Registration of non-profits as 'foreign agents' will no longer be voluntary

posted 8 Jun 2014, 14:38 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 8 Jun 2014, 14:40 ]
5 June 2014

Source: (info)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law amendments to the legislation on non-profit organizations. These amendments empower the Ministry of Justice to add organizations to the register of foreign agents if, in the view of the Ministry, they are such.

Until these amendments were adopted, non-profits could voluntarily register themselves as foreign agents. Henceforth, it will be possible to appeal against a decision by the Ministry of Justice in the courts.

The amendments also introduce new grounds for unscheduled inspections of non-profits, namely receipt of information that a non-profit has the status of a foreign agent but has not asked to be registered as such, reports.

As points out, the amendments enter into force from the time of their publication (4 June 2014).

According to the data of the Ministry of Justice, last year about 2700 non-profits received foreign funding to a total of 36 bn roubles. A spokesperson for the Ministry said the share of the funding received by organizations that ‘have indications of being foreign agents’ was about 10m roubles.

The law on non-profits as ‘foreign agents’ came into force at the end of 2012. It obliges non-profits engaged in political activity and receiving funding from abroad to register as foreign agents. Until the passing of the latest amendments, entry onto the register of foreign agents was in practice voluntary. At present only one organization is on the register.

The new amendments introduce fines for non-profit organizations that are foreign agents for failing to provide, or for failing to provide in good time, information to the relevant government body (from 10,000 roubles to 30,000 roubles for responsible individuals, and ten times higher for legal persons).