US Is ‘Deeply Troubled’ by Russia’s ‘Undesirable’ NGO Law

By Jonas Bernstein

Voice of America

The United States has expressed concern over a new Russian law giving prosecutors the right to declare foreign and international non-governmental organizations “undesirable” and to fine or jail Russians who are involved with them.

The U.S. State Department said Saturday that it is “deeply troubled” by Russia’s new law that allows the government to ban activities of “undesirable” organizations and criminalizes “cooperation” with them.

“We are concerned this new power will further restrict the work of civil society in Russia and is a further example of the Russian government’s growing crackdown on independent voices and intentional steps to isolate the Russian people from the world,” said State Department spokesperson Marie Harf.

The legislation, which President Vladimir Putin signed into law earlier Saturday, states that foreign or international NGOs “may be deemed undesirable on the territory of the Russian Federation” if their activities represent “a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, the country’s defense capability or the security of the state.”

Foreign or international NGOs deemed “undesirable” will no longer to be allowed conduct activities inside Russia, and Russian organizations will be prohibited from receiving funding from them.

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