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Putin may amend Russian parliament bill limiting NGOs

[JURIST] Russian President Valdimir Putin has said he will consider amendments [Kremlin press statement] to a bill overwhelmingly approved [JURIST report] by the lower house of the Russian parliament Wednesday that would greatly increase state control over non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by requiring them to register with a state commission and imposing financial oversight on their operations. He told an NGO representative at the Kremlin Thursday that "civil society organizations should not be made to suffer from the bill." Foreign rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say that the bill is onerous and would force them to close their Russian offices. In a meeting Friday with Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov Putin said that "The bill should not undermine relations between Russian NGOs and their counterparts abroad." He added, however, that he agreed "with those who find it impermissible that certain public organizations are funded from abroad and actually engage in politics...Whether these organizations want it or not, willingly or unwillingly they become tools of foreign states trying to reach their own political objectives in Russia." AP has more. Interfax provides local coverage.

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