Russia

Last updated: 15 May 2024

Update

Restrictions introduced by Federal Law No. 255-FZ of July 14, 2022, on Control over the Activities of Persons Under Foreign Influence (hereinafter “Law on Foreign Influence”), that entered into force on December 1, 2022, along with a number of correlating laws and legal acts adopted at the end of 2022 (in particular, Federal Law No. 498-FZ of December 5, 2022, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation; Federal Law No. 582-FZ of December 29, 2022, on Amendments to Articles 239 and 330-1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (hereinafter “Criminal Code”); and Federal Law No. 622-FZ of December 29, 2022, on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation”), significantly worsened the regulation of individuals and legal entities designated as foreign agents (FAs) in the Russian Federation (hereinafter “Russia” or “RF”), and created new grounds for the inclusion of persons (including legal entities) in the new Unified FA Registry. In accordance with the Law on Foreign Influence, from December 1, 2022, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) began to publish a Unified Registry of FAs.

On July 27, 2023, a new package of five restrictive laws was adopted. The laws introduced responsibility for ensuring compliance with FA restrictions on any person who, to one degree or another, by their actions or inaction, can contribute to the fact that these restrictions and prohibitions are not observed by FAs, in addition to the already existing responsibility for FAs themselves. On July 31 and August 4, 2023, additional restrictive laws prohibited operations of any foreign non-commercial organization (FNCO) in the territory of Russia without a registered office, as well as any participation in its activities in the territory of Russia by any legal entity or person, establishing administrative and criminal liability for organizing and participating in activities of unregistered FNCOs.

According to the Federal Law No. 42-FZ of March 11, 2024, on Amendments to Article 11 of the Federal Law on Control over the Activities of Persons under Foreign Influence and certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation advertising of information resources of FAs is prohibited. “Information resources” produced by FAs include the FAs’ websites, social media pages, channels on streaming and video services, among other resources. The adoption of the Federal Law No. 42-FZ forced several well-known journalist-FAs to suspend or reduce their projects for financial reasons.

On May 6, 2024, another restrictive law introducing ban on FAs’ participation in the elections was approved by the State Duma (draft Federal Law No. 501159-8 on Amendments to the Federal Law on Basic Guarantees of Electoral Rights and the Right to Participate in a Referendum of Citizens of the Russian Federation and certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation). By the time the documents required to register for elections are submitted, the candidate “must cease to be a FA; FAs are prohibited from being observers and proxies of candidates in elections; an already registered candidate cannot be included in the FA Registry; at the same time, the powers of senators, State Duma deputies, legislative assemblies, and local government bodies will be terminated if they are declared FAs; if, by the time the law comes into force, a deputy has already been declared a FA, his or her mandate will be taken away (unless he or she is removed from the FA Registry within 180 days); international observers will be able to participate only in federal elections; they will be accredited upon invitation from government agencies; the Ministry of Internal Affairs will check whether the candidates violated the articles on “demonstration of extremist symbols” and “dissemination of extremist materials.”

In addition, under the pretext of improving the demographical situation and fostering a return to “traditional values” in the country, authorities launched an unprecedented crackdown on the LGBTQ+ community and women’s right to abortion. On November 30, 2023, after a closed-door trial, a Supreme Court decision recognizing the “international public movement of LGBT people” as extremist came into force immediately; LGBTQ+ activities of several registered NCOs and unregistered movements were practically banned in Russia. In March 2024, due to the activities of the regional club, the first criminal case was opened in connection with the recognition of the “LGBT movement” as an “extremist organization” (Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code – organizing the activities of an “extremist organization”, and Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code – participation in the activities of an “extremist organization”).

Introduction

Since 2012, the following restrictive and positive laws have been enacted in Russia.

On July 20, 2012, Russia enacted the Federal Law Introducing Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the RF Regarding the Regulation of Activities of Non-Commercial Organizations Performing the Function of FAs, which entered into effect on November 21, 2012. The law requires all NCOs to register in the NCO Registry, which is maintained by the MoJ, prior to receipt of funding from any foreign sources if they intend to conduct political activities. Such NCOs are called “NCOs performing functions of foreign agents” (NCOs-FAs). The Federal Law of March 8, 2015 specified the grounds and procedure for exclusion from the register of NCOs performing the functions of an FA. As of November 30, 2022, the Registry of NCOs-FAs included 217 entries/records (one was duplicated) of NCOs, 29 of which registered voluntarily (mostly due to considerable administrative penalties). 153 NCOs were exempted from the NCO Registry (101 NCOs liquidated and 52 ceased to perform the functions of an FA), totaling 63 “active” NCOs-FAs. A new Unified FA Registry, published by the MoJ on December 1, 2022, contained 493 entries, including previously excluded NCOs and individuals deemed media-FAs. By May 15, 2024, the Unified FA Registry contained 801 entries (202 excluded mainly due to liquidation), and the number of “active” FAs reached 599.

On December 21, 2012, the State Duma adopted amendments to the Dima Yakovlev law (the Federal Law No. 272-FZ “On Measures of Influence of Persons Relating to Violation of Basic Human Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the RF”). The Dima Yakovlev law contains a number of provisions further restricting the activities of NCOs, including the following:

  • Activities of NCOs participating in political activities or implementing other activities constituting a threat to the interests of Russia and receiving funds from U.S. citizens or organizations shall be suspended and their assets seized (the MoJ may issue a decision to restart activities of an NCO whose activity was previously suspended after the NCO stops receiving funding from U.S. citizens or organizations).
  • Citizens with U.S.-Russian dual citizenship are prohibited from membership or participation in the management of Russian NCOs or registered offices of foreign NCOs that participate in political activities in Russia.
  • In case of the seizure of assets of an NCO, the NCO also loses its rights to found mass media outlets and is prohibited from conducting mass and public events and from using bank accounts, with a few exceptions outlined in the Federal Law on NCOs.

On May 23, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed Federal Law No. 129-FZ on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the RF, which affects foreign and international NCOs (FNCOs) and their partners in Russia (hereinafter “the Law on Undesirable Organizations”). The Law on Undesirable Organizations introduced changes to a number of Russian laws, including the Dima Yakovlev Law, the Code of Administrative Offenses (CoAO), the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, and the Law on the Procedure of Exit from the RF and Entry into the RF.

According to the Law on Undesirable Organizations, an FNCO can be declared “undesirable” by the Prosecutor General or the Prosecutor General’s deputies if they deem the NCO to be a threat to national security. Activities of “undesirable” organizations in Russia are prohibited, and all persons participating in such activities are subject to administrative and criminal penalties. Since its adoption, the Law on Undesirable Organizations has been amended on a number of occasions to:

  • expand the list of prohibited activities for “undesirable” FNCOs, by adding a fifth activity, which is “a ban on the creation in the territory of Russia of legal entities or participation in them” (Federal Law No. 35-FZ of March 28, 2017);
  • expand the list of grounds for recognizing the activities of an FNCO as “undesirable” in the territory of Russia with the following: if it “facilitates or hinders the nomination of candidates, lists of candidates, the election of registered candidates, the initiative of holding a referendum and holding a referendum, the achievement of a certain result in elections, referendum, as well as in other forms (except for participation in election campaigns, referendum campaigns as foreign (international) observers)” (Federal Law No. 555-FZ of December 27, 2018);
  • provide links to materials of “undesirable” organizations considered to be illegal content and then banned the dissemination of these materials on social networks (Federal Law No. 530-FZ of December 30, 2020);
  • expand the list of grounds for recognizing the activities of FNCOs as “undesirable”, including receipt of information about the provision of intermediary services when conducting transactions with monetary funds and/or other property belonging to an FNCO, whose activities are recognized as “undesirable” in the territory of Russia, in order to carry out activities by such an organization that pose a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order, defense, or security of the state. Russian citizens and legal entities are prohibited from participating in the activities of “undesirable” organizations outside of Russia (Federal Law No. 230-FZ of June 28, 2021);
  • strengthen administrative liability for participation in the activities of “undesirable” organizations (Federal Law No. 232-FZ of June 28, 2021);
  • ban the creation (opening) in the Russian territory of structural units of “undesirable” organizations and the termination, in accordance with the procedure established by the Russian legislation, of the activities of such structural units previously created (opened) in the territory of Russia (Federal Law No. 272-FZ of December 28, 2012);
  • ban the dissemination of information materials, as well as the production or storage of such materials for the purpose of distribution (Federal Law No. 272-FZ of December 28, 2012);
  • ban the implementation of programs (projects) in the territory of Russia for organizations deemed “undesirable” (Federal Law No. 272-FZ of December 28, 2012);
  • ban the conducting of any financial transactions if one of the parties is an organization whose activities are recognized as “undesirable” (Federal Law No. 272-FZ of December 28, 2012);
  • ban for “undesirable organizations” to establish legal entities or to participate in existing ones, and termination of existing legal entities established with participation of “undesirable” organizations (Federal Law No. 272-FZ of December 28, 2012);
  • introduce criminal liability for managing the activities of an “undesirable” organization in the territory of Russia, including imposing jail terms for fundraising for “undesirable” organizations (Federal Law No. 292-FZ of July 1, 2021); and
  • impose criminal responsibility on persons participating in, financing, or organizing the activities of an “undesirable” organization, whether the activities take place in the territory of Russia or abroad (Federal Law No. 260-FZ of July 14, 2022).

As of May 15, 2024, the list of FNCOs whose activities are deemed “undesirable” in the territory of Russia includes 160 organizations (up from 137 in mid-February 2024).

Two important federal laws entered into force on January 1, 2017: Federal Law No. 287-FZ “On Amending Federal Law on NCOs in Terms of Establishing the Status of NCO–Provider of Public Benefit Services (PPBS)”; and Federal Law No. 449-FZ “On Amendments to Article 31-1 of the Federal Law on NCOs (in Terms of Specification of Measures of Support of Socially Oriented NCO–PPBS (SONCOs-PPBS) by the Public Authorities and Local Self-Government)”. Proper implementation of these Laws could benefit civil society if implemented properly. As of May 15, 2024, the MoJ’s Registry of SONCOs-PPBS contains 3,332 entries (excluded 1,671, valid – 1,661).

On November 25, 2017, Federal Law No. 327-FZ “On Amendments to Articles 10.4 and 15.3 of the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information and Article 6 of the Law on Mass Media,” entered into force. The Law introduces recognition of foreign media as “foreign agents” (FM-FAs) and expands the list of reasons for extrajudicial restrictions on access to information resources on the Internet. In addition to the list of existing grounds for blocking websites, such as for appealing for mass riots, extremist activities, and participation in mass (public) events held in violation of the established order, it allows for the blocking of websites publishing or disseminating materials by “undesirable” foreign organizations as well as the blocking of all data that allows someone to access these materials. As of November 30, 2022 (before the creation of the Unified FA Registry), the Registry of foreign media outlets implementing the functions of FAs (hereinafter the “FM-FAs Registry”) contained 202 entries, with 192 “active” FM-FAs.

On October 22, 2018, Federal Law No. 362-FZ of October 11, 2018, “On Amending Article 5 of the Federal Law on Anti-Corruption Expert Review of Normative Legal Acts and Drafts of Normative Legal Acts,” entered into force. The Law limits the number of categories of individuals and legal entities which can obtain official status as an independent expert accredited by the MoJ. In particular, the Law established a ban on conducting independent anti-corruption expert review of normative legal acts (NLAs) and drafts of NLAs by international and foreign organizations, as well as NCOs performing the functions of an FA.

Three federal laws that do not specifically affect NCOs’ activities but rather restrict freedom of assembly were adopted between October and December 2018.

  • Federal Law No. 367-FZ of October 11, 2018, “On Amendments to Articles 5 and 10 of the Federal Law on Meetings, Rallies, Processions and Pickets,” entered into force on October 22, 2018.
    • According to the new Law, the organizer of a public event is obligated to inform citizens and provide a written notification to the government about the cancellation of a public event no later than one day prior to its scheduled date. This requirement may be difficult to fulfill, as there are many instances when organizers of public events are forced to cancel an event due to last minute disruptions not dependent on the organizers, such as denial of premise rental an hour before the meeting.
  • Federal Law No. 377-FZ of October 30, 2018, “On Amendments to the CoAO,” entered into force on November 11, 2018.
    • The CoAO is supplemented by Article 20.23, which provides for administrative liability for the organizer of a public event not fulfilling its obligations to inform citizens and government bodies about a decision to cancel the public event, as well as for filing a notification for holding a public event without indicating its purpose.
  • Federal Law No. 557-FZ of December 27, 2018, “On Amending Article 20.2 of the CoAO of the RF,” entered into force on January 8, 2019.
    • The Law establishes administrative liability for the involvement of minors in unauthorized public events.

Restrictive laws adopted at the end of 2019, meanwhile, included:

  • Federal Law No. 407-FZ of December 2, 2019, “On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the RF,” entered into force on December 13, 2019, with the purpose of establishing a prohibition to act as a founder (member, participant) of an NCO on persons with respect to whom a decision is adopted to freeze (block) funds or other property in connection with sufficient grounds to suspect them of involvement into terrorist activities.
    • According to this Law, individuals having their assets frozen because of terrorism allegations would be banned from being founders, participants, or members of NCOs. These amendments, according to the Government of the RF, would help secure the not-for-profit sector against abuse for financing terrorist activities. However, the criteria for making a decision on the freezing (blocking) of funds or other property in connection with sufficient reasons to suspect involvement in terrorist activities are not specified, making arbitrary application of the law possible.
  • Federal Law No. 426-FZ of December 2, 2019, “On Amending the Law of the RF on the Mass Media and the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information.”
    • The so-called law on “individual-foreign agents” entered into force on December 2, 2019. Additionally, all media recognized as FAs (including individuals recognized as media-FAs) must establish a Russian legal entity by February 1, 2020. The Law extended the rules on the activities of foreign mass media performing the functions of an FA (mass media-FA) and an NCO-FA to individuals and commercial organizations.
  • The adoption of the above Law was followed by the adoption of Federal Law No. 443-FZ of December 16, 2019, “On Amendments to the CoAO,” entered into force on February 1, 2020.
    • The Law establishes liability for violation of the procedure for the activity of a foreign media outlet, and proposes to impose fines as high as 5,000,000 rubles for repeated violations of media laws related to FAs. First-time offenses carry smaller penalties: “foreign agent” news outlets face fines as high as 1,000,000 rubles and individual FAs could be forced to pay as much as 10,000 rubles .

The decision to recognize an individual as a “mass media-FA” is made by the MoJ in consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After an individual is recognized as a “mass media-FA”, it is obliged to:

  • establish a Russian legal entity or notify the MoJ of all previously established legal entities within one month from the date of recognition as a “mass media-FA.” Information about these legal entities is also subject to inclusion in the Registry of mass media-FAs, and they acquire the status of “Russian legal entity performing the functions of a foreign agent”;
  • label messages and materials distributed in the territory of Russia indicating that these messages and materials are created and/or distributed by a “mass media-FA”; and
  • comply with the requirements of the NCO law in the part that must be determined by a special act of the MoJ to be issued in accordance with this law.

The obligation to establish a legal entity forces an individual to incur financial costs associated with its registration (e.g., legal services and payment of state duty), and opening and maintaining a bank account.

The legislative procedure for notifying an individual about the MoJ’s recognition of their status as a “mass media-FA” is not fixed in the law. In fact, all individuals are at risk of administrative penalties (a fine of 10,000 rubles) if they do not check the Registry of FM-FAs, do not learn about their recognition as a “mass media-FA”, and do not fulfill the requirements of the law on establishing a legal entity and labeling materials. The procedure for removing an individual from the Registry of FM-FAs is also not regulated by the law, as it mentions only the MoJ’s right to include or exclude information about an individual in the corresponding Register.

