Will Russia develop a legal definition of 'political activity'?

posted 30 Nov 2015, 02:15 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Nov 2015, 03:28 ]
26 November 2015

Source: HRO.org (info
Once again it has been promised that a legal definition of 'political activity', which is currently being applied arbitrarily by justice departments, prosecutors' offices and courts in Russia, will be developed, [this time] in December 2015 by a Russian Presidential Administration working group. Observers are dubious: is there really the will to produce a clear legal definition?

RAPSI, citing RIA Novosti, reports on 26 November 2015 on the latest plan to develop a definition.

In a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and members of the Human Rights Council in October 2015, the Head of State said it was necessary to prepare amendments to the NGO Law within three months. He noted that the concept of political activity in the law should not be too broad and cannot simply be used to include everything the authorities dislike. It later became known that the amendments to the NGO Law would be drafted by a working group led by the first Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration, Vyacheslav Volodin.

According to the newspaper Kommersant, the working group held a meeting on 25 November 2015, chaired by Mr. Volodin.

It is reported that this group commenced work on developing a legal definition of 'political activity' in relation to NGOs: the so-called 'foreign agents'. One of the meeting participants told the newspaper that Vyacheslav Volodin had called on those present to develop an "absolutely clear-cut" definition.

"At the group's meeting yesterday there were suggestions that this term should be understood to mean 'systematic' actions aimed at changing Government policy, or NGO activity that aims at retaining or obtaining power... According to the Kommersant source, the working group is to meet next in December to discuss the issue again in an attempt to finalise a definition," writes Kommersant.

Translated by Lindsay Munford