The Russian State Duma in the second reading adopted a new draft law on the status of a "foreign agent" for non-profit organizations that have foreign sources of funding and are engaged in political activities in Russia.
The new law in the second reading was adopted almost unanimously: 374 deputies voted for and only three against, one person abstained. The United Russia faction became the authors of the document in its entirety.
The new bill tightens control over "foreign agents". According to its requirements, each Russian non-profit organization must be included in the register of NPOs with the status of "foreign agent" if it meets two criteria: the company is engaged in political activities and its funding is carried out from abroad. For such NPOs, there will be a special legal regime and, in particular, special reporting and audits. Religious organizations, state corporations and companies, as well as municipal and budgetary institutions are not subject to the law.
The new bill also clarifies the concept of "political activity": the holding of political actions and events that can influence public opinion, decisions made by state bodies, to change the current state policy in the country.
The amendments also affected the law "On combating the legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime and the financing of terrorism." Now, each monetary transaction in the amount of 200 thousand rubles or more from abroad to the account of a Russian NGO will be verified. According to the new law, every year the Ministry of Justice is obliged to prepare a full report with financial details on the activities of non-profit organizations with the status of "foreign agent".
Failure to comply with the requirements of the new bill provides for criminal liability - up to imprisonment for up to 4 years. It is also planned to introduce administrative fines for violations.