Russia's Justice Ministry suggests procedure excluding NGOs from blacklist
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MOSCOW, December 8 (RAPSI) - The Russian Ministry of Justice proposed excluding NGOs from the registry of foreign agents upon requests of the NGOs after occasional compliance inspections, RIA Novosti reported on Monday, citing the ministry’s press service.
Upon instructions from the president, the ministry worked out a legal procedure according to which NGOs may be excluded from the register of foreign agents.
“A non-government organization may be taken off the list of companies operating as foreign agents if it applies for this,” a spokesperson for the ministry said.
In order to confirm that an NGO can be excluded from the register, the Ministry of Justice will conduct an unscheduled audit and make a decision within three months of receiving the application. The Federal Law on Non-Government Organizations will include possible reasons for these audits.
Since November 2012, political NGOs funded from abroad were compelled by law to register as foreign agents. In June 2013, the Ministry of Justice was granted authority to classify NGOs as foreign agents at its own discretion and included a number of organizations in its register.
Earlier, the St. Petersburg Soldiers’ Mothers organization classified by the Ministry of Justice as a foreign agent requested that the ministry exclude it from the register by claiming that the organization’s founders were working on a presidential grant and did not include foreign citizens. The Ministry of Justice rejected the application on the grounds that currently, the law does not provide for a procedure to exclude NGOs from the foreign agent register.