Law of the Week: State Duma approves bill extending restrictions with regard to ‘undesirable foreign organisations’

Week-ending 11 June 2021

This week on 9 June the State Duma adopted in third reading a bill expanding the scope of legislation on ‘undesirable’ foreign organisations. Under the bill, it will be illegal for Russian citizens and organisations outside Russian borders to take part in activities organised by ‘undesirable’ foreign organisations, and any organisation that provides services to an ‘undesirable’ organisation will be designated ‘undesirable’ itself.


RFE/RL, 9 June 2021: The Russian parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma, has approved the third and final reading of a bill that widens the scope of a controversial existing law on “undesirable” organizations. Under the bill approved on June 9, Russian citizens and organizations located in any country of the world will be barred from taking part in the activities of foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that are labeled “undesirable” in Russia. According to the bill, “any foreign or international NGOs that provide services or transfer money to NGOs that have the status of an undesirable organization in Russia” will be by extension defined as “undesirable” as well.

Civil Rights Defenders, 11 June 2021: On 9 June, the Russian parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma, adopted a bill that expands the government’s powers to label organisations as ‘undesirable’. It is one of three bills introduced in May this year to further suppress civil society and political opposition ahead of the parliamentary elections in September, Civil Rights Defenders notes.  The three bills were introduced on 4 May, supposedly to prevent ‘foreign interference in elections.’ The bills will add to the Russian government’s arsenal of laws that suppress the country’s political opposition and independent civil society. The first two have now been adopted, enabling authorities to impose strict measures against those that are critical towards Putin’s regime. The third bill will be voted on in the State Duma on 15 June.  

Other news:

The Moscow Times, 10 June 2021: Russian authorities are ramping up pressure on researchers and activists who oppose Moscow’s historical narrative, especially concerning Stalin-era purges and collaboration with Nazi Germany, an international rights group charged Thursday. The report published by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) “comprehensively catalogues repressive acts related to historical memory” targeting historians, activists and journalists for their work on Russian history. 

FIDH, 10 June 2021: A new FIDH report finds that human rights abuses targeting historians, activists, journalists, and NGOs working on historical memory of the Soviet past have become systematic since at least 2014. Legal impediments and implementation of laws designed to stifle free speech and freedom of association, arbitrary arrests and prosecutions, censorship, public smear campaigns, and failure to provide effective remedies for past abuses are just some of the violations detailed. Read the report

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