Heavy fines for non-compliant NGOs?

should expect a substantial fine for late submission of reports on their

This proposal was made to the State Duma by the
Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building. The amendments to
Federal Law N121 ‘On the Introduction of
Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation regarding the
regulation of Non-profit Organisations, which function as a foreign agent’
stipulate a penalty for failure to provide information for those non-profit
organisations that fall under the definition of “foreign

For failure or delay in providing statutory
information on their activities, NGOs as legal entities will have to pay between
500,000 to 1 million roubles. Meanwhile, penalties for officials are between
30,000 to 50,000 roubles and for ordinary citizens it is from 3,000 to 5,000

In accordance with these proposed amendments, if
“foreign agent” NGOs publish or distribute materials through the media and
Internet without indicating their status as a “foreign agent” the will have to
pay a one million roubles fine.

Alexander Cherkasov, the chairman of the Memorial
Human Rights Centre, has said that one can comment on the news of the
introduction of heavy fines, but overall the new law is “incompatible with
life.” Adding to this the human rights activist said that the unclear wording of
the law allows “arbitrary and broad interpretation.” Cherkasov pointed out the
use of the term “political activity” in the law is understood as “any public
work”, not only participation in the election campaign, but any statement on
socially significant topics.

Svetlana Gannushkina, chair of the Civil Assistance
Committee, considers the amendments that introduce heavy fines to the law “in
line with today’s relationship to civil society.” And, according to Gannushkina,
disregards innovations of NGOs today and makes them “more accountable” than any
business structure.

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