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Alekseyeva For Simplifying Accounting Rules For NGOs

MOSCOW. March 9 (Interfax) - The simplification of accounting rules for religious organizations in Russia may be the first step towards simplifying accounting rules for all public organizations, president of he Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseyeva said.

"I hope that the simplification for religious organizations is the first step and that (rules) will be simplified for us as well. One would like to pin hope on this," she told Interfax on Friday.

"Accounting procedures should be simplified for all organizations, moreover, accounting procedures required by law (for non-governmental organizations) should be eliminated, because the previous accounting rules were enough to exercise financial control over these organizations. Now much more control is exercised over us as compared with commercial organizations that have income," she said, adding: "I do not know why we are being controlled in such a way, and it looks as if they are afraid of us more than they are of commercial organizations."

Russian human rights activists have been considering registering as organizations, Alekseyeva said.

The accounting rules for public organization prescribed in the new law "are redundant," she said. "They explain this by saying that it is necessary so that terrorists and extremists cannot use us to pursue their goals," the human rights activist said.

However, she said she believed that there are enough law enforcement agencies and special services in Russia to control the situation. "What are they paid for? Let them control terrorists and extremists. Why should we be overburdened with accounting rules that will consume all of our time if we comply with them. We will not have time to work, we will be writing reports all the time," Alekseyeva said.