Russia to amend law enabling to shut foreign organisations

Russia prepares for law to legitimize closing of ‘undesirable’ foreign and international organisations following declining relations with West

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Russian parliament on Friday approved a law proposal that enables prosecutors and judges to shut down foreign and international organisations when they were declared “unwanted” or “undesirable” by Russian authorities.

The content of the proposed bill will provide Russian legislative authorities to close foreign and international organisations operating in the country if they pose "a threat to the foundation of the constitutional order of the Russian Federation, the defence capability of the country or the security of the state."

The state Duma, lower house of the Russian parliament, passed the law with a vote of 442 to 3 to the upper house where the proposal after it was admitted will be sent to approval of President Vladimir Putin.

According to the accepted proposal, foreign and international organisations will end their activities and operations in society and internet if Russian judicial decide those are undesirable in Russia.

Rights groups and watchers fear that if the upcoming Russian law is going to be used against terminating activities of international organisations operating in Russia like Transparency International, Amnesty International and Greenpeace.

Previously the Russian parliament has already limited authorization non-governmental organisations in order to tighten the state control especially after the relations underwent into crisis with the West following the conflicts in Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine since the last year.

Since the colour revolutions have emerged in the post-Soviet space, Russian authorities increased state control over NGOs and media, particularly those that receive Western funds by the advent of Putin’s reordered constitutional third term started in 2012.

Colour revolutions started with Georgia’s Rose Revolution in 2003 and continued with Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution and Tulip Revolution in 2005 in Kyrgyzstan and toppled pro-Russian governments in the respective countries.

The crisis in Ukraine and deteriorating relations with the West further triggered Russia’s suspicions and distrust in Western-funded or directly-owned organisations which operate or organise civil society in the country.

Russian authorities meticulously follow Western and international organisations like Open Society Institute and Radio Free Europe which allegedly supported pro-Western oppositions either in Russia or in the former Soviet constituent states.

Last year, Russian parliament admitted a law in Russia’s media sector on which the state has undeniably increased its grip during the 15 years of Putin era.

Russian media law which was signed by Putin has limited restriction share of foreign stakeholders to 20 percent in Russia and banned foreigners to become co-founders in the media sector. The new Russian media law will come to effect by the beginning of 2016.

However, Russia has also long been suffering from ethnic separatism and radical organisations which provide a legal base for the state in order to ban some civil society organisations and media outlets which are believed to get foreign funds.

TRTWorld and agencies