Week-ending 2 July 2021
On 28 June 2021 President Putin signed into law a bill further criminalising participation in the activities of ‘undesirable’ foreign nongovernmental organisations. The bill provides for up to six years in prison for those found guilty of ‘organising the activities’ of foreign organisations designated as undesirable on Russian territory. Russian citizens and entities will be barred from taking part in the activities of foreign ‘undesirable’ organisations based in any country of the world. Citizens who take part in the activities of such organisations may face up to four years in prison, while the penalty for raising funds for such organisations will be up to five years in prison.
This week the Public Prosecutor’s Office added five more international organisations to the list of ‘undesirable organisations’ for ‘posing a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation.’ These are: the Czech NGO Spolecnost Svobody Informace, or Freedom of Information Society, the U.K.-registered Khodorkovsky Foundation and its subsidiary the Oxford Russia Fund, the London-based Future of Russia Foundation and the French organization European Choice.
RFE/RL, 29 June 2021: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that criminalizes participation in the activities of foreign nongovernmental organizations recognized as “undesirable” in Russia. Putin promulgated the bill on June 28, five days after parliament’s upper chamber, the Federation Council, approved it. The lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma, passed the measure on June 16. Under the law, Russian citizens may face up to six years in prison if found guilty of organizing the operations of “undesirable” international organizations on Russian territory.
RFE/RL, 30 June 2021: The Russian State Prosecutor’s Office has banned a Czech nongovernmental organization after putting it on the “undesirable” list. Prosecutors said in a statement on June 29 that the Prague-based Spolecnost Svobody Informace, or Freedom of Information Society, “poses a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation.” The “undesirable” organization law, adopted in May 2015 and since updated, was part of a series of regulations pushed by the Kremlin that squeezed many nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations that received funding from foreign sources — mainly from Europe and the United States.
RFE/RL, 30 June 2021: Russian authorities have taken further action against the network of exiled former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The State Prosecutor’s Office on June 30 labeled four organizations linked to the Kremlin critic as “undesirable,” effectively banning their activities in Russia. The four nongovernmental organizations are the U.K.-registered Khodorkovsky Foundation, its subsidiary the Oxford Russia Fund, the London-based Future of Russia Foundation, and the French organization European Choice. The organizations “pose a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation,” the Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.
RFE/RL, 1 July 2021: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that obliges foreign IT companies to set up local units or face penalties including a possible ban as Moscow continues to try and tighten its control over the flow of information on the Internet. The bill, signed by Putin on July 1 and placed on the official website for legal information, requires foreign IT companies with a daily audience of at least 500,000 people to set up full-fledged branches in Russia that would be “responsible for violations of Russian legislation.”
FIDH, 1 July 2021: Russia’s President has just signed into law the prohibition of public comparisons between the roles and actions of Nazi Germany and the USSR during the Second World War, adding to the arsenal of legislation restricting the work of historians, activists and NGOs dealing with the Soviet past. Following the publication 10 June of its report Russia: Crimes Against History, today FIDH is releasing a short documentary illustrating the government’s ongoing, concerted campaign to cement its monopoly on historical memory.