MOSCOW, January 22. The justice Ministry has prepared amendments to the law on non-profit organizations (NPOs), which clarify the definition of political activities and determine criteria for its implementation NGOs. The document is available on the portal of projects of legal acts.
Conditions and objectives of
According to the document, non-profit organizations (except political parties) are recognized to engage in political activities on the territory of the Russian Federation if it “regardless of the goals and objectives specified in its founding documents”, carries out “the activities in the sphere of civil construction and foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, the Federal structure of the Russian Federation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, ensuring of legality, law and order, state and public security, national defense, foreign policy, socio-economic and national development of the Russian Federation, the functioning of the political system, of state authorities and local self-government, legislative regulation of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen”, if it is conducted “in order to influence the formulation and implementation of state policy on the formation of state bodies, bodies of local self-government, their decisions and actions”.
Forms of political activity
Prescribe forms in which such activities are carried out. These include participation in organizing and conducting public events in the form of meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches or picketing or in various combinations of these forms, in organizing and conducting public discussions, performances. Political activities of NPOs means in the form of participation “in activities aimed at obtaining a certain result at elections, referendum, elections, referenda, in the formation of election commissions, referendum commissions, and in political parties”.
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In addition, under the political activities of NPOs is proposed to understand “a public appeal to state authorities, local self-government bodies, their officials, and other activities that impact on their activities, including those aimed at the adoption, amendment, repeal of laws or other legal acts”, as well as “dissemination, including the use of modern information technologies, assessments undertaken by state bodies of decisions and their policies”.
In addition, as forms of political activities, it is proposed to recognize the “carrying out activities aimed at the formation of political attitudes and beliefs, including through the publication of public opinion surveys or other sociological studies”, the involvement of citizens, including minors, in the specified activity and its funding.
That’s not considered “policy”
Separately specified, that does not apply to political activities in the field of science, culture, art, health, prevention and health protection, social maintenance, social support and protection of citizens, protection of motherhood and childhood, social support of invalids, propagation of a healthy lifestyle. Not covered under it and the activities in the sphere of physical culture and sports, protection of flora and fauna, charitable activity, and “activities promoting charity and volunteering” under certain conditions.
The law on NGOs – “foreign agents” was adopted in Russia in summer 2012. He obliges NGOs engaged in political activity and receiving funding from abroad, to accept the status of “foreign agents” with the subsequent entering in a special register. NCOs – “foreign agents” are obliged to indicate in the publication of materials on the Internet and the media this status. For evading this requirement is subject to a fine.
Non-profit organizations in Russia
For nearly two years, the entry in the register was in fact voluntary, but in early June of 2014 was signed into law on compulsory inclusion in the register. According to the document, the Ministry of justice can force the inclusion into the registry of NCOs – “foreign agents” organizations that actually are, but has not filed the appropriate application. This decision can be appealed in court.
This law has been repeatedly criticised by the NGOs themselves and of the presidential Council on civil society development and human rights (SPCH). The head of the HRC Mikhail Fedotov called on to clarify the concept of “political activity”, suggesting, in particular, to use the definitions given in the law on the constitutional court or governmental, municipal service. The lack of a specific definition, in his opinion, fraught with “political” recognized about 70 activities.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed with the arguments that the notion of political activities of NGOs should be clarified. “The definition of political activities – it should not be blurry, it should not be rubber, must be uniformly interpreted. Under the sly, that is, under this notion, if it is ill-defined, cannot in any case be customized whatever you like to the authorities, the Ministry of justice or anybody”, he stated on 1 October of last year at session of the HRC.
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The head of state instructed the justice Ministry and the Kremlin administration until December 20 to submit proposals to clarify the definition of the political activity in relation to the law on NGOs acting as foreign agents.
In early December, the head of the Duma Committee on Affairs of public associations and religious organizations Yaroslav Nilov (LDPR) said that “the Ministry of justice identified a number of criteria that determine political activity (NDA)”. “In particular, it is defined as the many ways in which the organization operates and in which areas the organization operates and how it operates”, – he informed.