LONDON, July 26 - RAPSI. The U.K. Foreign Office has criticized the new law on the activity of foreign NGOs in Russia, saying that the law will generate mistrust in the public and create unnecessary barriers in Russian civil society.
The bill approved by the State Duma on July 13, endorsed by the Federation Council on July 18 and signed into law by the president on July 20, has provoked public controversy. It will come into force in November this year.
The new law requires politically active NGOs to register as "foreign agents." An entity must apply to be entered into the registry before it can start operating. The financial statements of foreign agents and those of their branches will be subject to compulsory audits.
Foreign agents will have to report to a federal executive authority on their activities and their leadership twice a year, submit a quarterly report on the application of their funds and other assets, including those received from abroad, as well as produce an annual audit. Reports on their activities will have to be posted on the Internet twice a year.
On Wednesday, Moscow Helsinki Group leader Ludmila Alexeeva and Movement For Human Rights Director Lev Ponomarev wrote an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama asking him if their organizations are U.S. agents.