Medvedev: ‘The law on NGOs might be corrected’

to the business newspaper, Vzglyad, Mr Medvedev in his capacity as prime
minister has been speaking about the foreign agents law and has stated that if
it hinders the development of civil society or militates against communal
initiatives, amendments might be incorporated to correct the situation.


comment was made following the meeting of the Barents/Euro-Arctic Region
Council. The prime minister stressed that Russia had every right to monitor
organisations created on its territory and expressed confidence that the
inspections of Russian NGOs would not  
influence relations between Russia and Norway. He went on to explain: ‘So
far nothing out of the ordinary has happened even though there has been a lot
of talk in that regard. It seems to me that any legislator is bound to keep an
eye on what happens in practice when a law is implemented. If a law is seen to
be reasonable and to operate so as to promote the healthy development of civil
society, then it should be preserved even if it is not to someone’s liking.’


prime minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, who was also present at the meeting,
expressed the view that the ability of ecological organisations to work in
peace ‘is very important for the Barents community’. According to the
ecological organisation Bellona, Mr Medvedev replied that the development of
connections between the peoples of Norway and Russia were not dependent on
third sector involvement. He added: ‘Civil society may be important but it is
not the number one concern and is hardly likely to be in the future’. The chief
executive of Bellona, Nils Bemer, thought that the Russian politician did not
appreciate the role of a well organised third sector in the life of a society.
‘The role of NGOs is to pose critical questions to government to aid the
development of a democratic society. If NGOs are excluded from the government’s
sphere of competence, a critical view might be foregone’, he claimed.

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