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Stricter NGO Rules to Apply to Transparency International, Golos

Kremlin and St. Basil's
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About 1,000 non-governmental organizations, including anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International and independent election monitor Golos, will likely fall under proposed tighter regulations for foreign-funded NGOs that conduct "political" activity, according to a Kremlin source.

Under a law submitted to the State Duma on Friday by ruling party United Russia, such NGOs must register as "foreign agents" within 90 days of the rules coming into force or risk 300,000-ruble fines and four-year prison terms.

Of about 230,000 non-governmental organizations operating in the country, a few dozen thousand receive money from abroad, and about 1,000 of those are involved in "political" activity and will need to register under the new law, a Kremlin source told RIA-Novosti overnight Sunday to Monday.

The source said a court would decide whether a group's undertakings qualify as being "political." He said Golos, Transparency International, and environmental groups will likely fall under the new rules.

"If an organization deals with corruption, election campaigning ­ well, probably it's obvious that that is pure politics. And in that case that organization must just register in accordance with the established procedure," the source said.

Golos and Transparency International release reports that are often critical of the authorities.

A Kremlin source told the news agency that the bill could be passed in July and come into force in fall.

Keywords: Russia, Nonprofits, Activists - Russian News - Russia

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