The law establishes the concepts of “foreign influence” and “support”, which became the conditions for inclusion in the register of foreign agents. Influence is defined in law as “giving support or influencing”. The Human Rights Council criticized the bill foreign agents” />
The State Duma at its plenary session adopted a law on foreign agents, which summarizes the provisions on foreign agents already introduced into the legislation and establishes new requirements and restrictions for them.
According to the law, a foreign agent is a person who has received “support from abroad”; or is “under foreign influence” and engaged in political activities in Russia, purposeful collection of data in the field of military, military-technical activities of Russia or dissemination of messages and materials for an unlimited circle of people.
The law defines foreign influence as “providing support by a foreign source to a person or exerting influence on a person, including through coercion, persuasion or other means.” Support can be considered the receipt of money, other property, the provision of scientific, technical, organizational, methodological or other assistance. The document considers foreign organizations, states and citizens of other countries, as well as Russian citizens and legal entities receiving foreign support or funding to be foreign sources.
In particular, the law introduces a unified register of persons affiliated with foreign agents. According to the new law, an individual affiliated with a foreign agent can be understood as:
- an individual who is or was in the past a member of the bodies of a legal entity— a foreign agent and being its founder, member, participant, manager or employee,
- a person carrying out political activities and receiving (receiving) money or other property from foreign agents, including through intermediaries, for political activities.
The register of individuals affiliated with foreign agents will be maintained by the Ministry of Justice. The restrictions applied to foreign agents will not apply to them.
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The law also introduces a number of prohibitions for foreign agents. Thus, they will not be able to receive state funding in the implementation of creative activities, teach and conduct educational activities among minors, produce information products for minors, and also take part in the procurement of goods, works and services to meet state and municipal needs.
The law also establishes a simplified exit from the register of foreign agents for those persons who entered it for the first time. Such a person may submit an application and attach documents that confirm the termination of the circumstances that served as the basis for recognition as a foreign agent. The decision on such applications will be made by the Minister of Justice or his deputy.
Non-profit organizations will also be able to be removed from the register, they will have to stop political activity or stop receiving funds from foreign sources.
The Human Rights Council said in May that the bill contains a number of shortcomings, it is “in fact unreasonable”; expands the list of those who can be recognized as foreign agents. The concept of “foreign influence” the document is spelled out in such a way that it can be understood as “any method of influence that an administrative body deems sufficient at its discretion,” the HRC indicated.
At the end of May, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev called for an end to the in relation to foreign agents, indicating that a special operation is underway, and “unlimited sanctions” are being introduced against Russia. “The activities of foreign agents must be placed under strict control, become transparent for our society,” — he emphasized. According to Medvedev, foreign agents are engaged in activities that “are directed against the country in such a difficult period, and receive money from our enemies for this.”