Duma backs criminal prosecution for involvement with ‘undesirable’ CSOs
State Duma backs criminal prosecution for those receiving training from ‘undesirable’ CSOs
18 May 2021
Sentences of up to six years are proposed for those running such organisations, while those participating in NGO (CSO) activities face up to four years.
The State Duma has approved the first reading of a draft bill to introduce separate criminal liability for taking part in the activities of ‘undesirable’ CSOs abroad. These changes pertain to Article 284.1 of the Criminal Code and Article 31 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
According to the bill, criminal liability also covers training at ‘undesirable’ CSOs abroad.
The explanatory statement notes that the State Duma commission established “numerous instances of Russian citizens abroad undergoing training to influence election campaigns, organise mass demonstrations and unsanctioned political rallies, including the engagement of minors, and to conduct anti-Russian information campaigns and promote tolerance of drug use in society”.
Participation in the activities of such organisations can carry a fine (from 300,000 to 500,000 roubles) and mandatory labour. It can also carry a prison sentence from one to four years.
“This sentencing is intended for persons already given an administrative punishment for similar acts”, explains the State Duma website.
For the management of ‘undesirable’ CSOs there is a proposed introduction of mandatory labour of up to 480 hours or a prison sentence from two to six years.
According to the bill, a person committing an offence under this Article may avoid criminal liability if they have willingly ceased participation in CSO activity and “actively helped to uncover and/or investigate the offence”.
The list of organisations labelled ‘undesirable’ on Russian territory was published on the Ministry of Justice website. There are now 31 CSOs on the list. In 2020 alone, the General Prosecutor designated 12 foreign CSOs as ‘undesirable’.