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Putin denies elements of Stalinism, urges discipline

April 25, 2013, 16:48 UTC+3

The president said he welcomed the work by non-governmental organizations and even colleagues from the Opposition

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MOSCOW, April 25 (Itar-Tass) – President Vladimir Putin said he does not think there exist "elements" of Stalinism at present, and is confident that Russia will not have any. The country needs order, discipline and equality before the law, he said in a televised question and answer session on Thursday.

"Stalinism is related to the personality cult, reprisals and camps; there are no such things in Russia, and hopefully, they will not happen," Putin told Echo Moscow editor-in-chief Alexei Venediktov.

"But this does not imply we should not have order, discipline and justice," he noted adding that everybody should be equal before the law and that people are only taken to prison for law-breaking.

Commenting on the Opposition’s actions, the president expressed the opinion that the mass media are now capable of covering any events, including the actions by opposition-minded people. "Why attack people in uniform for it?" he said.

The president said he welcomed the work by non-governmental organizations and even colleagues from the Opposition. "The authorities' response is often weak or they do not react at all to many shortcomings in their work, and it is very important to me, as the guarantor of the Constitution, to know what is happening," he explained.

"But if this activity is aimed at self-promotion, it is bad, and if this activity /by non-governmental organizations/ is funded from abroad, nobody is against it, but let them tell where the money comes from and how it has been spent. In the USA, such a law has been effective since 1938; it applies; why can't we afford the same, what's undemocratic about it?" Putin said.

The activity of non-governmental organizations is regulated by the federal law dated January 12, 1996. On July 20, 2012, Russia amended the law by including clauses on non-governmental organizations – "foreign agents" which became effective on November 21, 2012.

There are 654 non-governmental organizations operating in Russia which receive funds from abroad. Since the adoption of the law on non-governmental organizations - "foreign agents," 28.3 billion roubles have been transferred to the accounts of these organizations from abroad; 855 million roubles have been transferred through diplomatic missions.

As of January 1, 2013, there were 219,688 non-governmental organizations registered in Russia, according to the Justice Ministry, 105,000 public associations, more than 25,000 religious associations, 87,000 entities of other organizational/legal forms, 54 political parties with over 2,100 branches, and 14 branches of international organizations and foreign non-governmental organizations.

Russia allocated 4,7 billion roubles for the support of non-governmental organizations in 2012 /including one billion roubles worth of presidential grants/. Federal budget 2013 envisions 8.285 billion roubles for NGO support /including 2.37 billion roubles in presidential grants/.

In 2012, 3,800 statements of claim were filed with courts demanding that NGOs be shut down due to violations.

Putin underlined that Russia was not placing any restrictions on the Internet. "Internet is a freedom space, but the society should fence itself from pedophilia, drug abuse, pornography and propaganda of suicide; these are the four positions which we restricted in the operation of the Internet," he said.

"All the countries have long adopted such laws," the head of state noted.

"The society must and should fence itself from such manifestations for the sake of the country’s future," the president said.


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