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Kremlin rejects criticism of Russia’s new law on ‘undesirable’ NGOs

May 26, 2015, 12:55 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"Undesirable" are those [organizations] that pose a threat to the national security and national interests," Peskov said
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Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS
MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. The Kremlin disagrees with the criticism of Russian laws classifying the NGOs as "foreign agents" and "undesirable organizations," Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

The claims against the law on "undesirable organizations" must be specific and not abstract, Peskov said, commenting on remarks by a number of human rights activists who have voiced concern over the passing of this law.

"Those who have concerns can formulate them clearly," Peskov said. "It must be based on specific facts," he stressed, adding that the claims of the organizations targeted by the laws cannot serve as grounds for revising them.

"This does not mean that the legislation is flawed," he said.

Peskov commented on including the Dynasty non-profit foundation to the register of NGOs listed as "foreign agents." "If it was not involved in political activities, they may cite this example," Peskov added.

"If it [foundation] receives funds from abroad, then it is a "foreign agent" in accordance with the legislation," Peskov explained. "If it is included on the list, but has not received any funds from abroad, then there are all the legal grounds to challenge this decision in court," he added.

The Kremlin spokesman said there are specific criteria here: either it receives money from abroad or not. "This cannot be a formal or informal characteristic," Peskov said.

"If you get money from abroad and are engaged in politics then you should declare yourself as a "foreign agent," the presidential spokesman said. "This does not mean that this activity is banned," he added, warning against distorting facts.

Peskov also explained that these two laws do not substitute each other.

"Undesirable" are those [organizations] that pose a threat to the national security and national interests," Peskov said. "Agents" do not necessarily pose a threat," he added. "These are completely different matters," he said.

Russia’s Justice Ministry on Monday listed the scientific and educational Dynasty Foundation of businessman Dmitry Zimin and the Liberal Mission educational foundation led by research advisor of the Higher School of Economics (HSE) Yevgeny Yasin in the register of "foreign agents." Now there are already 67 NGOs listed as "foreign agents" in Russia.

Media reports said earlier the Dynasty foundation disagreed with including it to the list of foreign agents explaining that the organization used the funds of Zimin from his accounts abroad rather than of foreign sponsors.

The Dynasty Foundation, founded by Zimin in 2002, seeks talented scientists and backs their ideas and projects in the natural and social sciences. The organization has 20 programs and projects in the sphere of the development of fundamental scientific research and education in Russia.

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