‘Foreign agents’ law can still be improved?
There is still hope that the ‘Foreign
Agents’ Law can be improved
worldwide of civil society looked at the effect of the above law at the
‘Grazhdanskaya Dvadtsatka’ (Civil 20) conference held at the Hotel National on
the above date.
subject prompted many question from the international specialists present.
Elena Topoleva, chair of the public chamber’s committee for social policy,
labour relations and quality of life issues and chief executive of the working
group for the development of NGOs (a daughter body of the presidential council
for the development of civil society and human rights) said:
law has given rise to many questions, doubts and concern on the part of civil
society. The public chamber opposed enactment although we agreed with the
argument that political activity should not be financed by foreign money.’
explained that the authorities had made it clear that the law was directed at
NGOs engaged in political activity and not at representatives of civil society.
However ‘political activity’ was defined so widely that any NGO could fall
within its scope.
Topoleva suggested that this was not a topic to be looked at in ‘black and
white’. She referred to a meeting between Vladimir Putin and representatives of
the above council at which she had raised the issue and the president had
replied that the matter was open to discussion. The council was currently
getting draft amendments ready. ‘We are not giving up hope of changing the situation but first want to
look at implementation issues’, she said. According to Ms Topoleva the
conversation between the public and the authorities is not one sided. The
government does intend to support NGOs and to supplement their resources from both
federal and regional budgets.