The following positive laws were adopted in early 2020:

  • Federal Law No. 60-FZ of March 18, 2020, “On Amendments to Articles 2 and 31-4 of the Federal Law on NCOs,” establishes a new basis for including SONCOs in the Register of SONCOs-PPBS – “proper implementation of projects that provide the implementation of activities in one or more priority areas in the sphere of providing public benefit services using grants from the President of Russia aimed at the development of civil society.” The evaluation of such projects’ results is carried out by an organization authorized to provide grants from the President of Russia – the Presidential Grants Fund. Evaluated SONCOs do not need to obtain additional opinions on the quality of their provided services.
  • Federal Law 113-FZ of April 4, 2020, “On Amendments to the Federal Law on Charitable Activities and Volunteering,” entered into force  on October 5, 2020, and provides for the definition of the concept of a “box for collecting donations”: “a box for collection of donations – any capacity (including a device) for collection of donations, the right to use of which belongs exclusively to NCOs, whose bylaws provide for the right to carry out charitable activities.” The Law also provides for two types of boxes: portable and stationary. Installation and use of stationary boxes are allowed on the basis of an agreement with the owner (user) of the premises, except when they are installed by an NCO, which is doing collection, during public events organized by such NCO (or in partnership with others) or with written permission from the organizers of a public event. The use of a portable box is allowed during a public event if there is a  written permit from the organizer of the event. Requirements for boxes, and the procedure for their installation and use, should be determined by the regulatory act of the Russian Government. The adoption of this Law improved the NCO legal environment as the government did not previously regulate the collection of cash donations, and, while cash collections are not specifically prohibited by law, such collections would violate multiple other legal rules, subject to penalties). The Law also establishes rules protecting NCOs from abuse by criminals who “fundraise” from the public under the guise of legitimate NCOs.

The presidential amendments to the Russian Constitution were approved by nationwide vote on July 1, 2020.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian Parliament and government adopted, absent meaningful public discussion, a number of laws and implementing regulations, which contradicted constitutional laws designed to protect personal data. These included:

Such legislation, and the use of AI technologies in general, threatens human rights protections and the security and privacy of citizens.  Without an understanding of the content or potential impact of such legislation on civic freedoms, NCO leaders and legal experts were not prepared to properly track and engage in effective advocacy against its adoption, defend their rights, or inform the broader civil society about the new legislation.

Russian authorities also adopted legislative acts that made it easier for NCOs to work during the pandemic. These included:

Since February 24, 2022, before and after the presidential elections of March 15-17, 2024, the number of adopted restrictive laws and implementing regulations have continued to grow considerably. This has affected both the NCO sector and the freedoms of speech, expression, and assembly.

Organizational Forms (1) Corporate entities, which are those where founders (participants, members) have the right to participate in their management (that is, they gain the right of membership), including consumer cooperatives, public organizations, associations (unions), political parties, and trade unions.

(2) Unitary entities are those where founders may not become participants (they do not acquire the right of membership), including public charitable funds, private institutions, autonomous non-commercial organizations, and religious organizations.

Registration Body Ministry of Justice
Approximate Number 215,999 as of May 15, 2024 (Ministry of Justice)
Barriers to Entry Certain persons, including foreign persons and stateless persons, may not become founders, members, or participants.

Registration procedures are overly bureaucratic, with excessive documentation requirements.

Expanded justifications for unscheduled state audits.

Compulsory inclusion into the Unified Registry of Foreign Agents by the Ministry of Justice.

Barriers to Activities Burdensome reporting requirements.

Supervisory power allowing for interference with internal affairs of public associations and NCOs.

Expanded justifications for unscheduled state audits.

Compulsory inclusion into the Unified Registry of Foreign Agents by the Ministry of Justice.

Activities of NCOs participating in political activities or implementing other activities constituting threat to the interests of Russia and receiving funds from U.S. and other foreign citizens or even stateless persons, as well as from foreign organizations shall be suspended.

Prohibition of all transactions involving finances or other assets to which an “undesirable organization” is party.

Prohibition on distributing information materials issued by an undesirable organization, and/or disseminated thereby, including through the media and/or with the use of the Internet and telecommunication network, as well as to produce or possess them for purposes of distribution.

Prohibition for an undesirable organization to implement programs (projects) in the territory of the Russian Federation, and for individuals and entities to engage in such activities on the territory of the Russian Federation and abroad.

Prohibition for accrediting international and foreign organizations as well as FAs as independent experts who can prepare a special anti-corruption expert review of draft laws and other legal acts.

The responsibility for compliance with FA restrictions lies both with an FA and any persons (individuals and legal entities) who, by their actions or inaction, may contribute to the violation of FA legislation.

Barriers to Speech and/or Advocacy Potential restrictions against NCO advocacy activity may arise through application of criminal or administrative penalties codes.

Advocacy activities often are considered to be equal to political activities, which may lead to NCO inclusion in the Registry of Foreign Agents.

After February 24, 2022, any comments contradicting the official information on the development of “special military operation” are considered an administrative or criminal offense.

Barriers to International Contact Criminal responsibility for “state treason” has been introduced. The term is defined as “a deed, carried out by a citizen of the Russian Federation, damaging to the security of the Russian Federation, including espionage or passing to a foreign state, international or foreign organization or their representatives information that contains a state secret that has been entrusted and became known to the person through service, work or studies or other cases determined by Russian legislation, or providing financial material, technical, consultative or other assistance directed against security of the Russian Federation.”

Administrative and criminal liability for participation in activities of undesirable organizations on the territory of the Russian Federation and abroad.

A de facto ban on any participation in activities in the territory of Russia of affiliate or representative offices of foreign non-governmental not-for-profit organizations that are not duly registered, as well as administrative and criminal liability for organizing and participating in their activities.

Barriers to Resources Foreign or international organizations wishing to make tax-exempt grants to Russian citizens or NCOs must be on a list of organizations approved by the Russian Government; access to this list is severely limited.

NCOs that carry out political activities and receive foreign funding are labeled as FAs.

Individuals and entities are prohibited from receiving assets from “undesirable” organizations.

Barriers to Assembly Excessive force used against peaceful protesters.

Strict regulation of public mass events.

Administrative liability when minors are involved in unauthorized public events.

Administrative liability for organizers of a public event who failed to inform citizens and government bodies about a decision to cancel the public event as well as for filing a notification for holding a public event without indicating its purpose.

Population 146,424,729 (without “new territories” as of January 1, 2023)
Capital Moscow
Type of Government Federation
Life Expectancy at Birth 67.57 years (male); 77.77 years (female) in 2022 (Rosstat)
Literacy Rate 99.8%
Religious Groups According to an August 2012 survey, Russian Orthodox represent 52%, Muslim 6.5%, 4.1% are unaffiliated Christians, 1.5% adhere to other Orthodox Churches, 1.2% are Pagans, 0.5% are Buddhists, 0.2% are Orthodox Old Believers, 0.2% are Protestants, 25% are “spiritual but not religious” people, 13% are atheist and non-religious people, and 5.5% of the total population have deemed themselves “undecided”.
Ethnic Groups Russian 80.90%, Tatar 3.87%, Ukrainian 1.41%, Bashkir 1.15%, Chuvash 1.05%, other or unspecified 12.1% (2010 census)
GDP per capita $15,270.7 (2022) (World Bank)
Ranking Body Rank Ranking Scale
(best – worst possible)
UN Human Development Index 56 (2022) 1 – 193
World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 113 (2023)

1 – 140
Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index 53 (2023) 179 – 1
Transparency International 136 (2023) 1 – 180

Freedom House: Freedom in the World Status: Not Free
Political Rights: 5
Civil Liberties: 11 (2023)
Free/Partly Free/Not Free
1 – 40
1 – 60

International and Regional Human Rights Agreements

Key International Agreements Ratification* Year
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Yes 1973
Optional Protocol to ICCPR (ICCPR-OP1) Yes 1991
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) Yes 1973
Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention Yes 1956
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) Yes 1969
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Yes 1981 (as Soviet Union)
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Yes 2004
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Yes 1990
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW) No  —
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Yes  2012
Regional Treaties
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Yes 1998**
Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE Yes 1990

* Category includes ratification, accession, or succession to the treaty.
** This was denounced by Federal law No. 43-FZ of February 28, 2023.

Constitutional Framework

The Constitution of the Russian Federation (as amended December 30, 2008; February 5, 2014; July 21, 2014; March 14, 2020; October 4, 2022) includes the following relevant provisions:

Article 19:

  1. All people shall be equal before the law and courts.
  2. The State shall guarantee the equality of rights and freedoms of man and citizen, regardless of sex, race, nationality, language, origin, property and official status, place of residence, religion, convictions, membership of public associations, and also of other circumstances. All forms of limitations of human rights on social, racial, national, linguistic or religious grounds shall be banned.
  3. Men and women shall enjoy equal rights and freedoms and have equal possibilities to exercise them.

Article 28: Everyone shall be guaranteed the freedom of conscience, the freedom of religion, including the right to profess individually or together with others any religion or to profess no religion at all, to freely choose, possess and disseminate religious and other views and act according to them.

Article 29:

  1. Everyone shall be guaranteed the freedom of ideas and speech.
  2. Propaganda or agitation instigating social, racial, national or religious hatred and strife shall not be allowed. The propaganda of social, racial, national, religious or linguistic supremacy shall be banned.
  3. No one may be forced to express his views and convictions or to reject them.
  4. Everyone shall have the right to freely look for, receive, transmit, produce and distribute information by any legal means. The list of data comprising state secrets shall be determined by a federal law.
  5. The freedom of mass communication shall be guaranteed. Censorship shall be banned.

Article 30:

  1. Everyone shall have the right to association, including the right to create trade unions for the protection of his or her interests. The freedom of activity of public association shall be guaranteed.
  2. No one may be compelled to join any association and remain in it.

The Law of the Russian Federation on the Amendment to the Constitution of the Russian Federation of March 14, 2020 No. 1-FKZ on Improving the Regulation of Certain Issues of the Organization and Functioning of Public Authority was submitted to the State Duma by the President on January 20, 2020. This provoked many critical comments, as it included controversial provisions on the supremacy of the Russian Constitution over decisions of international bodies and the possibility for the President to stay in power until 2036, among others. The State Duma Council has repeatedly extended the deadline for submitting amendments to the second reading. On March 11, 2020, constitutional amendments were approved by the Federation Council, and on March 14, the President signed the text of this law.

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation confirmed the compliance of the law’s provisions with the Constitution, and the adoption of presidential amendments to the Russian constitution were finally approved by nationwide vote on July 1, 2020. The spread of COVID-19 caused the President to repeatedly postpone the vote, and even when the date of the vote was not yet announced, a mass campaign supporting adoption of the whole package of amendments as a single document (including controversial provisions, such as the supremacy of the Russian Constitution over decisions of international bodies and the possibility for the President to stay in power until 2036, among others) continued, with federal and regional authorities repeatedly pushing the need for nation-wide approval. The law does not contain provisions which would directly affect NCOs’ activities, but it is of concern to civil society at large, as it eliminates an opportunity for NCOs to defend human rights by appealing to international institutions.

National Laws and Regulations Affecting Sector

Relevant national-level laws and regulations affecting civil society include:

