Russia: new legislation on educational activities could threaten CSOs
How new legislation on educational activities could threaten CSOs
Despite protests and petitions from the academic community, the Russian State Duma approved amendments to the “Education” Bill during its third and final reading.
The law introduces a new term “educational activity” and oversight of the implementation of such work. Here, lawyers from the Legal Team analyse the new restrictions and explain what can be expected as a result:
Who will be affected by the changes
The proposed legislation states that the requirements relating to educational activity shall only apply to organisations that have a licence to carry out such work and where this effort is their main area of activity. Consequently, organisations that don’t have a licence and are not engaged in educational activity will not be subject to the law’s requirements and therefore free to undertake such work.
However, the lawyers agree that the legislative text is ambiguous as written and it is possible that the government will provide a new interpretation of the relevant clause.
Regulation of educational activities
“Bendable” regulations, creating double standards and a real mess are just some of the things that experts have been saying about the amendments to the Bill. To read more about their reaction, go to the ASI website.
The law imposes limits on how educational activities are carried out. It will therefore be “illegal to use educational activity to incite social, racial, national or religious divisions; to promote exclusivity, the superiority or inferiority of citizens based on their social, racial, national, religious or linguistic identity and on their attitude to religion, including propagating false information about historical, national, religious and cultural traditions of peoples and to incite actions that violate the Russian Constitution”.
These requirements are broader in scope than those for educational activities.
Requirements for organisations
The legislation does not currently impose other restrictions on organisations engaged in educational activities, e.g. there are no special registration or reporting requirements etc. However, in future the government may establish additional requirements by State decree.
The Bill first appeared last November, with one of its goals being to “prevent negative foreign interference in the education process”.
The law will come into force on 1 June this year, subject to the approval of the Federation Council and sign-off by the Russian President.