Russia: Bill to criminalise working for unregistered foreign CSOs

Bill to criminalise working for unregistered foreign civil society organisations (CSOs)

A new article in the Criminal Code provides for a maximum sentence of three years in prison.


On Monday, the State Duma committee for public building work and legislation recommended that the chamber pass the bill on first reading.

Earlier, a group of MPs submitted a bill to the State Duma which would make it a criminal offence to repeatedly participate in the work or organisation of activities in the Russian Federation of foreign or international CSOs whose data is not recorded in a special CSO register. This was explained on Telegram by Vasily Piskarev, chairman of the State Duma committee on security and countering corruption.

According to the recent legislative initiative, a new article would be inserted into the Criminal Code, providing for a criminal fine of 100,000–200,000 roubles, or up to two years’ imprisonment, with a possible ban on the right to hold certain positions for five years where there has been repeated involvement in the work of an international CSO.

The bill also provides for up to 200 hours of community service or up to two years of compulsory labour, with the potential for limitations on one’s liberty being applied for the same period.

The measure will cover not only those previously held administratively liable, but also those prosecuted under the Russian Federation Criminal Code for organising the activities of foreign CSOs designated as undesirable in the Russian Federation.

In addition, the measure’s authors are proposing a new basis on which to reject a foreign CSO’s application to register a sister organisation or subdivision. Rejection by the Ministry of Justice would follow if the branch or representative office of a foreign CSO that had previously been recorded in the register had received a three-year ban from the register for violating the law.

The website of the parliamentary channel Duma TV states: “This will help to stop illegal activities from continuing by preventing already‑discredited organisations from opening new branches.”


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