  • Constitution of the Russian Federation (adopted by popular vote on December 12, 1993, with amendments approved by all-Russian vote on July 1, 2020).
  • Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Part I, Federal Law No. 51-FZ, November 30, 1994, as amended.
  • Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Part II, Federal Law No. 14-FZ, January 26, 1996, as amended.
  • Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, July 13, 1996, No. 63-FZ as amended
  • Code of Administrative Penalties, December 30, 2001, No. 195-FZ, as amended
  • Tax Code of the Russian Federation, Part II, Federal Law No. 118-FZ, August 5, 2000, as amended [Excerpts].
  • Federal Law No. 7-FZ, “On Non-Commercial Organizations,” January 12, 1996, as amended (NCO Law).
  • Federal Law No. 135-FZ, “On Charitable Activities and Charitable Organizations,” August 11, 1995, as amended (Charities Law).
  • Federal Law No. 82-FZ, “On Public Associations,” May 19, 1995, as amended (Law on Public Associations).
  • Federal Law No. 95-FZ, “On Gratuitous Assistance,” May 4, 1999, as amended (Law on Gratuitous Assistance).
  • Federal Law No. 54-FZ “On Assemblies, Meetings, Demonstrations, Marches and Picketing,” July 19, 2004, as amended.
  • Federal Law No. 275-FZ, “On the Procedure of Establishment and Use of Endowments of Non-commercial Organizations,” December 30, 2006.
  • Order of the Ministry of Justice of Russia dd. November 30, 2012, No. 223 “On Procedure of Maintaining Registry of Non-commercial Organizations, Performing Functions of Foreign Agent.”
  • Federal law No. 139-FZ “On Amendments to Federal Law On Protecting Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development and Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation”, July 28, 2012.
  • Federal Law No. 121-FZ “On Introducing Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation Regarding the Regulation of Activities of Non-commercial Organizations, Performing the Functions of Foreign Agents,” July 20, 2012
  • Federal Law No.149-FZ “On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection,” as amended on July 30, 2012.
  • Federal Law No. 272-FZ “On Measures of Influence of Persons, Relating to Violation of Human Rights, Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the Russian Federation,” December 28, 2012
  • Federal Law No. 212-FZ of July 21, 2014, on the Basics of Public Control in the Russian Federation.
  • Federal Law No. 327-FZ of November 4, 2014, on Patronage of Arts.
  • Federal Law No. 67-FZ of March 30, 2015, Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in Terms of Ensuring the Reliability of Information to be Submitted for State Registration of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs.
  • Federal Law No.304-FZ of March 30, 2015 on Amendments to Articles 4.5 and 23.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation.
  • Federal Law No. 76-FZ of March 30, 2016, Amending Federal Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations and Other Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation.
  • Federal law No. 287-FZ of July 3, 2016, on Amending Federal Law on Non-Commercial Organizations in terms of Establishing the Status of Non-Commercial Organization – Provider of Public Benefit Services.
  • Federal Law No. 374-FZ of July 6, 2016, On Making Changes into the Federal Law on Counteracting Terrorism and Separate Legal Acts of the Russian Federation in Part Establishing Additional Measures On Counteracting Terrorism and Ensuring Public Safety introduced changes into 18 laws, including: 1) Federal Law On Counteracting Terrorism; 2) Federal Law On Federal Security Service; 3) Federal Law On Executive Investigative Activity; 4) Federal Law On External Intelligence; 5) Federal Law on Procedure of Exiting the Russian Federation and Entering into the Russian Federation; 6) Federal Law On Weapons; 7) Air Code of the Russian Federation; 8) Federal Law On Freedom of Conscience and on Religious Associations; 8) Federal Law On Post Communication; 10) Federal Law On Counteracting Legalization (Laundering) of Income, Received by Illegal Means, and of Financing of Terrorism; 11) Code of the Russian Federation On Administrative Offenses; 12) Federal Law On Transport-Expedition Activity; 13) Federal Law On Communication; 14) Housing Code of the Russian Federation; 15) Federal Law on Information, Informational Technologies, and On Protection of Information; 16) Federal Law On Transport Safety; 17) Federal Law On the Territorial Jurisdiction of District (Naval) Military Courts ; and 18) Federal Law On the Security of the Fuel and Energy Complex. (This is known as part of the “Yarovaya Package”).
  • Federal Law No. 375-FZ of July 6, 2016 on Making Changes into the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and into the Criminal Procedural Code of the Russian Federation in Part Establishing Additional Measures On Counteracting Terrorism and Ensuring Public Safety introduced changes to 1) the Criminal Code, 2) the Criminal Procedural Code of the Russian Federation and 3) the Federal Law No. 153-FZ of July 27, 2006 on Introducing Changes into Separate Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation Relating to Adoption of the Federal Law on Ratification of Convention of the Council of Europe on Prevention of Terrorism and on Federal Law on Counteracting Terrorism. (This is known as part of the “Yarovaya Package”).
  • Federal Law No. 179-FZ of June 2, 2016, on Amendments to Article 8 of the Federal Law on Public Associations and Article 2 of the Federal Law on Noncommercial Organizations (new definition of “political activity”, which is relevant because “conducting political activity” is one of the criteria for an NCO to be qualified as an organization carrying out the functions of a foreign agent under Russia’s Law on NCOs).
  • Federal Law No. 487-FZ of December 12, 2016, on Amendments to Articles 4 and 8 of Federal law on Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation (returning the order of formation of the Civic Chamber that existed before 2014).
  • Federal Law No. 287-FZ of July 3, 2016, on Amending Federal Law on NCOs in Terms of Establishing the Status of NCO–Provider of Public Benefit Services (PBS) (entered into force on January 1, 2017).
  • Federal Law No. 449-FZ of December 19, 2016, on Amendments to Article 31-1 of the Federal Law on NCOs (in Terms of Specification of Measures of Support of Socially Oriented NCOs–PBS by the Public Authorities and Local Self-Government) (entered into force on January 1, 2017).
  • Federal Law No. 27-FZ of March 7, 2017, on Amendments to the Federal Law on the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation (entered into force on March 17, 2017).
  • Federal Law No. 64-FZ of April 3, 2017, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation Improving the State Policy in Combating Corruption (entered into force on April 15, 2017).
  • Federal Law No. 35-FZ of March 28, 2017, on Amendments to Part 3 of Article 3.1 of the Federal law No. 272-FZ of December 2, 2012, on Measures of Influence on Persons Involved in Violations of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Person, Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the Russian Federation (entered into force on April 8, 2017).
  • Federal law No. 64-FZ of April 3, 2017, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation Improving the State Policy in Combating Corruption (entered into force on April 15, 2017).
  • Federal law No. 107-FZ of June 7, 2017, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation Related to Improvement of Legislation on Public Events (entered into force on June 18, 2017).
  • Federal Law No. 320-FZ of November 14, 2017, on Amendments to Article 31-4 of the Federal Law on Non-Commercial Organizations. This law refers to assessment of the quality of public utility services by regional authorities and is aimed at simplifying the process for obtaining conclusions by government bodies, which are necessary for inclusion in the registry of NCO-providers of public benefit services.
  • Federal Law No. 327-FZ of November 25, 2017, on Amendments to Articles10.4 and 15.3 of the Federal law on Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information and Article 6 of the Law of the Russian Federation on Mass Media. The law is aimed, first of all, at expanding the list of reasons for extrajudicial restriction of access to information resources on the internet. Secondly, the law introduces recognition of foreign media as “foreign agents.”
  • Federal Law No. 404-FZ of December 20, 2017, on Amendments to Article 8 of the Federal Law on Public Associations refers to expanding competence of the supreme governing body of a public association, other than the general meeting of members. The new powers include (which previously belonged to the general meeting of members): approving the annual report and accounting (financial) statements of the public association; making decisions on the establishment of other legal entities, on the participation of the public association in other legal entities, on establishing branches and on opening representative offices; and approving an audit organization or an individual auditor. This allows large public associations to not convene a general meeting of members to approve the above issues, but at the same time it can negatively affect the members’ rights, if members do not participate in certain decision making directly.
  • Federal Law No. 15-FZ of February 5, 2018, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts on Volunteering introduces several regulatory changes: the law (1) equates the terms “dobrovolets” and “volonter” in existing legislation; (b) introduces new definitions of “voluntary (volunteer) organization” and “the organizer of voluntary (volunteer) activities”; (c) defines the powers of government bodies in the sphere of volunteerism; and (d) provides support to volunteers’ activities.
  • Federal Law No.98-FZ of April 23, 2018, on Amendments to Part Two of the Tax Code establishes procedures for providing a tax exemption for volunteers and “dobrovolets” from income tax when they work within service provider agreements; receive compensation in the form of reimbursement of their expenses and income in kind for uniforms and clothing, hiring premises, and travel expenses; and for the payment of medical insurance contributions for volunteers working in places with health risks. At the same time, property or funds received by NCOs as grants of the President of the Russian Federation will also not be taken into account when determining the tax base for corporate income tax.
  • Federal Law No. 112-FZ of April 23, 2018, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Counteraction to Legalization (Laundering) of Incomes Obtained in a Criminal Way, and Terrorism Financing and Article 13 of the Federal Law on Audit Activities established a new obligation for auditors to notify Rosfinmonitoring of any suspicions that persons audited by them violate legislation on counteracting legalization (laundering) of proceeds. However, this law was not actually applied until the publication of Methodological Recommendations posted online by Rosfinmonitoring on November 23, 2018 (Information Letter No. 56 of 11/23/2018 onThese methodical recommendations “are based on legislation in the field of combating the laundering of proceeds from crime and the financing of terrorism at the time of their publication. In case of changes in the requirements of the legislation, the methodological recommendations are applied in the part that does not contradict the newly adopted regulatory legal acts.” In defining risks, these recommendations include, in particular, clients’ risks of money laundering and financing terrorism within: “9.2.1) charity, activities of public and religious organizations (associations), foreign non-commercial non-governmental organizations and their representative offices and branches operating in the territory of the Russian Federation, or other type of unregulated non-commercial activity.”
  • Federal Law No. 260-FZ of July 29, 2018, on Amendments to Articles 132 and 32 of the Federal Law on Non-Commercial Organizations in terms of improving the legal regulation of the activities of structural units of foreign non-commercial non-governmental organizations.
  • Federal Law No. 230-FZ of July 29, 2018, on Amendments to the Tax Code of the Russian Federation in terms of registering with the tax authorities of the structural units of international organizations and foreign non-commercial non-governmental organizations, representations of foreign religious organizations.
  • Federal Law No. 303-FZ of August 3, 2018, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation on Taxes and Fees provides for the extension of a lower rate (20% instead of commonly applicable 30%) for insurance (a mandatory payment due to the governmental bodies calculated based on salaries paid by an organization to its employees) for NCOs until either 2024.
  • Federal Law No. 362-FZ of October 11, 2018, on Amending Article 5 of the Federal law on Anti-Corruption Expertise of Normative Legal Acts and Drafts of Normative Legal Acts. The law limits the number of categories of individuals and legal entities able to obtain official status as an independent expert accredited by the MoJ. In particular, the law establishes a ban on accrediting international and foreign organizations, as well as NCOs performing the functions of a foreign agent (FA), as independent experts. According to the Russian law, all drafts of legal acts require special anti-corruption expert review conducted by independent experts, before they are adopted. The government and parliament are required to consider results of such expert reviews before adopting legislation. The ban on accreditation for international and foreign organizations, as well as NCOs recognized as FAs, reduces the number of points of view and, accordingly, affects the overall objectivity of the anti-corruption expert review.
  • Federal Law No. 367-FZ of October 11, 2018, on Amendments to Articles 5 and 10 of the Federal Law on Meetings, Rallies, Processions and Pickets entered into force on October 22, 2018. According to the law, the organizer of a public event is obligated to inform citizens and provide a written notification to the government about the cancellation of a public event no later than one day prior to its scheduled date. This requirement may be difficult to fulfill, as there are many instances when organizers of public events are forced to cancel the event due to last minute disruptions not dependent on the organizers, such as denial of premise rental an hour before the meeting.
  • Federal Law No. 377-FZ of October 30, 2018, on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses entered into force on November 11, 2018. The Code of Administrative Offenses is supplemented by Article 20.23, which provides for administrative liability for the organizer of a public event not fulfilling its obligations to inform citizens and government bodies about a decision to cancel the public event, as well as for filing a notification for holding a public event without indicating its purpose.
  • Federal Law No. 426-FZ of November 27, 2018, on Amendments to Articles 219 and 286.1 of Part Two of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation entered into force on January 1, 2019. The law provides tax incentives for individuals and legal entities to support state and municipal (governmental) institutions carrying out cultural activities. According to the previous law, individuals could receive a refund of paid income tax, in the amount of donations valued at up to 13% from the total amount of 25% of taxable income, if the donations’ recipients are government institutions carrying out cultural activities or NCOs (funds/foundations), if donations were made to form endowments designated to support the above-mentioned government institutions. The law grants authority to the Russian regions to establish categories of government institutions carrying out cultural activities and NCOs (funds/foundations) if donations were made to form endowments designated to support the above-mentioned government institutions. For such donations, individuals may receive a higher refund of paid income tax, in the amount of donations valued at up to 13% from the total amount of 30% of taxable income. The law also grants Russian regions with authority to provide legal entities the right to reduce their income tax by deducting the amount of a donation from the legal entity’s taxable income, if donations to NCOs are made with the purpose of forming an endowment to support state institutions carrying out cultural activities. Such NCO-recipients shall be identified by authorities of Russian regions. Unfortunately, donors supporting non-state cultural institutions or other NCOs will not benefit from this law.
  • Federal Law No. 469-FZ of December 18, 2018, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Objects of Cultural Heritage (Monuments of History and Culture) of the Peoples of the Russian Federation. The law grants volunteers the right to carry out certain types of work on the preservation of cultural heritage objects included in the corresponding register. According to the previous legislation, objects of cultural heritage are protected by the state, and only certified specialists can be involved in their restoration. The new law permits volunteers to carry out certain types of work that do not require special certification. The law does not provide details regarding such work. The law entered into force on December 29, 2018, the Russian government expected to adopt the relevant implementing regulation.
  • Federal Law No. 553-FZ of December 27, 2018, on Amending the Article 3 of the Federal Law on Special Assessment of Working Conditions came into force on January 8, 2019. According to the law, the procedure for special assessment of working conditions, established by law, does not apply to religious organizations.
  • Federal Law No. 555-FZ of December 27, 2018, on Amendments to Part 1 of Article 3-1 of the Federal Law on Measures to Influence Persons Involved in Violations of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the Russian Federation entered into force on January 8, 2019. The law expands the list of grounds for recognizing the activities of a foreign or international non-governmental organization as “undesirable” in the territory of Russia. Thus, in addition to threatening the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, the country’s defense capability, or the security of the state, a foreign or international non-governmental organization may be deemed “undesirable” if it “facilitates or hinders the nomination of candidates, lists of candidates, the election of registered candidates, the initiative of holding a referendum and holding a referendum, the achievement of a certain result in elections, referendum, as well as in other forms (except for participation in election campaigns, referendum campaigns as foreign (international) observers).”
  • Federal Law No. 557-FZ of December 27, 2018, on Amending Article 20.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation entered into force on January 8, 2019. The law establishes administrative liability for the involvement of minors in unauthorized public events.
  • Federal Law No. 31-FZ of March 18, 2019, on Amendments to Article 15-3 of the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection. The law aims to curb the dissemination, under the guise of reliable messages, of unreliable, socially significant information that creates a threat to harm to life and (or) the health of citizens, property, the threat of mass disturbance of public order and (or) public security, or the threat of interference with the functioning or termination of the functioning of life support objects, transport or social infrastructure, credit institutions, energy facilities, industry and communications. For such information, the existing procedure for restricting access to information disseminated in violation of the law will be applied. Courts will issue such decisions on the basis of protocols prepared by the police. The law also provides that in cases when the specified unreliable, socially significant information is disseminated by the online publications, the editors of such online publications must delete the information upon receipt of an order from the authorized federal executive body (Roskomnadzor). Restricting access to the entire publication is allowed in cases if the editors fail to delete unreliable, socially significant information.
  • Federal Law No. 27-FZ of March 18, 2019, on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses  amended the CoAO, establishing administrative responsibility for disseminating in the media or in information and telecommunication networks deliberately unreliable, socially important information under the guise of reliable messages that creates the threat of harm to life and (or) the health of citizens, property, the threat of mass public disorder and (or) public safety or the threat of interfering with the functioning or interruption of the operation of life-support objects, transport or social infrastructure, credit institutions, energy facilities, industry or communications, as well as for the dissemination of information leading to the onset of the above-mentioned consequences (new parts 9-11 of Article 13.15 of the CoAO). At the same time, within 24 hours of initiating administrative cases under the newly introduced norms, the police should report to the prosecution authorities. The function of the prosecution authorities in this case is not entirely clear. As a sanction for these administrative offenses, the fine for citizens is 30 thousand -100 thousand rubles with or without confiscation of the subject of an administrative offense; for officials – 60 thousand-200 thousand rubles; and for legal entities – 200 thousand -500 thousand rubles with or without confiscation of the subject of an administrative offense. Print media circulation will likely also be regarded as the “subject of an administrative offense.” The vagueness of the wording creates the risks of arbitrary application of administrative norms in practice.
  • Federal Law No. 30-FZ of March 18, 2019, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection. The law establishes a procedure for restricting access to information, expressed in an indecent form, which offends human dignity and public morality, or expresses obvious disrespect for society, the state, official state symbols of the Russian Federation, its Constitution, or authorities exercising state power in the Russian Federation. If such information is found, the Prosecutor General or his deputies submit a request to Roskomnadzor to take measures to remove this information and restrict access to information resources that disseminate the information if it is not deleted.
  • Federal Law No. 28-FZ of March 18, 2019, on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses establishes administrative responsibility for the distribution in information and telecommunication networks, including on the internet, of information which offends human dignity and public morality, or expresses obvious disrespect for society, the state, official state symbols of the Russian Federation, its Constitution, or authorities exercising state power in the Russian Federation, if these actions do not constitute a criminal offense. The penalty is a fine in the amount of 30 thousand-100 thousand rubles. The vagueness of the wording creates the arbitrary application of administrative norms in practice.
  • Federal Law No. 34-FZ of March 18, 2019, on Amendments to Parts One, Two, and Article 1124 of Parts Three of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation came into force on October 1, 2019. The goal of this law is to establish several basic provisions in civil law, which would allow the legislature to regulate digital financial assets (commonly referred to as “tokens” and “cryptocurrency”). It provides conditions for concluding and executing digital transactions. In fact, these new assets are created and employed by users of information and telecommunication networks, including Russian citizens or legal entities, but were not recognized by Russian legislation before. The draft law submitted to the State Duma underwent many changes during its consideration. Although the law is not directly related to NCOs, it is important for all legal entities, as it provides for the possibility of conducting transactions using digital financial assets, which is unusual for NCOs, since many people lack electronic means of identification (electronic signature).
