Law signed extending NGO inspections
Vladimir Putin signs a law on additional grounds for impromptu inspections of NGOs
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law extending the list of grounds for impromptu inspections of NGOs by the Federation’s Ministry of Justice. Previously, the only grounds for conducting such inspections were representations from an electoral commission tasked with evaluating information provided by the public and organisations regarding their donations to political parties, as well as to candidates’ election funds and electoral associations.
Changes to the grounds for these inspections involve:
- Expiry of the date for the removal of the breach contained in the notice previously issued by the competent authority to the NGO;
- Receipt of information provided to the competent authority by state bodies and local autonomous groups on breaches of Russian law by an NGO as a result of their activities, and (or) evidence of extremism in their actions;
- An order (direction) from the head of the competent authority issued on the instruction of the Russian President or Government or in line with the requirements of the public prosecutor for undertaking an impromptu inspection to monitor compliance of laws based on material and submissions received by the public prosecutor’s offices;
Prior warning to an NGO of an impromptu inspection will not be allowed.
The law extending the list of grounds for impromptu checks was initially adopted by the Russian State Duma and approved by the Russian Federation Council. Broadening the list is essential to the Ministry of Justice which asserts that “losing an opportunity for timely regulation of evidence of breaches of Russian law by NGOs will substantially reduce the effectiveness of federal state monitoring of all NGO activities.”
Experts from the third sector believe that the enactment of any law that in practice legalises arbitrary interference in Russian NGO activities could have a negative impact on their work.
Author: Georgi Ivanushkin