MOSCOW, April 10 - RAPSI. The Justice Ministry will conduct over 7,300 planned inspections of NGOs in 2013, according to a report posted on the ministry's website.
On Tuesday the ministry said the first NGO found to be violating the "foreign agent" law was the independent election watchdog GOLOS. A case of administrative violation has been opened against it.
"We plan to conduct 7,370 inspections of NGOs in 2013. An outline of the plan has been posted on the Justice Ministry's website and the websites of its territorial agencies," the report says.
The highly controversial law on NGOs, which took effect in November last year, requires politically active NGOs with foreign sources of funding to register as "foreign agents." Once registered, these NGOs face heightened scrutiny.
They are required to file regular disclosures with the government and to mark all materials disseminated through major channels as the product of a "foreign agent." The law also requires NGOs to publish a biannual performance report and to carry out an annual financial audit.
Sweeping inspections of NGOs began in several Russian regions in late March 2013. Up to 2,000 rights groups and NGOs in Russia have been raided by prosecutors and other officials over the past several weeks, according to some estimates. Many activists have complained of unexpected and time-consuming raids, condemning the inspections as a form of intimidation.