  • Federal Law No. 90-FZ of May 1, 2019, on Amendments to the Federal law on Communications and the Federal law on Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection came into force on November 1, 2019. In the media, this law is referred to as the “Law on Sustainable Runet.” Multiple amendments to two Federal laws are written in technical language and are difficult to understand for NCOs. In accordance with the text of the law, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor) provides operators and owners of traffic exchange points with free of charge technical means of countering threats to the stability, security and integrity of the functioning of the internet information and telecommunications network and the public communication network in the territory of the Russian Federation. In addition, in the case of detection of such threats (the list of which will be subsequently determined by the Government of the Russian Federation), the Federal Service assumes the centralized management of the public communication network and / or issues the instructions to ensure functioning of the internet network for operators of communications which are obligatory for execution.
  • Order of the MoJ No. 279 of December 6, 2019, amending Order No. 170 of the MoJ of August 16, 2018 exempted NCOs from reporting on funds received from Russian legal entities, when such entities receive funding from foreign sources, if the NCOs received such funds in 2019, thus postponing for another year this reporting requirement. Under the NCO law, NCOs have been required to report on the foreign sources from Russian entities-donors, while at the same time, Russian entities are not required to provide NCOs with this information, making it impossible for NCOs to report about it. Failure to report, however, is punishable with severe penalties.
  • Federal law No.432-FZ of December 16, 2019, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in order to improve the legislation of the Russian Federation on combating corruption was signed by the President on December 16, 2019. The law allows government and municipal employees, deputies of all levels as well as persons holding public positions to serve as leaders of NCOs (without compensation) without foreign participation, after notifying the government employer in advance. Previously, all these categories of government employees were prohibited from serving in NCOs’ management bodies. The law came into force on December 27, 2019.
  • Concept on Support for Development of Charitable Activities for the period up to 2025 was adopted by the Order of the Government of the Russian Federation of November 15, 2019, No. 2705-r. The main directions of promoting charity development in the Concept are the following: promoting the development of charity institutions; promoting the development of charity for individuals and commercial organizations; promoting the development of culture of charity; promoting the development of support for charity in the regions of the Russian Federation; and promoting the development of international activities in the field of charity. One of the main results of the Concept’s implementation should be a change in the legislative regulation of charitable activities, for example: improving regulation of the formation of endowments; enabling charitable organizations to repay a loan using donations, and setting a limit on the amount of interest on a loan that can be paid using donations; ensuring effective prevention and suppression of fraudulent activities conducted under the disguise of collecting charitable donations; removing the need for charities to submit duplicate reports to state authorities; and developing proposals for improving regulation and law enforcement practice in the field of government control over charitable NCOs’ management bodies when making large transactions and transactions with interest. During implementation of the Concept, issues around establishing additional tax benefits and cases of exemption from taxation will be worked out. The Concept also envisions development of a training system for NCOs and a support system for newly created organizations. In the field of the development of international charitable activities, the Concept’s implementers (Government of the Russian Federation) plan to promote the work of Russian charitable organizations abroad and build global cooperation.
  • Federal Law No. 407-FZ of December 2, 2019, on Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation with the purpose of establishing a prohibition to act as a founder (member, participant) of a non-commercial organization on persons with respect to whom a decision is adopted to freeze (block) funds or other property in connection with sufficient grounds to suspect them of involvement into terrorist activities. According to this law, individuals having their assets frozen because of terrorism allegations would be banned from being founders, participants, or members of NCOs. These amendments, according to the Government, would help secure the nonprofit sector against abuse for financing terrorist activities. However, the criteria for making a decision on the freezing (blocking) of funds or other property in connection with sufficient reasons to suspect involvement in terrorist activities are not specified, making arbitrary application of the law possible. The law came into force on December 13, 2019.
  • Federal Law No. 426-FZ of December 2, 2019, on Amending the Law of the Russian Federation on the Mass Media and the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information. The so-called law on “individuals-foreign agents” came into force on December 2, 2019. Additionally, all media recognized as FAs (including individuals recognized as media-FAs) must establish a Russian legal entity by February 1, 2020. The law extended the rules on the activities of foreign mass media performing the functions of a foreign agent (mass media-FA) and (NCO-FA) to individuals and commercial organizations. In accordance with the adopted amendments, in order to recognize an individual as a “mass media-FA,” two characteristics are required: distribution of printed, audio, audio-visual and other messages and materials intended for an unlimited number of persons (including using the Internet information and telecommunications network»); and receipt of funds and (or) other property from foreign states, their state bodies, international and foreign organizations, foreign citizens, stateless persons or persons authorized by them, and (or) from Russian legal entities that receive funds and (or) other property from these sources. The decision to recognize an individual as a mass media-FA is made by the MoJ in consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After being recognized as a mass media-FA, an individual is obliged to: establish a Russian legal entity or notify the MoJ of all previously established legal entities within one month from the date of recognition as a “mass media-FA.” Information about these legal entities is also subject to inclusion in the Register of mass media-FAs, and they acquire the status of “Russian legal entity performing the functions of a foreign agent”; label messages and materials distributed in the territory of the Russian Federation indicating that these messages and materials are created and/o) distributed by a “mass media-FA”; and comply with the requirements of the NCO law in the part that must be determined by a special act of the MoJ to be issued in accordance with this law. The obligation to establish a legal entity forces an individual to incur financial costs associated with its registration (legal services, payment of state duty), and opening and maintaining a bank account. The legislative procedure for notifying of an individual on recognition of their status as a “mass media-FA” by the MoJ is not fixed in the law. In fact, all individuals are at risk of administrative penalties (a fine of 10,000 rubles) if they do not keep track of the Registry of foreign media-FAs and do not learn about their recognition as a “mass media-FA” and accordingly, do not fulfill the requirements of the law on establishing a legal entity and labeling materials. The procedure for removing an individual from the Register of mass media-FAs is also not regulated by the law, as it mentions only the MoJ’s right to include information about an individual in the corresponding Register and to exclude it.
  • Federal law No. 443-FZ of December 16, 2019, on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses (CoAO) (on establishing liability for violation of the procedure for the activity of a foreign media outlet). The law provides for imposing fines as high as 5 million rubles for repeated violations of media laws related to FAs.First-time offenses carry smaller penalties:  FAs news outlets will face fines as high as 1 million rubles and individual FAs could be forced to pay as much as 10 thousand rubles. The law came into force on February 1, 2020.
  • Law of the Russian Federation on the Amendment to the Constitution of the Russian Federation No. 1-FKZ of March 14, 2020, on Improving the Regulation of Certain Issues of the Organization and Functioning of Public Authority was submitted to the State Duma by the President on January 20, 2020. It provoked a lot of critical comments, as it included such controversial provisions as: on the supremacy of the Russian Constitution over decisions of international bodies, the possibility for the President to stay in power until 2036, and others. The State Duma Council has repeatedly extended the deadline for submitting amendments to the second reading. On March 11, constitutional amendments were approved by the Federation Council. On March 14, the President signed the text of this law. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation confirmed the compliance of the law’s provisions with the Constitution. This law should have been approved by the universal vote (nation-wide people’s vote, different from referenda) scheduled for April 22, 2020. Due to the spread of COVID-19, the President repeatedly postponed the vote, that finally took place on July 1, 2020. The law does not contain provisions which would directly affect NCOs’ activities, but is of concern to civil society at large, as it eliminates an opportunity for NCOs to defend human rights by appealing to international institutions.
  • Federal law No. 60-FZ of March 18, 2020, on Amendments to Articles 2 and 31-4 of the Federal Law on NCOs established a new basis for including SONCOs in the Register of SONCO-providers of public benefit services – “proper implementation of projects that provide the implementation of activities in one or more priority areas in the sphere of providing public benefit services using grants from the President of the Russian Federation aimed at the development of civil society.” The evaluation of such projects’ results will be carried out by an organization authorized to provide grants from the President of the Russian Federation – the Presidential Grants Fund. Evaluated SONCOs will not need to obtain additional opinions on the quality of services they provided.
  • Federal law No. 100-FZ of April 1, 2020, on Introducing Changes to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and Articles 31 and 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation was adopted by the State Duma on March 31 and signed by the President on April 1. The first group of amendments to the Criminal Code establishes that public dissemination, under the guise of reliable reports of false public interest information, which results by negligence in the infliction of harm to human health, will be punished with a fine in the amount from 700 thousand to 1,5 million rubles or the salary or other income of the convicted person for a period of eighteen months, or correctional labor for a term up to one year, compulsory works for a term up to three years, or imprisonment for the same term. The same act which results by negligence in human death or other grave consequences, shall be punished by a fine in the amount of 1.5 million to 2 million rubles or the salary or other income of the convicted person for a period of eighteen months to three years, or correctional labor for up to two years, or hard labor for a term up to five years, or imprisonment for the same term. The second group of amendments is related to huge penalties for violations of quarantine. Thus, changes increase criminal responsibility over violation of sanitary-epidemic rules: up to three years in prison; if such violation caused accidental death of two and more persons: up to seven years in prison (Article 236 of the Criminal Code).
  • Federal law 113-FZ of April 4, 2020, on Amendments to the Federal law on Charitable Activities and Volunteering provides for the definition of the concept of a “box for collecting donations:” “a box for collection of donations – any capacity (including a device) for collection of donations, the right to use of which belongs exclusively to NCOs, whose bylaws provide for the right to carry out charitable activities.” The law also provides for two types of boxes: portable and stationary. Installation and use of stationary boxes are allowed on the basis of an agreement with the owner (user) of the premises, except when they are installed by relevant NCOs during public events organized by them (or their associations) or with written permission from the organizers of a public event. The use of a portable box is allowed during a public event if there is a document from the organizer of the event. Requirements for boxes, and the procedure for their installation and use should be determined by the regulatory act of the Government of the Russian Federation. The adoption of this law improves the NCO legal environment as previously collecting cash donations was not regulated, and therefore, de facto not permitted by law (while the cash collections are not specifically prohibited by law, they would violate multiple other legal rules, subject to penalties). It also sets rules protecting NCOs from abuse by criminals who “fundraise” from the public under the guise of and legitimate NCOs. The law came into force on October 4, 2020.
  • Order of the President of the Russian Federation of May 6, 2020, No. 120-rp (on the allocation of funds from the reserve fund of the President of the Russian Federation) in the amount of 3 billion rubles to the fund operating presidential grants for the development of civil society (i.e. through provision of grants to SONCOs) including for the mandatory purchase of personal protective equipment for NCO employees and volunteers. This is one of the measures to support the NCO sector, which the President announced on April 30, 2020. This program started implementation in June, when the Fund for Presidential Grants announced a Special Competition to support SONCOs during the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
  • Federal law No. 154-FZ of May 23, 2020, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation provides for changes in legislation on elections and referendums and basic guarantees of electoral rights and the right to participate in referendums for citizens of the Russian Federation. In addition to letting voters cast their ballot by mail or via the internet, elections candidates will now be allowed to collect voter signatures through the government services portal “Gosuslugi.” This law also provides for banning persons convicted of crimes of average gravity from standing as candidates in any election. The ban is to be active five years after expungement of conviction. The law prohibits persons convicted of involving minors in crimes and inducing them to suicide, kidnapping, obstruction of electoral commissions’ operation and exercise of electoral rights, falsification of voting documents, public calls for extremism and infringement of territorial sovereignty, fraud, money laundering and repeated violation of the order of organizing and holding rallies from running for election. Previously, such a ban was applied to grave crimes’ convicts.
  • Federal Law No. 163-FZ of May 25, 2020, on Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation. This law provides, in particular, for increasing the maximum level of compensation for bank deposits for citizens in some cases up to 10,000,000 rubles and expanding the list of legal entities that can claim compensation for deposits, including SONCOs. Deposits placed by certain types of NCOs (or in their favor) are protected by insurance in accordance with this Federal law. Before the adoption of this law, SONCOs practically could not receive funds if the bank where they made deposits lost its license. However, these positive measures will not apply to NCO-FAs.
  • Federal Law No. 172-FZ of June 8, 2020, on Amendments to Part Two of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation provides, in particular, for: SONCOs included in the MoED’s Registry of SONCOs are fully exempt from social insurance payments and taxes for the second quarter of 2020 (excluding VAT); and funds that businesses send to NCOs and religious associations, within 1% of revenue, can be attributed to non-operating expenses, reducing profit tax due” (this incentive was adopted for the first time, as donors in the Russian Federation have never enjoyed any benefits in connection with their donations, and the president has always refused to accept them before, suspecting the business only of tax fraud).
  • Federal law No.168-FZ of June 8, 2020, on the Unified Federal Information Register Containing Information about the Population of the Russian Federation provides for creation of a single database of personal data of Russians. The unified database of individuals will contain the full name (and change of name), date of birth, gender, citizenship, marital status, as well as details of foreign and Russian passports, diplomas, and other information about education. The Register will contain information about tax and military registration, information from employment records, and information about registration in mandatory insurance systems, including Insurance Number of Individual Ledger Account (СНИЛС) and Individual Taxpayer Number (ИНН). In total, the Register will include 30 types of information about each person in the country. The Federal Tax Service (FTS) will operate the database. Access to information about personal data is limited to FTS employees responsible for the data, but can be requested by state authorities, the Multifunctional Centers for Provision of Public and Municipal Services, the Election Commission, notaries, and directly by the citizen himself, if he needs information about himself or persons who are dependent on him. In particular, intelligence services employees will have access to the database. This can be considered a direct violation of Article 24 of the Constitution, which states that “any use and dissemination of information about the private life of a citizen is carried out with the consent of the citizen.” It also contradicts the Federal Law on Personal Data, according to which the processing of personal data must be stopped and the collected data must be destroyed within 30 days from the date of achieving the purpose of its processing. The majority of experts consider that potential negative consequences of the law include leaks of personal data in the Russian Federation, additional state surveillance, and the Unified Register’s development as a tool for total electronic control.
  • Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of June 11, 2020, No. 847 on the Registry of Non-Commercial Organizations Most Affected by the Deterioration of the Situation as a result of the Spread of Novel Coronavirus Infection. According to the Decree, NCOs are included in the Registry of Non-Commercial Organizations Most Affected by the Deterioration of the Situation as a result of the Spread of Novel Coronavirus Infection(Registry of NCO-victims of the pandemic) based on the following criteria: an NCO is a private educational organization that carries out educational activities on the basis of a license as the main type of activity in accordance with the goals for the achievement of which such an organization was created; an NCO is a charitable organization registered in accordance with the procedure established by the legislation of the Russian Federation and applying reduced social insurance premiums; an NCO is a non-commercial organization (with the exception of state (municipal) institutions) registered in accordance with the procedure established by the legislation of the Russian Federation, carrying out activities in the field of social services for citizens, scientific research and development, education, healthcare, culture, and art in accordance with the constituent documents (the activities of theaters, libraries, museums and archives) and mass sports (with the exception of professional sport) and applying reduced social insurance premiums; and an NCO is included in the list of organizations whose grants received by taxpayers, provided to support science and education, culture and art, are not subject to taxation. The MoED is the authorized body for forming and maintaining the Registry of NCO-victims of the pandemic. The Federal Tax Service and the Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science provide information about organizations to be included in the Registry.
  • Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of June 23, 2020, No. 906 on the Registry of Socially Oriented Non-Commercial Organizations provides for the procedure for maintaining the Registry of SONCOs that have received grants and subsidies, performed social services, and provided public benefit services since 2017 The Registry is formed by the MoED and is publicly available on the Ministry’s website. The Decree defines the list of information to be included in the Registry, and the terms and procedure for entering it.
  • Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of June 13, 2020, No. 862 on Amendments to Some Acts of the Government of the Russian Federation in terms of establishing the specifics of the implementation of state control (supervision), municipal control in 2020 changed the grounds for conducting state inspections of NCOs as follows: unscheduled inspections of NCOs may be conducted in case of receipt of information about violation of the legislation regulating NCOs’ activities or the presence of signs of extremism in their activities, violation of the electoral legislation, and in case of carrying out the activities of an NCO performing the functions of FA that has not submitted an application for inclusion in the FA Registry. These grounds for unscheduled inspections of NCOs are much broader and vague than grounds for such inspections for businesses.
  • Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of July 2, 2020, No. 976 on Approval of the Rules for the Provision of Subsidies from the Federal Budget in 2020 to Small and Medium-Sized Businesses and Socially Oriented Non-Commercial Organizations for the Prevention of New Coronavirus Infection provides for allocation of subsidies for disinfection of premises, markings, dispensers, masks and gloves. The subsidy is divided into initial and current. The first will amount to 15,000 rubles. The second will be calculated as the product of 6,500 rubles by the number of employees of the organization in May 2020.
  • Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of July 7, 2020, No. 441 on Amending the Regulations on the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, approved by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of October 13, 2004, No. 1313. According to the Decree, the MoJ establishes the procedure for the formation and maintenance of a Registry of foreign media that perform the functions of a foreign agent (Registry of FM-FAs). The Decree came into force from the day it was signed – July 1, 2020. Earlier, the government gave the MoJ the authority to receive notifications from FM-FAs about the branches they established in the Russian Federation, as well as to establish the procedure for the formation and maintenance of a Registry of FM-FAs and the procedure for applying the provisions of the law on NCOs. New powers are envisaged based on the authority of the MoJ to maintain a Registry of FM-FAs.
  • Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of July 11, 2020, No. 1032 on Amendments to Certain Acts of the Government of the Russian Federation clarified the support measures for SONCOs, as well as NCOs most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, included in the relevant registries. The amendments are related to the granting of such organizations a deferral for rent and tax payments, as well as insurance premiums.
  • Federal Law No. 189-FZ of July 13, 2020, on the State (Municipal) Social Order for the Provision of State (Municipal) Services in the Social Sphere  provides for an opportunity for legal entities, including SONCOs, to receive budget funds for the provision of social services through participation in the state procurement system. The law covers only education, health care, social protection, employment, physical culture, sports, and tourism. SONCOs conducting activities in these spheres will be able to receive budget funding. The law came into force on September 1, 2020, in selected regions and is valid until 2025.
  • Federal law No. 203-FZ on July 13, 2020, on Amendments to Article 21 of the Federal Law on State Registration of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs  provides for making changes aimed at protecting the rights of workers in relation to their receipt of all due payments upon liquidation of the organization. Before submitting an application for state registration of liquidation, an organization must terminate all employment contracts with employees and make all payments to dismissed workers. The law came into force on July 13, 2020.
  • Federal law No. 208-FZ of July 13, 2020, on Amendments to the Federal law on Countering the Legalization (Laundering) of Proceeds from Crime and the Financing of Terrorism in order to improve mandatory control. According to the law banks will be required to report all transactions of entrepreneurs with cash in the amount of 600 thousand rubles or more. The law also introduces mandatory control of postal transfers over 100 thousand rubles; and strengthens control over operations under leasing agreements in the amount of more than 600 thousand rubles.
  • Federal law No. 282-FZ of July 31, 2020, on Amendments to the Federal law on Charitable Activities and Volunteerism and the Federal law on the Procedure for Forming and Using the Endowment Capital of Non-Commercial Organizations provides for amendments to legal regulation of endowments. The proposed changes are, in particular, the following: the formation of endowment capital is allowed for charitable foundations; an opportunity for NCO-owners of endowment capital to announce public fundraising for the formation of endowment capital; and the period for collecting donations for the formation of endowment capital is extended, provided that the amount of donations exceeds 1,500,000 rubles during the first year of collecting donations.
  • Order of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of August 31, 2020, No. 190 on Approval of the Requirements for the Form and Timing of Publication of the Report of a Non-Commercial Organization on the Use of Collected Charitable Donations was adopted in order to implement the provisions of Article 16.1 of the Federal Law on Charitable Activities and Volunteering, effective from October 5, 2020, which regulates the use of boxes for collecting donations. The adopted order contains both positive norms (designed to eliminate fraudulent actions in the field of charity) and negative ones (imposing an additional obligation on charitable NCOs to submit reports, for the failure to provide them the law establishes administrative responsibility).
  • Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of September 14, 2020, No. 1419 on Amending the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of January 26, 2017 No. 89 established a procedure for the issuance by the Fund, the operator of presidential grants for the development of civil society, of an opinion on the proper implementation of projects for the provision of socially useful services. In particular, the amendments provide that a conclusion on the proper implementation of projects is issued by the Fund based on the results of assessing the results of projects on the basis of a written application of the organization for the issuance of an opinion.
  • Order of the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media of September 23, 2020, No. 124 on Approval of the Form indicating that messages and materials have been created and (or) disseminated by a foreign mass media performing the functions of a foreign agent, and (or) a Russian legal entity performing the functions of a foreign agent, requirements for placement and placement procedure such an indication provides for the rules of labeling FM-FAs’ materials. The text of the Order states that messages and materials distributed on the territory of the Russian Federation must be accompanied by an indication that they were created or distributed by FM-FA, or by a Russian legal entity performing such functions. In addition, FM-FAs must indicate the following to their articles – “this message (material) was created and (or) disseminated by a foreign mass media performing the functions of a foreign agent, and (or) a Russian legal entity performing the functions of a foreign agent “. Such a text indication should be placed at the beginning of the article. The draft also states that the font color of the text message should be in contrast to the background. The same requirements apply to mass media disseminating data by means of audiovisual means. However, in their case, the corresponding accompaniment must be published before the start of the broadcast – it must be shown for at least 15 seconds. It is necessary to place such an indication in the center of the screen – it must occupy at least 20% of the screen area. When sounding such accompaniments on the radio, the use of speech acceleration technologies is not allowed, in addition, the volume level should not be lower than the messages themselves. Failure to comply with the form and procedure of marking by a FM-FA entails administrative liability established by article 19.34.1 of the CoAO of the Russian Federation in the form of an administrative fine for officials in the amount of 50 to 200 thousand rubles, for legal entities – from 500 thousand to 5 million rubles.
  • Order of the MoJ of September 24, 2020, No. 214 on Approval of the Procedures for Applying to Persons Specified in Parts Three and Seven of Article 6 of the Law No. 2124-1 of December 27, 1991, on the Mass Media, and to a Russian Legal Entity Established by a Foreign Mass Media Performing the functions of a Foreign Agent, the Provisions of the Federal Law of January 12, 1996 No. 7-FZ on Non-Commercial Organizations in accordance with which a FM-FA submits to the MoJ directly, in the form of a postal item with a list of attachments or in the form of electronic documents: a report on its activities, on the personal composition of the governing bodies in the form No. OИA001 – once every six months, no later than the 15th day of the month following the end of the half-year (January 15, July 15); a report on the purposes of spending money and use of other property, including those received from foreign sources, and on the actual spending and use of funds and other property received from foreign sources, in form No. OИA001 – quarterly no later than the 15th day of the month following the end of the quarter (January 15, April 15, July 15, October 15); and an auditor’s report on the results of the audit of the annual accounting (financial) statements annually no later than April 15 of the year following the reporting year (except for individuals).
  • Order of the MoJ of September 24, 2020, No. 216 on Approval of the Procedure for the Formation and Maintenance of the Registry of Foreign Mass Media Performing the Functions of a Foreign Agent. The Order establishes the rules for the formation and maintenance of the registry of FM-FAs. The formation and maintenance of the registry is carried out by the MoJ. The registry is kept on paper and electronic media. If information on paper does not correspond to information on electronic media, information on paper has priority. The information contained in the registry is open, access to them is provided by posting on the official website of the MoJ of the information contained in the registry on electronic media. There are grounds for making a decision on the inclusion of information in the registry, on excluding information from the registry, requirements for an application for the inclusion of information in the registry.
  • Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of October 1, 2020, No. 1584 on Approval of Requirements for Boxes for Collecting Charitable Donations, the Procedure for Their Installation, Use and Retrieval of Property Collected with their Help was developed in compliance with Federal law of April 7, 2020, No. 113-FZ on Amendments to the Federal law on Charitable Activities and Volunteering. This Decree introduces uniform requirements for the use of donation boxes, it is aimed at reducing the number of fraudulent actions in the field of collecting charitable donations and is to discipline those charitable organizations that previously neglected such obvious rules as sealing a box or drawing up an act on its opening.
  • Federal law No. 333-FZ of October 15, 2020, on Amending Article 7 of the Federal Law on General Principles of Organization and Operation of Civic Chambers of the Subjects of the Russian Federation, according to which deputies of all levels cannot be members of civic chambers. This law excludes possible obvious pressure of deputies on other members of regional civic chambers, though in practice regional civic chambers are in the overwhelming majority of cases under a strong influence of local authorities. The law came into force on October 26, 2020.
  • Federal Law No. 337-FZ of October 15, 2020, on Amendments to Articled 9 and 10 of the Federal law on Countering Extremist Activity entered into force on April 13, 2021. The law imposes on the MoJ the obligation to approve the procedure for maintaining the list of NCOs in respect of which the court has adopted a final decision on the liquidation or prohibition of activities (as of February 10, 2024, total number of NCOs in this list is 108), as well as the procedure for maintaining the list of public and religious associations whose activities have been suspended due to their implementation of extremist activities. A list of public and religious associations whose activities have been suspended due to their implementation of extremist activities, was also created by the MoJ on October 3, 2019, as of February 10, 2024, it contains no entries.
  • Federal Law No. 407-FZ of December 8, 2020, on Amendments to the Labor Code of the Russian Federation regarding the regulation of remote work and the temporary transfer of an employee to remote work at the initiative of the employer in exceptional cases. According to the law, types of remote work defined in the Labor Code are direct remote working, temporary remote working and a combination of these two types of remote working. The amendments also regulate the working time of those employed on home sourcing terms, so they could not be under the necessity to respond to calls or messages of employers around the clock. The changes simplify the registration of remote employees’ work, especially in the context of restrictions related to the spread of coronavirus infection, provide for the regulation of controversial issues related to remote work, and create new opportunities for employees and employers. The law came into force on January 1, 2021.
  • Federal Law No. 410-FZ of December 8, 2020, on Amendments to the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses entered into force on December 19, 2020. This law amends Article 4.1.1 of the CoAO, which earlier provided for the replacement of an administrative fine with a warning only for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as for individual entrepreneurs. This put NCOs in an unequal position with commercial organizations, “which, unlike NCOs, systematically make a profit and have the material opportunity to pay penalties.” The law allows replacing an administrative fine with a warning if the NCO committed an administrative offense for the first time, and if it did not harm the life and health of people, objects of flora and fauna, the environment, property damage and did not lead to other grave consequences. However, there are cases when an administrative fine will be prohibited from being replaced by a warning. For example, it will be impossible when committing such administrative offenses as the distribution by the owner of the audiovisual service of information containing public calls to carry out terrorist activities, materials publicly justifying terrorism, or other materials calling for the implementation of extremist activities or justifying or justifying the need for such activities. An administrative fine will also threaten for propaganda or public display of Nazi paraphernalia or symbols, or paraphernalia or symbols of extremist organizations, as well as other symbols and paraphernalia, propaganda and public display of which are prohibited by law. In addition, it will not be possible to replace the warning with a fine in case of failure to provide information by an NCO-FA, violation of the procedure for the activities of such an organization, as well as for organizing the activities of an NCO-FA in respect of which a decision was made to suspend its activities.
  • Federal Law No. 476-FZ of December 29, 2020, on Amendments to Article 5 of the Federal Law on Auditing Activity came into force on January 1, 2021. The government submitted this draft law to the State Duma on November 19, 2019. The Ministry of Finance included an exemption for funds/foundations from the obligation to undergo an annual audit, if the receipt of property and funds during the preceding reporting year does not exceed 3 million rubles (with the exception of endowment funds) into it. This law is to save many funds/foundations from a financially costly auditing procedure.
  • Federal Law No. 477-FZ of December 29, 2020, on Amendments to the Labor Code of the Russian Federation that came into force on January 1, 2021, is aimed at simplifying the workflow of NCOs in the field of labor relations. It permits small NCOs with up to 35 employees and an annual income of up to 800 million rubles to draw up fixed-term employment contracts. NCOs with a staff of no more than 15 people and revenue of less than 120 million rubles a year will not need to approve the internal labor regulations, regulations on wages and bonuses.
  • Federal Law No. 481-FZ of December 30, 2020, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation on terms of establishing additional measures to counter threats to national security came into force on December 30, 2020. Practically, it is a whole package of laws that provides for amendments to: Article 4 of the Law of the Russian Federation of December 27, 1991, 2124-1 on Mass Media; Paragraph five of the first part of Article 22 of the Law of the Russian Federation of July 21, 1993 No. 5485-1 on State Secrets; Federal Law of May 19, 1995, No. 82-FZ on Public Associations; Federal Law of January 12, 1996 No. 7-FZ on Non-Commercial Organizations; Federal Law of December 28, 2012 No. 272-FZ on Measures of Influence on Persons Involved in Violations of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the Russian Federation (Dima Yakovlev law); and Part 6 of Article 13, Federal Law of July 21, 2014 No. 212-FZ on the Basics of Public Control in the Russian Federation. This law is aimed, in particular, at introducing norms on recognizing individuals as FAs, as well as the emergence of obligations for unregistered public associations to notify the MoJ about the availability of foreign funding for their recognition as FAs by analogy with NCOs-legal entities.
  • Federal Law No. 482-FZ of December 30, 2020, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Measures of Influence on Persons Involved in Violations of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the Russian Federation (so called law on “censorship in internet”) entered into force on January 10, 2021. This law was developed at the request of Roskomnadzor (Russian media watchdog) as a kind of “response mechanism to censorship against Russian citizens and the media.” The law introduces a special status of an “owner of an information resource involved in violations of basic rights and liberties of citizens of the Russian Federation”; the status is to be granted by the Prosecutor General’s Office in consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The same measure may be applied to internet resources found to restrict access to information of public character on grounds of nationality, language, or in answer to the introduction of sanctions against the Russian Federation or its citizens. According to the law, Roskomnadzor is empowered to fully or partially restrict access to such resources by technical means.
  • Federal Law No. 497-FZ of December 30, 2020, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Assemblies, Rallies, Demonstrations, Processions and Picketing entered into force on January 10, 2021. The law proposes that mass actions include not only a set of single pickets united by a single plan and a common organization, but also “alternate participation of several persons in such picketing acts”, as well as “mass simultaneous stay and (or) movement of citizens in public places aimed at expressing and forming opinions”. The law also contains a list of bans for journalists covering rallies. In particular, they will not be allowed to use posters and banners, organize the collection of signatures, use “various symbols and other means of public expression of collective or individual opinion” and hide the “distinctive feature of a media representative”.
  • Federal Law No. 503-FZ of December 30, 2020, on Amendments to Articles 8 and 11 of the Federal Law on Special Assessment of Working Conditions provides for establishing an indefinite validity of the declaration of conformity of working conditions to state regulatory requirements for labor protection, which will allow employers, after the expiration of the declaration, in cases where working conditions at the declared workplaces have not changed, not to conduct a special assessment of working conditions, which will allow reduce the financial burden on them. At the same time, the implementation of the norms of the law will not lead to a decrease in the objectivity and quality of a special assessment of working conditions and the level of protection of the workers’ right to safe working conditions. This law saves most NCOs from the costly procedure of periodically conducting an expensive special assessment procedure.
  • Federal Law No. 511-FZ of December 30, 2020, on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation entered into force on January 10, 2021. This law is related to so called “law on the censorship in Internet” (Federal Law of December 30, 2020 No. 482-FZ on Amendments to the Federal Law on Measures of Influence on Persons Involved in Violations of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the Russian Federation) and was submitted as a “response” to blocking Russian official media sources in internet and is targeted primarily against YouTube, Facebook, Twitter. Now, for actions in which the authorities see censorship, the Prosecutor General’s Office, after consultations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will be able to give the information resource the status of “allowing censorship against Russian publications and broadcasters.” This will lead to sanctions: administrative fines, slowdown of Internet traffic and blocking.
  • Federal Law No. 525-FZ of December 30, 2020, on Amendments to Article 330-1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation came into force on March 1, 2021. It is related to the Federal Law No. 481-FZ of December 30, 2020, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in terms of establishing additional measures to counter threats to national security. The law provides for the amendment of Article 3301 of the Criminal code (Malicious evasion of obligations provided for by the legislation of the Russian Federation in connection with the recognition of a person as performing the functions of a foreign agent) and establishes criminal liability of natural persons, NCOs and media recognized as FAs for violation of their obligations. It proposes the following punishment: a fine in the amount of up to 300 thousand rubles or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of up to two years, or by compulsory works for a term of up to 480 hours, or by corrective labor for a term of up to two years, or by imprisonment for the same term. If a person was already punished for the violation in accordance with the CoAO, he/she shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of up to 300 thousand rubles or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of up to two years, or by compulsory works for a term of up to 480 hours, or by compulsory labor for a term of up to five years, or by imprisonment for the same term. Due to a possible broad interpretation of the notion of “malicious evasion” it can lead to imprisonment of human rights defenders.
  • Federal Law No. 530-FZ of December 30, 2020, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection (so called law on “censorship in social media”) came into force on February 1, 2021. The law introduces the concept of “the owner of a social network” on the Internet. It also provides for obligations for the owner of a social network, access to which during the day is more than 500 thousand users. In addition, the owner of the social network will have to independently monitor a number of types of illegal content. This list includes, in particular, the following categories of materials: information expressing clear disrespect for society, the state, its symbols and authorities; and information with calls for riots, participation in unauthorized public events, fake news, information and links to materials of undesirable organizations.
  • Federal Law No. 538-FZ of December 30, 2020, on Amendments to Article 128-1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation entered into force on January 10, 2021. The law broadens definition of “libel” crime, performed under aggravative circumstances, by including into it dissemination of knowingly false information made in public, “with the use of informational-telecommunications networks, including Internet”. It also substantially increases punishment for libel, adding to it prison term, up to 5 years. It expands definition of “libel” crime, which has already been very vague, and established cruel penalties for it.
  • Federal Law No. 541-FZ of December 30, 2020, Amendments to the Federal Law on Assemblies, Rallies, Demonstrations, Processions and Picketing entered into force on January 10, 2021. The law provides for additional restrictions on fundraising for the preparation and holding of a public event. For example, its organizers will be prohibited from accepting funding from foreign states, organizations and citizens, NCOs-FAs, Russian citizens under 16 years of age, anonymous donors and legal entities registered less than a year before. According to the results of the campaign, its organizers will have to submit a report on the expenditure of funds to the authority with which the public event was coordinated. This law introduces new restrictions on foreign funding and NCOs-FAs activities.
