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Putin calls for amendments to bill limiting NGOs

[JURIST] Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered that possible amendments [JURIST report] to a bill regulating non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the country be drafted within the next five days. The NGO proposal, approved by the Duma in November [JURIST report], would greatly increase state control over NGOs by requiring them to register with a state commission and imposing financial oversight on their operations. Putin has requested that amendments be drafted that incorporate suggestions from Europe, and recommendations from the Russian Public Chamber [MosNews report], a Kremlin-backed organization designed to formalize the Kremlin's links to civil society, and other non-governmental organizations. NGOs Human Rights Watch [press release; briefing paper] and Greenpeace [advocacy website] have said the new regulations may force them to suspend their Russian operations. Despite requesting the amendments, Putin on Monday defended the bill, saying it is necessary to protect the country's political system [press release] from outside intervention. The bill must pass a second reading in parliament before it will become law. Reuters has more. MosNews has local coverage.

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