Russia's NGO Law will inevitably result in a contraction of space and opportunity for NGOs: An interview with Boris Pustyntsev, Director of the Russia-based Citizens' Watch
Boris Pustyntsev, Director of the Russia-based Citizens' Watch, speaks to CIVICUS about the impact of the new 'NGO Law' and recent restrictions on civil society activism in Russia.
The Russian Parliament recently adopted a new NGO law. Can you tell us a bit about the requirements set out in the law?
The law requires NGOs which receive funds from foreign sources and "participate in political activities" to apply for inclusion in a special registrar of NGOs which "perform functions of a foreign agent." After registering as a foreign agent, the NGO is required to provide relevant administrative authorities with detailed information pertaining to the amount of funds and other property received from foreign sources as well as information detailing how the funding and property will be used. In addition, every NGO registered as a 'foreign agent' must regularly submit documents detailing its activities, structure and members of its governing bodies to these authorities.
Furthermore, all publications issued and disseminated by NGOs designated as 'foreign agents' must include a notice that it has been published by an NGO registered as a 'foreign agent.' Also, any public events, including conferences, seminars or roundtable discussions, etc., organized by such an NGO must be preceded by an announcement that the organizer has been registered as a 'foreign agent.'