  • Federal law No. 14-FZ of February 24, 2021, on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation proposes to expand the effect of Article 13.15 of CoAO, which provides for liability for abuse of freedom of the media. It is proposed to supplement this article with three new parts on responsibility for the dissemination of information, respectively, about an NCO, an unregistered public association, an individual included in the registries of organizations and individuals performing the functions of a foreign agent. It establishes identical penalties: “a fine for citizens in the amount of two thousand to two thousand five hundred rubles with or without confiscation of the subject of an administrative offense; on officials – from four thousand to five thousand rubles with or without confiscation of the subject of an administrative offense; for legal entities – from forty thousand to fifty thousand rubles with or without confiscation of the subject of an administrative offense. It is also proposed to supplement CoAO with new Articles 19.7.5-3 and 19.7.5-4, which establish administrative liability for violation of the procedure for the activities of a public association operating without acquiring the rights of a legal entity (unregistered public association) and violation of obligations by an individual acting as a foreign agent. This law is related to the adopted Federal Law of December 30, 2020 No. 481-FZ on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in terms of establishing additional measures to counter threats to national security and entered into force on March 1, 2021.
  • Federal law No. 24-FZ of February 24, 2021, on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation provides for increasing liability for violations in the preparation and conduct of public events, stipulating fines from 2 thousand to 4 thousand rubles for disobedience to the police orders. Repeated offences would result in fines from 10 thousand to 20 thousand rubles. Moreover, community service is envisaged as an alternative punishment for such violations. This law entered into force on March 7, 2021.
  • Federal law No. 75-FZ of April 5, 2021, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Non-Commercial Organizations extends the concept of foreign sources, prohibits registration of structural units of foreign NCOs in households, introduces additional basis for unscheduled inspections and obliges NCOs-FAs and their units to submit programs and documents constituting grounds for running events and performance report to the MoJ. The law came into force on October 3, 2021.
  • Federal law No. 85-FZ of April 5, 2021, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Education in the Russian Federation proposes to amend the law on education by introducing into it the concept of “educational outreach activities”, which will be prohibited from being conducted outside the framework established by the federal government. This new notion of “educational outreach activities” has a vast definition. According to the law, any seminars, round tables, trainings and similar events can be classified as educational activities. The law is very dangerous for NCOs conducting all sorts of trainings. There is a threat that they may lose the opportunity to include in charters and carry out any educational activities. Besides, the adopted law contains a large number of terms that are not defined in the legislation, which may lead to a broad and possibly restrictive interpretation of the concept of educational activities by state bodies. The law entered into force on June 1, 2021. As for implementing regulations, the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of July 1, 2022, No. 1195 on approval of the Rules for the implementation of educational activities was adopted a year later.
  • Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of April 19, 2021 No. 617 on the Establishment of Limit Values for the Average Number of Employees and the Amount of Income of Non-Commercial Organizations in order to extend to them the specifics of regulation of labor relations and other relations directly related to them established by Chapter 48.1 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation” and Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of April 19, 2021 No. 618 on Amending the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of August 27, 2016, No. 858. Both Decrees of the Government develop the legislative norms introduced in December 2020 on the ability of NCOs to conclude fixed-term employment contracts and approve the standard form of a fixed-term employment contract, i.e., simplify the workflow of a significant number of NCOs in terms of personnel documents and reduce their costs. Decrees entered into force on April 21, 2021.
  • Federal Law No. 91-FZ of April 20, 2021, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation provides for restricting parliamentary candidates who have been identified as FAs or persons affiliated with them. This law introduces two new notions into the electoral legislation: “a candidate affiliated with a person acting as a foreign agent” and “a candidate who is a natural person – a foreign agent.” The first notion designates a candidate for an elective position who, two years before the election, worked in an NCO-FA or in a FM-FA, or, carrying out political activities, received funds from NCOs or individuals who are FAs (including through intermediaries). The second notion refers to those who are included in the list of individuals who perform the functions of FAs. Now candidates will be required to indicate when communicating with government agencies and in campaign materials that they receive funding from abroad. Information on the status of a FA or affiliation with him should occupy at least 15% of the area of campaign materials and subscription lists. Affiliation with a FA is recognized if the candidate was a member of an NCO-FA or an unregistered public association, was an employee or founder of a FM-FA (including its representative office in Russia). In addition, persons who receive funding or property from FAs for conducting political activity will be also considered affiliated. Candidates included in the Registry of FM-FAs, or nominated by an electoral association are required to report about their status. Individuals are included in the registry of FAs are now required to indicate their status when making donations to the electoral fund. The law entered into force on April 20, 2021.
  • Federal Law No. 102-FZ of April 30, 2021, on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation provides for amendments to Article 13.15 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (CoAO), which introduced administrative liability for abuse of freedom of the media, namely, a new part 2.4 was added, according to which the composition of an administrative offense forms distribution in the media, in messages and other information and telecommunication networks of messages and (or) materials of a foreign media outlet performing the functions of a foreign agent (FM-FA) and (or) a Russian legal entity included in the Registry of FM-FAs, without indicating that these messages and (or) materials were created and (or) disseminated by FM-FA, and (or) a Russian legal entity included in the Registry of FM-FAs. The penalty for this administrative offense is a fine for citizens in the amount of 2 thousand to 2,500 rubles; for officials – from 4,000 to 5 thousand rubles; for legal entities – from 40 thousand to 50 thousand rubles. The law came into force on May 11, 2021.
  • Federal Law No. 104-FZ of April 30, 2021, on Amendments to Article 265 of Part Two of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation provides for the formation of a unified register of NCOs in order to increase the efficiency of measures for their state support and tax incentives (businesses donating funds to NCOs included in this register will reduce their taxes, within 1% of revenue, which will be attributed to non-operating expenses). In fact, two registries that existed in parallel will be merged: the SONCO register, which since 2017 have been recipients of grants or subsidies, public service providers, social service providers, and the register of NCOs most affected by the deterioration of the situation as a result of the spread of the new coronavirus infection. The law came into force on January 1, 2022.
  • Federal Law No. 124-FZ of April 30, 2021, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Advertising provides for social advertising on the Internet. According to the law, a 5% quota is to be introduced with regard to the online placement of social advertising similar to the requirements already in force as to TV and banner advertisements. Before the adoption of this law the placement of social advertisements on the internet was carried out on the voluntary basis, NCOs were forced to draw attention to their activities on the same terms as commercial organizations. The adopted amendments are aimed at ensuring equal conditions for NCOs for the distribution of social advertising, for which an operator of social advertising will be determined by the government.
  • Order of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of June 1, 2021 No. 92 on Approval of the Procedure for Maintaining the Registry of Unregistered Public Associations Performing the Functions of a Foreign Agent, the Procedure and Terms of Notification by a Public association Operating without Acquiring the Rights of a Legal Entity, on Receipt (Intention to Receive) Funds and (or) Other Property from Foreign Sources and on Participation (Intention to Participate) in Political Activities on the Territory of the Russian Federation and the Forms of Documents Submitted by the Public Association, included in the Registry of Unregistered Public Associations Performing the Functions of a Foreign Agent” (registered June 3, 2021 No. 63787). This Order came into force on June 14, 2021. The Order is a technical implementation of the norms introduced into the legislation on the extension to the activities of public associations that do not have the status of a legal entity, of provisions applicable exclusively to legal entities. Blurred and arbitrarily interpreted rules on the registration of unregistered public associations actually allow the MoJ to require the provision of information on the receipt of funds or other property from individuals, while the “connection” of these funds or other property with the activities of unregistered public associations in the overwhelming majority of cases is not obvious and unprovable.
  • Federal Law No. 225-FZ of June 28, 2021, on Amendments to Part One of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation provides for the possibility of holding meetings in a remote form. According to the law, remote participation will require mandatory compliance with two conditions: reliable authentication of the participants and the properly expressed will of the participants. For NCOs, this means that they will be able to hold such meetings and submit documents to government agencies without fear of being rejected. The law came into force on July 1, 2021.
  • Federal law No. 230-FZ of June 28, 2021, on Amendments to Article 6 of the Federal Law on Counteraction to Legalization (Laundering) of Criminally Obtained Incomes and Financing of Terrorism and Article 3-1 of the Federal Law on Measures of Affecting Persons Related to Violations of Basic Human Rights and Freedoms, Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the Russian Federation provides for mandatory control over any financial transactions of NCOs, mandatory control over operations for receiving funds by individuals from payers from foreign countries included in the special list of the Central Bank and Rosfinmonitoring (not publicly available). The law also expands the list of grounds for recognizing the activities of foreign or international non-governmental organizations as “undesirable” in the Russian Federation – receipt of information about the provision of intermediary services by it when conducting transactions with monetary funds and (or) other property belonging to a foreign or international non-governmental organization, whose activities are recognized as undesirable in the territory of the Russian Federation, in order to carry out activities by such an organization that pose a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order, defense or security of the state. Citizens of the Russian Federation and Russian legal entities are prohibited from participating in the activities of an “undesirable” organizations outside the Russian Federation. Amendments regarding control over the transfer of any funds to NCOs from abroad came into force on October 1, 2021; amendments to “Dima Yakovlev” law came into force on July 9, 2021.
  • Federal law No. 232-FZ of June 28, 2021, on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation provides for strengthening administrative liability for illegal arms trafficking, abuse of freedom of the media and participation in the activities of “undesirable” organizations. The amendments have expanded the effect of Art. 20.33 of the CoAO, instead of “carrying out” the activities of “undesirable” organization in the territory of the Russian Federation, the composition of an administrative offense henceforth constitutes any participation in the activities of such an organization, including outside the Russian Federation. According to Art. 20.33 of the CoAO the overwhelming majority of penalties are imposed on individuals. The law came into force on July 9, 2021.
  • Order of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of June 28, 2021, No. 105 on the Form and Deadlines of Submission to the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of Reports of Non-Commercial Organizations Performing the Functions of a Foreign Agent (registered on June 29, 2021, No. 64010) established new extended reporting forms for NCOs-FAs. The Order came into force on July 10, 2021.
  • Order of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of June 28, 2021 No. 106 on Approval of the Documents Provided for in Article 2.1 of the Federal Law of December 28, 2012 No. 272-F3 on Measures of Affecting Persons Related to Violation of Basic Human Rights and Freedoms, Rights and Freedoms of the Citizens of the Russian Federation (registered on June 29, 2021, No. 64011) establishes the procedure for maintaining the list of individuals-FAs. The Order came into force on July 11, 2021.
  • Order of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of June 28, 2021 No. 107 on Amending the Procedure for Maintaining the Registry of Non-Commercial Organizations Performing the Functions of a Foreign Agent, approved by Order of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation No. 223 dated November 30, 2012, and Order of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of August 16, 2018 No. 170 on Approval of Reporting Forms for Non-Commercial Organizations (registered on June 29, 2021, No. 64012) approved new reporting forms for all NCOs and changed the procedure of maintaining the Registry of NCOs-FAs. The Order came into force on July 10, 2021.
  • Federal Law No.236-FZ of July 1, 2021, on the Activities of Foreign Persons in the Information and Telecommunication Network Internet in the territory of the Russian Federation envisages that a foreign IT firm must open an office or an accredited legal entity in the Russian Federation, register its personal profile on the website of Roskomnadzor communications agency and publish electronic follow-up form for Russian citizens and organizations on its website. The law also contains measures of compulsion inducing IT giants to comply with Russian legislation, which include informing users of breaching of Russian laws by a resource, restriction of payments and funds transfer, search results ban, prohibition of collection and trans-border transfer of personal data, slowing of traffic or website blocking. The law came into force on July 1, 2021, with the exception of certain provisions for which other terms of entry into force are established.
  • Federal Law No. 290-FZ of July 1, 2021, on Amendments to Article 4 of the Law of the Russian Federation on Media provides for the ban on the distribution of information in the media about the organization included in the published unified federal list of organizations, including foreign and international organizations recognized in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation terrorist, without specifying that they are eliminated or their activities are prohibited. Failures to comply with this requirement are to be punished with fines of up to 2,500 rubles imposed on journalists and up to 50 thousand rubles imposed on the editorial boards of the media involved. The law entered into force on July 12, 2021.
  • Federal Law No. 292-FZ of July 1, 2021, on Amendments to Article 284-1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation completed Art. 284-1 of the Criminal Code which contained one corpus delicti – criminal liability for managing the activities of an “undesirable” organization in the territory of the Russian Federation, – with three separate corpus delicti: participation in any form in the activities of an “undesirable” organization, providing or collecting funds or providing financial services to such an organization, organization of its activities in the territory of the Russian Federation. The law, in particular, provides for imposing jail terms for fundraising for “undesirable” organizations. The violation will be punishable by compulsory labor for up to 360 hours, compulsory labor for up to four years with possible restraint of liberty for up to two years, and imprisonment for a term of one to five years. The law entered into force on July 12, 2021.
  • Federal Law No. 323-FZ of July 2, 2021, on Amendments to Article 26 of the Federal Law on Banks and Banking Activities obliges credit institutions to provide the MoJ, upon its request, with access to financial documents of NCOs and information on transactions and accounts of NCOs, which constitutes bank secrecy (except for religious organizations). Despite the stipulation in the law of the obligation of the MoJ not to disclose information constituting bank secrets, there are very serious fears of leakage of this information or its use in order to put pressure on NCOs. The law came into force on July 13, 2021.
  • Federal law No. 352-FZ of July 2, 2021, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation amended the procedure for NCOs-FAs’ submission of auditor’s report as part of their reporting. Changes have been made to Art. 32 of the Federal Law of January 12, 1996 No. 7-FZ on Non-Commercial Organizations, according to which an NCO-FA will have to post an audit report on the state information resource of accounting (financial) statements – https://bo.nalog.ru/, which is administered by the Federal Tax Service. After that, NCO-FA will only have to send to the MoJ information confirming the submission of an audit report on this resource. And the MoJ will receive all the information it needs using a unified system of interdepartmental electronic interaction. This law entered into force on January 1, 2022.
  • Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of July 30, 2021, No. 1290 on the Registry of Socially Oriented Non-Commercial Organizations was developed in compliance with previously adopted legislative changes, in accordance with which two registries will be united into a single registry, which were previously maintained in parallel: registry of SONCOs, which since 2017 have been recipients of grants provided by the President of the Russian Federation or recipients of subsidies and grants from federal and regional executive authorities; and the registry of NCOs most affected by the deteriorating situation as a result of the spread of the new coronavirus infection. The Decree entered into force on January 1, 2022.
  • Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of August 17, 2021 No. 1363 on the Approval of the Regulations on the procedure and deadlines for the submission by structural units of foreign non-profit non-governmental organizations of programs and other documents declared for implementation and being implemented on the territory of the Russian Federation, which are the basis for carrying out activities, as well as a report on implementation programs and execution of other documents that are the basis for events establishes the procedure and deadlines for submitting to the MoJ of information about the planned and ongoing programs of the structural units of the FNCO. The Decree is aimed at the technical implementation of the previously adopted legislative changes, which significantly increased the amount of information submitted by the affiliate and representative offices of FNCOs to the MoJ. The Decree entered into force on October 3, 2021.
  • Order of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation of September 28, 2021, No. 379 on Approval of the List of Information in the field of Military, Military-Technical Activities of the Russian Federation, which, when Received by a Foreign State, its State Bodies, an International or Foreign Organization, Foreign Citizens or Stateless Persons Can Be Used against the Security of the Russian Federation approved a list of 60 items of information in the field of military and military-technical activities, the collection of which (provided that these actions are carried out in the interests of foreign sources, and with the provision of appropriate support) is the basis for recognizing an individual as performing the functions of a foreign agent and including this individuals persons in the corresponding registry, which is maintained by the MoJ. A number of wordings used in this Order are vague, which creates additional risks for individuals (primarily journalists) of being recognized as performing the functions of a foreign agent, for example, covering military corruption news becomes grounds for ‘foreign agent’ status. The Order entered into force on October 11, 2021.
  • Order of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of September 30, 2021, No. 184 on the Forms and Deadlines of Submission to the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of Reports of Non-Commercial Organizations Performing the Functions of a Foreign Agent significantly changed the reporting forms of NCOs-FAs, considerably increasing the amount of information included in the reporting. For example, instead of one reporting form ОИА001, seven new forms have been introduced, which, in particular, include not only information about the activities of NCOs-FAs in the reporting year, but also information about the governing bodies and employees; information on the expenditure of funds received from Russian legal entities, the beneficial owners of which are foreign citizens or stateless persons, and the use of other property that was previously absent. A new reporting form (ОИА005) is being introduced, in which it will be necessary to reflect information about ongoing programs, other documents that are the basis for activities. It will be necessary to include in the report basic information about the programs, for example, the name, date of approval, goals, stages, timing, territory of implementation, as well as the strategy and special conditions for implementation, the amount of funding and actual costs. The report on the conducted events will now be filled out in a separate ОИА006 form, which contains information about the full address of the venue for each event, as well as a list of event participants (so far only surname, name and patronymic), and/or its counterparties. Another innovation is the event spending report, which includes: information about the funds spent on a specific event, indicating the type of spending and the document-basis for the transfer of funds (including its name and date); and information about the actual use of other property: the name of the object of civil rights, the method of its use and the document-basis on which such use became possible. According to the ОИА007 reporting form, it will be necessary to provide information on the activities that were provided for by the program or other documents, but were not carried out in the reporting period. It will be necessary to indicate the name of the document (name of the program), which provided for the activities, and the date of sending information about the planned activities to the MoJ. Totally there are seven deadlines for submitting these reporting forms, which complicate the already difficult reporting of NCOs-FAs. The Order entered into force on March 1, 2022.
