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Duma committee supports ban on NGO using US grants

December 17, 2012, 20:42 UTC+3

A violation of this ban will entail full termination of operation of such NGOs and seizure of all of their assets and property

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MOSCOW, December 17 (Itar-Tass) —— The Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Development recommended adopting an amendment to the “anti-Magnitsky” draft law, which allows the authorities to suspend the registration of an NGO engaged in political activities using American grants.

The committee recommended supplementing the draft law with a provision that allows the Justice Ministry to suspend the operation of NGOs which “are engaged in political activities in Russia and receive donations, primarily from U.S. citizens or organisations” and implement “projects that threaten the national security of Russia”.

A violation of this ban will entail full termination of operation of such NGOs and seizure of all of their assets and property.

However if an NGO rejects U.S. financial support, it will be able to restore its registration in Russia, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation Vladimir Pligin said.

At the same time, the committee refused to expand the application of the law to representatives of other countries where the rights of Russian citizens may be violated.

It decided against supporting a symmetrical response to the Magnitsky Act, which imposed visa restrictions “on U.S. citizens who have violated the rights of Russian citizens”.

The committee advised the Duma to pass the “anti- Magnitsky” legislation in a second reading on December 19 in order to hold a third reading on December 21.

If an NGO meets two conditions - gets foreign funding and is engaged in political activities - it will be required to be listed in the register of NGOs that perform the functions of “foreign agents”, a Kremlin source said earlier.

Foreign funding means “all money coming from abroad from governments, states, international or other organisations, individuals as well as Russian organisations with foreign capital with the exception of open joint stock companies with foreign capital”.

The law largely copies the rules of the American law on the registration of foreign agents. They have rather strict registration rules, the Kremlin official said.

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