Duma proposes to ease sanctions on NGOs
A draft Bill has been submitted to the Russian Duma which proposes replacing administrative fines with a warning for NGOs.
A warning can replace an administrative fine if an NGO has committed a first-time offence which has been reported by State or municipal authorities, according to the Bill’s Explanatory Note. The Bill itself has been published on the State Duma’s official website.
At the moment, such a rule only applies to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and those engaged in business activities without forming a corporate entity and their employees. For NGOs, there are currently no alternatives to administrative fines. A preventative accountability measure such as a warning is not applicable.
“In such a situation, failure to use the relevant provision in the Bill in relation to NGOs (who generally carry out their work on a pro-bono basis) puts them at a disadvantage compared to commercial bodies which, unlike NGOs, normally make a profit and so have the wherewithal to pay any fines. So when it comes to committing the same offences and being subject to administrative sanctions, NGOs find themselves in a more disadvantageous position than SMEs”, says the Explanatory Note.
The Bill has been registered and submitted to the Chairman of the State Duma for consideration. Earlier, the Russian President signed a law prohibiting NGOs registered on the list of “foreign agents” from taking part in an independent anti-corruption review.