Duma approves legislation to regulate ‘foreign agents’
The State Duma approves legislation to regulate foreign agents
The legislative text incorporates provisions from different laws which will establish the status of foreign agents. The law will come into effect on 1 December this year.
Who can be recognised as a foreign agent and what are the implications?
Any Russian or foreign legal entity, regardless of its organisational or legal structure, or any public association or person, irrespective of their citizenship, may be recognised as a foreign agent if they receive foreign funding or are influenced by external sources.
The law makes provision for the maintenance of a register containing information on foreign agents.
Foreign agents are not allowed to:
- receive State funding when carrying out creative activity;
- teach in State or municipal educational institutions;
- carry out educational activities, produce information materials or organise events that are aimed at or involve underage children;
- be involved in the procurement of goods, works and services to fulfil State and municipal requirements;
- take part as an expert in providing environmental advice on behalf of the State, or work for an organisation by offering environmental expertise;
- invest in businesses that are of strategic importance for national defence and State security.
Identifying individuals associated with a foreign agent
An individual with links to a foreign agent is deemed to be someone who:
- is a founder, manager, member or employee of an organisation with links to a foreign agent legal entity;
- receives money or assets from a foreign agent, including via intermediaries, in order to carry out political activities;
Individuals with links to foreign agents will be included on a separate register and will not be subject to the requirements and restrictions imposed on foreign agents.
Definition of a foreign source
Foreign governments, foreign authorities, international organisations, foreign nationals and stateless persons, as well as “foreign entities that have no legal status” can be classed as foreign sources.
In addition, Russian citizens or legal entities that receive funds or other assets from the above mentioned sources, as well as individuals influenced by them, can also be considered as a foreign source.
Acknowledgement of foreign agent sources
Foreign agents are also obliged to disclose their status to their employers and public authorities, and to indicate on the material they produce that they are involved in professional activities or actions which were the reasons for their inclusion on the register.
The procedure for de-registration
In order to be taken off the register, a CSO must either stop receiving funds from foreign sources, cease all political activity or do both at the same time.
The law introduces a simplified procedure for removing individuals who have been included on the register for the first time. A person can submit an application and enclose documents that confirm the cessation of the activities for which they were included on the register. A final decision will be taken by the Minister of Justice or his deputy.