  • Order of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of September 30, 2021, No. 185 on the Forms and Deadlines of Submission of Reports of Non-Commercial Organizations to the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation increased the volume of information included in the reporting forms of NCOs and structural units of FNCOs. of foreign non-profit non-governmental organizations. For example, NCOs will now have to provide information on the spending of funds received from Russian organizations, the beneficiaries of which are foreigners. Beneficiary owner means an individual who ultimately directly or indirectly (through third parties) owns (has a predominant participation of more than 25 percent in the capital) a legal entity or has the ability to control its actions. An additional line appears in the OH0001 reporting form that reflects information on targeted funding from citizens of the Russian Federation or Russian legal entities acting as intermediaries in the receipt of property by NCOs from foreign states, their state bodies, international and foreign organizations, foreign citizens, stateless persons or authorized persons. FNCO reporting is also increased, for example, to the reporting on the amount and sources of funds and other property, their planned distribution and purposes of spending (form СП0001), sheets have been added, in which it will be necessary to report on various sources of receipt of funds and other property separately: from Russian citizens, from foreign states and their bodies, from foreign and international organizations, from foreign citizens, and from authorized persons. In addition, information about the declared programs (СП0003 form) is supplemented with new sections (the same sections appear in the forms ОИА004, ОИА005, and ОИА006), for example, section 5 “Strategy of the implemented program”, section 8 “Program implementation mechanism” appears. Information on ongoing programs (form СП0004) is a new form and contains, for example, such innovations as section 9 “Special conditions for the implementation of the program”, section 10 “Target Indicators”, sections 11 and 12, respectively, “Intended and ongoing activities”, section 13 “Participants of the ongoing program”. Information on the holding of events (form СП0005) contains a fork: if the events were not held, a check mark is enough, if they were conducted, then sheet A is filled in for each conducted: title, date of the event, address of the place where it was held. The Order entered into force on March 1, 2022.
  • Federal Law No. 377-FZ of November 22, 2021, on Amendments to the Labor Code of the Russian Federation came into force on November 22, 2021 (with the exception of certain provisions on uniform requirements for electronic documents, which take effect on March 1, 2023). On the one hand, the adopted legislative changes are positive, as they will allow organizations to reduce paper workflow (most of it can be stored in digital format). At the same time, there are fears that small organizations will not be able to afford the establishment and maintenance of their own electronic storage system, therefore, they will use the “Work in the Russian Federation” service. Thus, the state will have complete information on each employee’s responsibilities and activities.
  • Federal Law No. 423-FZ of December 21, 2021, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation took effect on March 22, 2022. Law No. 115-FZ introduced a new definition of a “suspicious transaction,” which is a transaction with cash or other property, allegedly carried out for the purpose of legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime, financing of terrorism. The functions of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation have been expanded (Article 4 of Law No. 86-FZ), so it has the authority to assess the level of risk of conducting suspicious transactions of any legal entity or individual entrepreneur registered in Russia with an open bank account. The only exceptions are credit institutions, state bodies, and local governments. At the same time, in accordance with the amendments, banks will be required to conduct an independent assessment of each client. It is difficult to predict how the introduction of the new order will affect the activities of NCOs in Russia as there are no court cases in open media. As recent practice shows, in general, NCOs fell into the category of medium risk (there are categories of low and high risk, in which the organization cannot operate, with some exceptions). This category implies additional attention to them by banks and an increased, in comparison with the low category, the risk of refusal to operate or the risk of the bank requesting documents on the activities of NCOs.
  • Federal law No. 468-FZ of December 30, 2021, on Amending the Code of Administrative Offences proposes to supplement the provisions of the CoAO with Art. 6.34 “Violation of the rules for the installation and use of boxes for collecting donations”. The law introduces differentiated liability depending on the subject of the violation: either the violation was committed by a person who has the right to use the box, or by another person who does not have such a right. Installation and use of a box for collecting charitable donations on behalf of an NCO by a person who does not have the right to carry out this activity will entail a fine for citizens in the amount of 3 thousand to 5 thousand rubles, for officials – from 20 thousand to 50 thousand rubles, for legal entities – from 50 thousand to 150 thousand rubles. In all cases, the box will be confiscated. Installation and use of the box by an organization that has the right to do so, in violation of the requirements established by law, will entail a fine for officials in the amount of 5 thousand to 10 thousand rubles, for legal entities – from 10 thousand to 50 thousand. The box can also be confiscated. The law entered into force on February 28, 2022.
  • Order of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation dated December 30, 2021 No. 274 “On Approval of the Administrative Regulations for the implementation by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of state control (supervision) over the compliance of the activities of non-commercial organizations with the statutory goals and objectives, affiliate and representative offices of international organizations, foreign non-profit non-governmental organizations with the stated goals and objectives , as well as their compliance with the legislation of the Russian Federation” entered into force on January 11, 2022 The new Administrative Regulations makes it possible to request a large number of additional documents from the governing bodies of an NCO or FNGO (for example, documents on the website of a non-profit organization, publications in the media, including on the Internet) and increases the time for state inspection up to 45 days (previously 30 days).
  • List of instructions of the President of the Russian Federation following the meeting of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights, held on December 9, 2021, was published on January 27, 2022. In particular, Item 9 of the list of instructions provides that until May 1, 2022, the MoJ was instructed to: analyze, together with the Prosecutor’s General Office (PGO) and the Council under the President of the Russian Federation for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights, the legislation of the Russian Federation on the regulation of the activities of NCOs-FAs, including with regard to their exclusion from the Registry of relevant organizations, and practice its application. If necessary, to submit proposals for improving the legislation of the Russian Federation; to analyze together with the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor) and with the participation of the Council under the President of the Russian Federation for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights and the All-Russian Public organization “Union of Journalists” the provisions of the Russian legislation on the regulation of the activities of the media, performing the functions of a foreign agent, and the practice of its application. If necessary, submit proposals for improving the legislation of the Russian Federation.
  • Decree on the Application of Special Economic Measures in connection with the unfriendly actions of the United States and Foreign States and International Organizations that have joined them was signed by the president on February 28, 2022. The Decree is related, in particular, to the mandatory sale of a portion of the foreign currency received by participants in foreign economic activity; prohibition of foreign exchange transactions involving residents providing non-residents with foreign currency under loan agreements; prohibition of residents crediting foreign currency to their accounts opened with banks or organizations abroad, or transferring money without opening a bank account by using electronic payment options provided by foreign payment service providers. In addition, the Order defined the terms and conditions under which companies may purchase their outstanding shares (except for the acquisition of outstanding shares in order to reduce their total number). Since then, foreign funding of NCOs was practically suspended.
  • Federal law No. 30-FZ of March 4, 2022, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Measures of Influence on Persons Involved in Violations of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the Russian Federation and Article 27 of the Federal Law on the Procedure for Leaving the Russian Federation and entry into the Russian Federation entered into force on March 15, 2022. The law proposes to expand the possibility of applying the measures of influence provided for by Federal Law No. 272-FZ on all foreign citizens and stateless persons, and not only on US citizens, as provided for in the previous edition. Namely it provides, in particular, for the following: The list of foreign citizens and stateless persons against whom enforcement measures are applied is maintained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In relation to such foreign citizens and stateless persons: 1) a ban is established on the disposal of property located on the territory of the RF; 2) activities in the territory of the RF of legal entities under their control are suspended; 3) authorities (membership) in the boards of directors or other management bodies of organizations registered in the territory of the RF are suspended. Correlating changes in terms of the prohibition of entry into the territory of the Russian Federation for foreign citizens and stateless persons were also introduced into the Federal Law of August 15, 1996, No. 114-FZ on the Procedure for Leaving the RF and entering the RF. The adopted amendments apply only to NCOs whose management bodies include foreign citizens or stateless persons.
  • On March 4, two Federal laws providing for administrative and criminal liability for public actions “aimed at discrediting Russia’s Armed Forces” were signed (Federal Law No. 31-FZ of March 4, 2022, on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation and Federal Law No. 32-FZ of March 4, 2022, on Amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and Articles 31 and 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation). These laws entered into force on March 4, 2022. According to the Federal law No. 31-FZ, two new articles 20.3-3 and 20.3-4 were introduced into the CoAO – public actions aimed at discrediting the use of the Russian Armed Forces in order to protect the interests of the Russian Federation and its citizens, to maintain international peace and security; and appeals for the introduction of restrictive measures against Russia, Russian citizens or legal entities. These articles provide for a fine on citizens in the amount of 30 thousand to 50 thousand rubles; for officials – from 100 thousand to 200 thousand rubles; for legal entities – from 300 thousand to 500 thousand rubles. The same actions, accompanied by calls for unauthorized public events, as well as creating a threat of harm, are punished more severely: a fine for citizens in the amount of 50 thousand to 100 thousand rubles; for officials – from 200 thousand to 300 thousand rubles; for legal entities – from 500 thousand to 1,000,000 rubles. The Criminal Code (Federal law No. 32-FZ) has been supplemented with three new articles: Article 207.3. Public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (fine in the amount of 700 thousand to 1,5 million rubles or imprisonment for up to 3 years). The same act committed by a person using his official position; a group of persons, a group of persons by prior agreement or an organized group; with the artificial creation of evidence for the prosecution; from interested motives; motivated by political, ideological, racial, national or religious hatred or enmity, or motivated by hatred or enmity against any social group, is punishable by a fine in the amount of 3-5 million rubles or in the amount of the wage or other income of the convicted person for the period from 3 to 5 years, or by forced labor for up to 5 years with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to five years, or by imprisonment for a term of 5 to 10 years with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to five years; Article 280.3. Public actions aimed at discrediting the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in order to protect the interests of Russia and its citizens, maintain international peace and security (a fine of 100 thousand to 300 thousand rubles or imprisonment for up to 3 years with deprivation of the right to occupy certain positions or engage in certain activities for the same period). Public actions resulting in death by negligence and (or) causing harm to the health of citizens, property, mass violations of public order and (or) public safety, or interfering with the functioning or cessation of functioning of life support facilities, transport or social infrastructure, credit organizations, energy facilities, industry or connections, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of 300 thousand to 1 million rubles, or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of 3 to 5 years, or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to 5 years, with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for that period. same term; and Article 284.2. Appeals for the introduction of restrictive measures against Russia, Russian citizens or legal entities after bringing to administrative responsibility for a similar act within one year, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of up to 500 thousand rubles, or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of up to 3 years, or by restraint of liberty for a term of up to 3 years, or by compulsory labor for a term of up to 3 years, or by arrest for a term of up to 6 months, or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to 3 years, with or without a fine in the amount of up to 200thousand rubles or in the amount of the salary or other income of the convicted person for a period of up to one year. Though not directly related to NCOs, it means introduction of severe censorship of all media and social networks, many activists and human rights defenders began to be punished under these laws almost immediately.
  • Federal Law No. 35-FZ of March 6, 2022, on Amendments to Articles 14 and 14-2 of the Federal Law on the National Payment System and Articles 1-1 and 4-7 of the Federal Law on the Use of Cash Registers in the Implementation of settlements in the Russian Federation entered into force on September 3, 2022. In accordance with the amendment provided for by this law, legal entities, and in particular NCOs, will be able to deposit funds to their current account using ATMs. These changes create additional opportunities for NCOs and simplify the procedure for depositing cash into a current account.
  • Federal Law No. 36-FZ of March 6, 2022, on Amendments to the Federal Law on the Procedure for the Formation and Use of Endowments of Non-Commercial Organizations proposes to expand the list of assets in which it is possible to invest funds that make up the endowment of an NCO, as well as to increase the share of endowment capital that is allowed to be spent on trust management expenses. This law does not change much directly for NCOs, but it fixes a number of advantages for management companies. The law entered into force on March 17, 2022.
  • Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of March 10, 2022, No. 336 on the Specifics of the Organization and Implementation of State Control (Supervision), Municipal Control canceled scheduled inspections in 2022, unless the objects of control are categorized as extremely high and high risk. Unscheduled inspections by the MoJ of the NCOs in 2022 were possible for most of the reasons provided for in clause 4.2 of Art. 32 of the Federal Law of January 12, 1996, No. 7-FZ on Non-Commercial Organizations, but with a notification from the prosecution authorities. This Decree had a positive impact on the activities of NCOs, since in a difficult economic situation, the cancellation of scheduled inspections would not deprive NCOs of resources to prepare for them, eliminate identified violations and pay possible fines.
  • Federal Law No. 60-FZ of March 14, 2022, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation entered into force immediately after publication. As a draft law, it was related to digital electronic voting, but for the second reading it was completed with amendments related to “unified registry of individuals – FAs.” In accordance with the adopted law, a “unified registry of information on individuals performing the functions of a foreign agent or affiliated with persons performing the functions of a foreign agent” will be created, is proposed to include in it individuals, both already included in other registries of FAs, and individuals, who were not previously included in them, namely: any individuals who have ever been founders, members, participants, managers, members of management bodies, employees of NCOs-FAs, UPAs-FAs, FM-FAs (and Russian legal entities created by them), as well as individuals who have ever received money and (or) other property assistance from them. The law can be considered as extremely negative, since the wordings used in the text of the law are vague and actually allow inclusion in the “unified registry” only on the formal basis of legal relations with the listed organizations, regardless of their nature and duration.
  • On March 25, two Federal laws providing for administrative and criminal liability for public actions “aimed at discrediting agencies representing Russia’s interests abroad” were signed (Federal Law No. 62-FZ of March 25, 2022, on Amendments to Articles 8.32 and 20.3-3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation and Federal Law No. 63-FZ of March 25, 2022, on Amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and Articles 150 and 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation). It should be noted that the above amendments were made to the second reading of the draft laws on another topic: the Criminal Code was proposed to be completed with the norms clarifying responsibility for the destruction or damage of forest plantations, adopted in the first reading on January 25, 2022. A new draft law with amendments to the Criminal Code according to the regulations can be submitted to the State Duma only with the feedback of the Supreme Court and the government, while amendments to the second reading avoids this process. The above laws extended Article 20.3-3 of the CoAO and 207.3 of the Criminal Code to cover cases of discrediting the exercise of the powers of Russian state bodies outside the territory of the Russian Federation. Though not directly related to NCOs, it means further intensification of severe censorship of all media and social networks, as up to 15 years will be threatened for false information about agencies representing Russia’s interests abroad.
  • Federal Law No. 70-FZ of March 26, 2022, on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation entered into force on April 6, 2022, and is overwhelmingly positive, as it significantly reduced fines for NCOs for committing administrative offenses. The adopted law introduced into the CoAO the norms on the mandatory replacement of a fine with a warning for an offense committed by an NCO for the first time, reduction in the amount of fines, a ban on simultaneously bringing an NCO and its head to administrative responsibility, and a ban on summing fines for several simultaneously identified administrative offenses of an NCO.
  • Federal law No. 89-FZ of April 1, 2022, on Amendments to Articles 6 and 7 of the Federal law on National-Cultural Autonomy entered into force on April 12, 2022. The law changed the procedure for the formation and maintenance of the register of national-cultural autonomies (NCA): the functions of maintaining this register were transferred from the MoJ to the Federal Agency for Nationalities Affairs (FADN). The procedure for maintaining the register and the composition of the information included in it will be determined by a decree of the government, information in the FADN for maintaining the register will be provided by the MoJ. It is possible to assess the positive or negative nature of the changes made only after the adoption of all necessary by-laws and the application of their norms in practice. Formally, no new duties are imposed on the NCAs, and the previously existing procedure for their registration and control of activities does not change.
  • Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of July 1, 2022, No. 1195 on Approval of the Rules for the Implementation of Educational Outreach Activities was adopted in accordance with Part 3 of Article 12 of the Federal Law on Education in the Russian Federation. In accordance with this law, educational activity is an activity carried out outside the framework of educational programs aimed at spreading knowledge, skills, values, experience and competence for the purposes of intellectual, spiritual, moral, creative, physical and (or) professional development of a person, satisfaction of his educational needs and interests, affecting relations regulated by Federal Law on Education and other legislative acts of the RF. The Decree establishes the procedure, conditions and forms for the implementation of educational outreach activities. It also defines the forms of educational outreach activity, the requirements for the person carrying it out and for educational programs, as well as procedure of conducting control over educational outreach activities executed by the Ministry of Public Education (MPE). The forms of educational activities are defined as follows: lectures, presentations, seminars, master classes, round tables, discussions and other forms, including using the information and Internet telecommunication network, i.e. any public dissemination of information. The Decree provides for additional requirements for certain persons, namely: 1) The messages and materials of the organizer of educational activities included in the FA Registries distributed in the territory of the RF are accompanied by an indication that these messages and materials were created and (or) distributed by a person performing the functions of a foreign agent. The text of the instruction will be determined by the MPE. 2) The organizer of educational outreach activities, carrying out educational outreach activities in relation to minors and with the involvement of funds from the budgets of the budgetary system of the RF, notifies the MPE about the planned implementation of educational outreach activities by preparing and presenting an educational program no later than 30 working days before the expected start date of its implementation. The form and procedure for sending such notification will be determined by the authorized federal executive authority. The program of educational activities must reflect the goals, objectives, terms, forms and place of its implementation, target audience, information about the organizer of educational outreach activities and persons participating in the implementation of the program, sources of financing of the program in the amount of information determined by the authorized federal executive body. The submitted documents can be sent for examination, in case of a discrepancy between the requirements or a violation of the law, no later than 5 days before the start of the program, the MPE returns the documents and requires revision or goes to court in connection with a violation of criminal or administrative law. The rules for the implementation of educational activities do not apply to cultural and educational outreach activities of religious organizations; educational outreach activities of teaching staff of educational organizations in the framework of their official duties in relation to the students of these organizations, their parents (legal representatives). Control over the implementation of educational outreach activities is carried out by the MPE without interaction with the organizer of educational outreach activities, so the organization may not be aware of the conduct of control measures.
