Russia: Passing of ‘undesirable organizations’ bill is a dark day for free expression in Russia
Today’s passing of the draconian “undesirable organizations” bill is a dark day for freedom of expression and association in Russia, said Amnesty International.
The bill which passed its third and final reading in the State Duma today, enables the state to ban the activities of foreign or international non-governmental organizations deemed to be undermining “state security”, “national defence” or “constitutional order”. It will also then punish Russian activists and civil society groups for maintaining ties with those “undesirable” organizations.
The bill needs to be approved by the upper chamber of the Russian parliament and signed into law by the president. This is in practice a mere formality.
“This legislation is the latest chapter in an unprecedented crackdown against non-governmental organizations which is effectively criminalizing lawful activity and squeezing the life out of free speech and association,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International Director for Europe and Central Asia.
“These new harsh restrictions are part of an ever rising repressive tide which is stifling free speech, denying the space for debate and suffocating free expression in Russia.”
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