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Law on foreign agents restricts foreign intervention, says Putin

He stressed the need for improving law enforcement practices

MOSCOW, December 19. /TASS/. The law on foreign agents is aimed at restricting foreign intervention in Russia’s internal affairs, President Vladimir Putin told the customary year-end news conference in Moscow on Friday.

"As far as individuals are concerned, what is this all about? When the law emerged concerning organizations that receive money from abroad and in fact address domestic policy issues, each state, let me stress this, takes measures to restrict foreign intervention in its internal affairs. Our law has precisely this aim," Putin said.

He pointed out that individuals getting money from foreign sources for internal political activities were obliged to declare this.

"The one who pays sets the tune," Putin said.

He stressed the need for improving law enforcement practices.

"There are certain things deserving attention and improvement to ensure loose interpretations should be avoided. This is most important, because political, internal political activity can apply to no end of things - ecological work and humanitarian projects, including those in the health service. This should be prevented by all means. Law enforcement practices should be perfected. If the law has some loopholes, then it should be corrected," he explained.

The Federation Council at the end of November approved a law making it possible to award the foreign agent status to individuals. Currently any mass media outlet declared as a foreign agent is obliged to abide by all restrictions and obligations established under the NGO law. Also, they face similar responsibility for legal violations. The newly-adopted law stipulates that the status of foreign mass media outlets acting as foreign agents can be assigned to individuals, if they spread content (including that in the Internet) meant for an unlimited range of persons and receive financing from outside the country. This concerns cash transfers and other assets obtained from foreign countries, their official agencies, international and foreign organizations and foreign individuals or Russian legal entities that receive cash from the aforesaid sources.