MOSCOW, June 4 (RAPSI) - State Duma lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov proposed amending controversial law that requires non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive funding from abroad and participate in political activities to register as "foreign agents," RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.
Gudkov suggests to preserve checks on NGOs, but get rid of the label "foreign agent".
The law affected 68 NGOs but only 19 of them are involved in politics, according to Gudkov. “The rest are charity, environmental and human rights organizations that have nothing to do with politics,” the agency quoted him as having said.
Labeling NGOs “foreign agents” is ineffective, according to the lawmaker. The government has many other tools to stop financing of political activities from abroad, he said.
The Justice Ministry has placed the Dynasty and Liberal Mission foundations on the foreign agent list, provoking sharp criticism from human rights activists and experts.
Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov told RIA Novosti that there could be no mistake in placing these two NGOs on the list because they were thoroughly checked.
The audit allegedly showed that Dynasty received financing from foreign sources, and also that it was involved in funding political activity.
The Dynasty foundation distributed grants and stipends to scientists and students and funded scientific publications and seminars. It was supported by Dmitry Zimin, who sold his stake in Russian mobile telecom firm Vimpelcom in 2001 and has since been involved in philanthropy.
The Liberal Mission foundation was established in 2000 to formulate a liberal ideology and to substantiate a liberal political platform for modern Russia. It is headed by renowned economist and former economics minister Yevgeny Yasin.
Since November 2012, political NGOs funded from abroad have been compelled by law to register as foreign agents.
In June 2013, the Justice Ministry was granted authority to classify NGOs as foreign agents at its own discretion and included a number of organizations in its register.