “it falls under any public activity — even the garage cooperative, at least sections of yoga”.

“In any case, you have to remember that there is a decision of the constitutional court, which expressly recognized the concept of “political activity” evaluation, and, if any NCOs, albeit ecological, receiving foreign funding, will simultaneously engage with geopolitical issues, nothing prevents the Ministry of justice to recognize her as a “foreign agent”, — considers g-n Nilov…

Now in the registry of NGOs-registered as a foreign agent 126 organizations. 12 of them “ceased to perform functions of a foreign agent”, no longer obtain foreign financing, 17 were eliminated.

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