Putin signs NGO snap checks bill into law
MOSCOW, February 24 (RAPSI) - President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that would set out additional reasons for conducting surprise inspections of non-governmental organizations. A document to this effect was published on the official legal information website on Monday.
Grounds for surprise inspections of NGOs would include the failure to rectify infringements by a deadline previously set by an authorized agency, complaints by individuals and legal entities, and information provided by government agencies, local authorities and the media about alleged elements of extremism in the operation of NGOs, and information about violations of legislation by NGOs from federal and local authorities.
According to the law, surprise inspections can also be ordered by the heads of authorized agencies and requested by prosecutors and election commissions.
Under a controversial law approved by President Vladimir Putin in 2012, NGOs funded from abroad and engaged in political activities are required to register as foreign agents, or face fines of up to 500,000 rubles ($14,189) for NGOs and up to 300,000 rubles ($8,513) for directors of NGOs.
Inspections of NGOs began in late March 2013 when the Justice Ministry said its goal was to check that the organizations' activities corresponded with the objectives of their charters and with Russian legislation.
According to the Justice Ministry, 6947 NGOs were inspected in 2012. However, inspections of 206 organizations were unscheduled.