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Fewer non-governmental organizations wading into Russian waters

Feb. 14, 2014 at 10:20 AM   |   Comments

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MOSCOW, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- A non-governmental organization promoting economic work in former Soviet republics was the only one to register under a divisive 2012 law, the Kremlin said.

That year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a measure that requires NGOs to register as foreign agents if they receive some of their funding from abroad.

The Justice Ministry said Friday the non-profit group Supporting Competition in the CIS Countries was the only one to register since the law was enacted, the state-supported news agency RIA Novosti reported.

The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization made up of former Soviet republics.

In January, members of the Civil Liberties Committee in the European Parliament heard testimony about the human rights situation in Russia.

Kirill Koroteev, a lawyer for Russian civil rights group Memorial, said that means human rights workers may be labeled as "spies" under definitions in the legislation.

Putin last year said the measure was enacted to provide a layer of transparency to the work of NGOs in Russia. His critics said the law was meant to target groups critical of his national policies.

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