Russia: New Law Enacted Restricting Civil Society

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law legislation granting the Russian government the authority to shut down NGOs that it deems “undesirable.” The new law extends mainly to foreign NGOs and affords the government the leeway to fine and restrict their activities if it views them as illicit or in violation of the new law. The ability to shutter NGOs enshrined in the new legislation will have the effect of hardening existing legislation passed by the Duma in 2012 that labeled foreign NGOs “foreign agents.

The new law has been predictably panned by human rights activists concerned that it will serve as the coup de grace to an already febrile Russian civil society sector. The number of organizations listed as “undesirable” currently stands at 60, although it is probable that many other organizations will be added to the registry in the coming months.

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