Possible amendments to Foreign Agents Law?
‘I am ready to submit a package of proposed
amendments to the legislation on NGOs to the government and give them my
support as a citizen’: Arkady Dvorkovich
the Civil 20 summit Mr Dvorkovich announced that the Foreign Agents Law might
be improved based on actual experience of its application like any other. He
told an ASI correspondent that: ‘As a citizen and member of the government I am
expecting the institutions of civil society, the communal organisations, and
the Public Chamber in conjunction with Open Government to come up with a
practical set of amendments which can be considered, evaluated and discussed
and in the event of their being seen as expedient, submitted to the State Duma
(Parliament) for its consideration.
of the summit’s delegates representing ‘Dobry Zhest’, (Kind Gesture) asked a
question about the notorious law on foreign agents, saying, ‘What sort of a
foreign agent am I? We are a charity, helping people in the Privolzhsky region
with hearing problems. It turns out that if we receive finance for our
charitable programmes, we will not be able to work with the government. That’s
reply, Mr Dvorkovich said ‘It would of course seem strange to me if the Russian
School of Economics were to be called a ‘foreign agent’ although I understand
that such a risk exists.’ He thought that in the short term that it would be
necessary to discuss the legislation in the light of experience of its
implementation, to formulate amendments and to introduce them.
Mr Dvorkovich observed that any decisions making in the area of open
information and state control was a matter of some complexity. National
security was a worldwide concern. Today in the USA the security agencies were
comprehensively monitoring members of the public in the interests of security.
The relationship between protecting freedom and providing security was a
nuanced and sensitive issue in national politics. He was however ready to
submit amendments proposed by the NGOs to government and give them his support.
explained that the (foreign agents) legislation had formally been prepared
following the form of precedents from other countries, especially the USA, but
that what mattered as always was the detail. He continued that he had not heard
how the American law worked in practice. One of the organisations, with whose
foundation he was connected, had gone through the procedure for change of
status from ‘foreign agent’ in the USA. ‘There they already have a settled
practice. But now we too are able to write the law on the basis of the Russian
reality’, he said.