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Image: The second reading of the NGO bill

The second reading of the NGO bill

Saturday, 24 December 2005

On 21 December 2005 the Russian State Duma by an overwhelming majority has passed the second reading of the project of the federal law # 233364-4 “About the alteration of some legislative acts of the Russian Federation”. The deputies included more then sixteen amendments into the first variant of the project. As expected, the deputies allowed all of Vladimir Putin’s recommendations. (Read more) (24-DEC-2005)

Tree hundred and seventy six (376) deputies voted for the support of the NGO Bill, ten (10) deputies voted against.

The concept of strengthening state control over NGO activity which was supported at the first reading evoked a big protest throughout the international society. This draft was characterized as too strict. Russian and foreign human rights defenders were worried about possible violations against democratic principles and norms of international law. (read more).

A result of new amendments is that the most odious suggestion of the first reading - the re-registration of all NGOs – was repealed. The prohibition for the creation of NGOs has been preserved for cases where its goals are contrary to the Russian Constitution and treating the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and interests of the Russian Federation.

The financing from abroad is a focal point of attention in the Bill, but after the second reading the direct financial control of NGOs by a special Control Agency is forbidden. Now the financial information of NGOs can be gained only from the tax inspectorate.

All disputable procedures for the limitation of NGO activity can be appealed in Court.

Unlike the first reading after the second reading the bill allowed for the creation of representative offices of foreign NGOs in the Russian Federation but it establishes a special procedure for them. The procedure of notifying a special Federal Registration Agency will be Introduced for the registration of international NGOs.

But the law prohibits the creation of foreign NGOs on the territory of the Russian closed administrative-territorial formations.

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