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Russian lawmakers get bill to expand reasons for inspecting NGOs

June 27, 2013 at 8:56 AM   |   Comments

MOSCOW, June 27 (UPI) -- The Russian government submitted to lawmakers its bill to expand the list of reasons for unannounced inspections of non-governmental organizations.

The bill was submitted to the State Duma, the Russian Parliament's lower house, RIA Novosti reported.

The bill says grounds for surprise inspections would include failure to correct issues by a deadline previously set by an authorized agency, complaints by individuals and legal entities, and information provided by government agencies, local authorities and the media about alleged extremism in the operation of NGOs, among other grounds.

The Russian Public Chamber, which analyzes draft legislation and monitors government and legislative activities, said it will discuss the bill Monday.

"We have invited and hope to hear opinions of Justice Ministry officials, lawmakers and representatives of the non-commercial sector," Public Chamber member Darya Miloslavskaya said.

"Frankly, I can say that it's not the best time to adopt such amendments," she said. "NGOs are yet to recover from large-scale prosecutor inspections, and extending the basis for unscheduled checks will definitely not play a positive role for the civil society development."

In November, a new law took effect requiring NGOs receiving funding from other countries to register as foreign agents. Russian activists say the inspections, which began earlier this year, are intended to scare NGOs into complying with the controversial registration law.

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