  • Two Federal laws on the exclusion from the Russian legislation of the norms concerning the possibility of applying to the European Court of Human Rights and the execution of its decisions were signed on July 11, 2022 (Federal Law No. 183-FZ of June 11, 2022, on Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation and Recognizing Certain Provisions of Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation as Invalid and Federal Law No. 180-FZ of June 11, 2022, on Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation). These laws amended a number of laws of the Russian Federation, excluding the rules on the representation of the Russian Federation in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), guarantees of the right of suspects, accused and convicted persons to apply to the ECtHR, as well as on the accounting and enforcement of decisions of the ECtHR, including when the courts review decisions and sentences. As a result of the adoption of the law: the activities of the ECtHR, its decisions and established practice will in no way be taken into account by the Russian judicial system when making or reviewing decisions and sentences; compensation awarded by the ECtHR cannot be paid; and suspected, accused or convicted persons who are in investigative or correctional institutions cannot be granted meetings with defense lawyers in connection with an application to the ECtHR. Listed here are the changes in specific laws: 1) The provisions on ensuring by the Prosecutor General’s Office the representation and protection of the interests of the Russian Federation in the ECtHR have been excluded from the Federal Law No. 2202-1 of January 17, 1992, on the Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation. 2) The provision on granting suspects and accused persons, on the basis of written permission of the person or body in charge of the criminal case, meetings with their representatives to the ECtHR and persons providing them with legal assistance in connection with the intention to apply to the ECtHR, is excluded from the Federal Law No. 103-FZ of July 15, 1995, on the Detention of Suspects and Accused of Committing Crimes. Also, provisions on the possibility of sending proposals, complaints and applications to the ECtHR by suspects and accused persons are excluded from this law. 3) The provisions on the transfer of proposals, petitions and complaints to the ECtHR of persons sentenced to arrest, detention in a disciplinary military unit, deprivation of liberty, the death penalty, as well as the provisions on providing convicts (including convicted military personnel) meetings with representatives of the ECtHR, persons providing legal assistance to convicts in connection with the intention to apply to the ECtHR are excluded from the Criminal Executive Code of the Russian Federation. 4) The provision that the amount of compensation is determined by the court taking into account the practice of the ECtHR is excluded from the Federal Law No. 68-FZ of April 30, 2010, on Compensation for Violation of the Right to Legal Proceedings within a Reasonable Time or the Right to Enforce a Judicial Act within a Reasonable Time. 5) The provision that the reasoning part of the court decision should contain references to the rulings and decisions of the ECtHR has been excluded from the Code of Administrative Procedure of the RF. 6) In the Arbitration Procedure Code of the Russian Federation and the Civil Procedure Code of the Russian Federation, from the list of new circumstances that are the basis for the review of judicial acts and decisions, the violation of the provisions of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms established by the ECtHR when considering a specific case by the court is excluded, in connection with the adoption of a decision on which the applicant applied to the ECtHR. 7) The norms on the revision of the sentence, ruling and court decision that have entered into force in connection with the violation of the provisions of the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms established by the ECHR when considering a criminal case by the court of the  RF are excluded from the Criminal Procedure Code of the RF. 8) The rulings of the ECtHR, which entered into force after March 15, 2022, are not enforceable in the Russian Federation. 9) Payment of monetary compensation under the ECtHR resolutions, which entered into force before March 15, 2022 inclusive, is made exclusively in rubles to accounts in Russian credit institutions and cannot be made to accounts in foreign credit institutions located in foreign countries that commit unfriendly actions against the RF. 10) The law contains a reservation that, in order to enforce the rulings of the ECtHR, which entered into force until March 15, 2022 inclusive, the excluded legislative norms may continue to be applied by the courts. Both Federal laws entered into force on June 11, 2022, with the exception of certain provisions concerning the payment of compensation by the Prosecutor General’s Office, which came into force on January 1, 2023.
  • On July 14, a series of Federal laws related to all Russian legal entities and individuals was signed, their character can be determined as neutral, but they present certain difficulties during re-adaptation period for everybody, specifically: A package of seven Federal laws related to the merger of two funds – the Pension Fund of the RF and the Social Insurance Fund – into a single Fund of Pension and Social Insurance of the RF. The main laws of the package are: Federal law No. 236-FZ of July 14, 2022, on the Pension and Social Insurance Fund of the Russian Federation (entered into force on July 14, 2022 with the exception of certain provisions that entered into force on January 1, 2023); Federal Law No. 238-FZ of July 14, 2022, on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (entered into force on January 1, 2023); and Federal law No. 240-FZ of July 14, 2022, on Amendments to the Labor Code of the Russian Federation (entered into force on January 1, 2023). For NCOs, as well as for all other legal entities, the difficulty is the need to rebuild the already established mechanisms for interaction with non-budgetary funds, to understand the new differences between an employment contract and a civil law contract, with the taxation of payments by insurance premiums, and new reporting.
  • Federal Law No. 255-FZ of July 14, 2022, on Control over Activities of Persons Under Foreign Influence entered into force on December 1, 2022. The Law significantly worsened the regulation of FAs and created new grounds for including persons (including legal entities) in the registries of FAs. All provisions on FAs in other laws cease to have effect at the time of the Law coming into effect. The main changes to the current legislation on FAs provided for by the Law are the following: 1) Russian and foreign commercial legal entities will be added to the list of persons (including entities) that can be assigned the status of a FA. Up to December 1, 2022, Russian commercial organizations, such as limited liability companies (LLCs), couldn’t be recognized as FAs as well as foreign legal entities. As a result of the adoption of the Law, any individual or legal entity, with the exception of Russian state ones, may be recognized as a FA. 2) New registry of “affiliated” persons is to be created. A person affiliated with a FA is defined as a person who is (was) a member of the governing body of legal entity-FA (or unregistered public association-FA) and /or its founder, member, participant, manager or staff, who carries political activity and receives assets from a FA, including through intermediary, for the purpose of carrying political activity. There are no requirements for “affiliated” persons. 3) List of foreign sources is expanded to include foreign structures without legal entity status (probably affiliate and representative offices of foreign legal entities and projects of specific organizations). 4) Recognition as a FA will no longer require foreign funding. “Being under foreign influence” is enough to be recognized as a FA. A new definition of the concept of “foreign influence” was introduced: “providing support from a foreign source to a person and (or) influencing a person, including by coercion, persuasion and (or) in other ways,” which will cause any legal entity and individual to be assigned the status of FAs. Before the adoption of this law, the narrower definition of this term applies only to individuals, but not to the media, NCOs and others. 5) In addition to the existing prohibitions and restrictions for FAs, the Law proposed to introduce new ones: prohibition to take part in the activities of commissions, committees, consultative, advisory, expert and other bodies formed under public authorities; prohibition to carry out teaching, educational and educational outreach activities to minors; prohibition of release of information products for minors; prohibition to act as a supplier (contractor, implementor) in the procurement of goods, works, services to meet state or municipal needs; ban on receiving state financial support; ban on insurance of funds invested by FAs (with the exception of individuals) or in their favor; ineligibility to apply the simplified taxation system; ineligibility to apply simplified accounting (financial) statements; and prohibition of investing in business entities of strategic importance that ensure the defense of the country and the security of the state. Of this list, the most financially significant is the ban on the use of the simplified taxation system. Most LLCs created by activists after the liquidation of NCOs are using a simplified taxation system. For them, recognition of an LLC as a FA means paying a much higher tax (20% income tax and 20% VAT on the sale of services instead of the only tax of 6% on gross income received) and filing more complex tax returns. However, by February 10, 2024, no correlating legislative acts in FA taxation system were submitted or adopted. Responsibilities are unified and new responsibilities are added for all types of FAs: a FA is obliged to disclose its status as an FA when carrying out political activities and collecting information in the military and military-technical spheres, including if, in the course of carrying out such activities, an appeal is sent to state authorities, educational organizations, other bodies and organizations; a FA is obliged to disclose its status as an FA to its founders (participants), beneficiaries, and employees; it is not clear what material labeling requirements are to be applied to all FAs (whether it will be those that currently apply only to foreign mass media outlets-FAs, or other); special requirements are established by the MoJ in implementing regulations; special requirements are established by the MoJ in implementing regulations; and all types of FAs that do not have the status of a legal entity will be required to establish a Russian legal entity to distribute printed, audio, audiovisual and other messages and materials intended for an unlimited number of persons. Before the adoption of this law, such a requirement applied only to individuals, foreign mass media or foreign organizations that do not have the status of a Russian legal entity and that are recognized as performing the functions of a FA in accordance with the Law “On Mass Media”. A single list of grounds for exclusion from the registry of FAs is introduced for all types of FAs. It is also proposed to reduce the period for the MoJ to make a decision on exclusion from the registry of FAs from 90 to 60 days.
  • Federal Law No. 260-FZ of July 14, 2022, on Amendments to the Criminal Code of the RF and the Code of Criminal Procedure of the RF entered into force on July 14, 2022, with the exception of certain provisions effective from January 1, 2023. The law provides for multiple amendments mainly to the Criminal Code (including, for example, organization of an illegal armed formation or participation in it; violation of the rules for centralized management of technical means of countering threats to the stability, security and integrity of the operation in the territory of the RF of the Internet information and telecommunication network and the public communication network; attributing to high treason the transition to the side of the enemy; cooperation on a confidential basis with a foreign state, international or foreign organization punished with imprisonment for a term of 3 to 8 years; expansion of the list of actions falling under the definition of espionage; violation of requirements for the protection of state secrets will be punished with imprisonment for up to 3 years; under the article Mercenary, the term of punishment in the form of imprisonment is increased by 2 or more times; etc.) However, the most negative for NCOs are the following amendments provided by this law: a new article 280.4 “Public calls to carry out activities directed against the security of the state” is introduced (imprisonment for a term of 2 to 4 years); a new article 282.4 is introduced “Repeated propaganda or public demonstration of Nazi paraphernalia or symbols, or paraphernalia or symbols of extremist organizations, or other paraphernalia or symbols, the propaganda or public display of which is prohibited by federal laws” (imprisonment for up to 4 years); and article 284.1 (Carrying out the activities of a foreign or international non-governmental organization, in respect of which a decision has been made to recognize its activities as undesirable on the territory of the RF) is amended, from now on, persons participating in the activities, financing or organizing the activities of an “undesirable” organization will be brought to criminal responsibility not only for their activities in the territory of the  RF (as in the previous version of the article said), but also abroad. As the previous law enforcement practice shows, human rights activists can be easier brought to responsibility under the new articles of the Criminal Code 280.4 and 282.4 due to the vagueness of their wordings. And for the leaders, members (participants) and employees of NCOs, the risk of being held criminally liable under Art. 284.1 of the Criminal Code (deprivation of liberty for a term of 1 to 4 years), since the crime constitutes participation in the activities of an “undesirable” organization not only in the territory of the RF, but also abroad.
  • Federal law No. 261-FZ of July 14, 2022, on the Russian Movement of Children and Youth entered into force on July 14, 2022. The law provides for the creation of the Russian movement of children and youth (hereinafter referred to as the Movement), determine its legal status, goals, organizational and property bases of activity. In accordance with the law, the goals of the Movement being created are the following: to promote the implementation of state policy in the interests of children and youth; assistance in the upbringing of children, their professional orientation, organization of leisure for children and youth; creation of equal opportunities for the comprehensive development and self-realization of children and youth; preparation of children and young people for a full life in society, including the formation of their worldview, the development of socially significant and creative activity in them, and other socially useful goals. The Movement being created will have structural subdivisions in the regions, municipalities, as well as on the basis of individual educational organizations. Participation in the movement is expected both for individuals (participants-student, participants-mentors), and for collective participants (registered public associations and other NCOs of the organizational and legal forms specified in the law).
  • Federal law No. 262-FZ of July 14, 2022, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in Connection with the Adoption of the Federal Law on the Russian Movement of Children and Youth entered into force on July 14, 2022. The law provides for amendments to a number of laws in connection with the creation of the Russian Movement of Children and Youth, in particular: Federal Law No. 82-FZ of May 19, 1995, on Public Associations (technical amendments related to the legal status of the movement being created), Federal Law No. 98-FZ of June 28, 1995, on State Support for Youth and Children Public Associations (technical amendments related to state support for the movement being created), Federal Law No. 124-FZ of July 24, 1998, on Basic Guarantees of Rights of the Child in the  RF (technical amendments related to the legal status of the movement being created), Federal Law No. 120-FZ of June 24, 1999, on the Basics of the System for the Prevention of Neglect and Juvenile Delinquency (technical amendments related to the legal status of the movement being created), Federal Law No. 273-FZ of December 29, 2012, on Education in the RF (technical changes related to the legal status of the movement being created).
  • Federal Law No. 263-FZ of July 14, 2022, on Amendments to Parts One and Two of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation established the legal basis for the application of a single tax account for the payment of taxes (in accordance with Federal Law No. 379-FZ of November 29, 2021, from July 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022, organizations could voluntarily participate in an experiment on the procedure for applying a single tax payment.), fees and insurance premiums by organizations, including non-profit organizations, individual entrepreneurs and individuals. It entered into force on January 1, 2023. The amendments to the Tax Code are aimed at simplifying the procedure for paying taxes, fees and insurance contributions to the budget system and improving tax administration. The changes do not affect issues related to the procedure for calculating taxes. Instead of the current obligation for taxpayers to fill in a large number of payment orders with a huge number of details, the institution of a single tax account is being introduced. Each taxpayer has a single tax account opened with the Federal Treasury. Taxpayers are required to transfer a single tax payment to this account, indicating in the payment order only two details – the payment amount and individual taxpayer number. The current deadlines for paying taxes, fees and insurance premiums are subject to change, all payments are subject to be made on the 28th of each month. An organization and an individual entrepreneur are required to pay all taxes and fees (with the exception of state duty, tax on professional income, fees for the use of wildlife objects) in a single tax payment, including personal income tax for employees; advance tax payments; insurance premiums; penalties, fines and interest accrued by the tax authority. The amount of money that the organization or individual entrepreneur as a whole must pay to the budget is the total responsibility of the taxpayer. The tax authorities independently set off the single tax payment against the fulfillment by the payer of the obligations to pay taxes. From the unified tax account, the tax authorities, on the basis of the information (documents) they have, notifications submitted by organizations on the calculated amounts of taxes, advance payments on taxes, insurance premiums, independently offset funds against the payment of mandatory payments in accordance with the established order. In the first place – arrears (starting from the earliest moment of its detection), in the second – upcoming payments on taxes and contributions, in the third – penalties, in the fourth – interest, in the fifth – fines. Notifications of the organization will have to be submitted to the tax authority in the form and format approved by the Federal Tax Service. The amounts of a single tax payment transferred to a single tax account that exceed the total amount of taxes payable are at the disposal of the taxpayer and can be returned to him on the current account or credited against taxes of another person at the request of such a taxpayer. The introduction of paying taxes through a single tax account reduces the costs of entities involved in settlement and cash transactions, the time for processing settlement documents, the number of documents generated by the tax authority for balancing settlements for different types of payments (offsets, clarifications of payments), and will also provide clear and simple the state of the payer’s settlements with the budget with a minimum number of errors both on the part of the payers and the tax authorities.
  • Federal Law No. 277-FZ of July 14, 2022, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation entered into force on July 14, 2022. This law provides for the following amendments: A new article (56.2) is introduced into the Law of the Russian Federation on the Mass Media, giving the Prosecutor General (his deputies) the authority to suspend the activities of the media, invalidate the registration of the media or terminate the broadcasting license. A list of 6 types of information is fixed, the dissemination of which by the media can serve as a basis for the prosecutor to take the above measures, namely: unreliable socially significant information that poses a threat to life, health, the functioning of life support facilities, etc.; unreliable information about the armed forces and government agencies outside the Russian Federation; unreliable information about the measures taken to protect the population and territories; information that offends human dignity, society, state symbols, authorities; information aimed at discrediting the armed forces and government agencies; and information calling for unauthorized public events and justification of extremist activity. In accordance with the amendments to the Federal law of December 28, 2012 No. 272-FZ on Measures of Influence on Persons Involved in Violations of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the Russian Federation, it is proposed to give the Prosecutor General (his deputies) the right to make a decision to ban (restrict) the activities of a foreign mass media registered on the territory of such a foreign state and distributing its products in the territory of the Russian Federation, as a response to the ban (restriction) of the activities of the Russian media in the territory of a foreign state. Thus, Prosecutor General can now ban foreign news media in response to “hostile” actions taken against Russian media outlets abroad. The new law also allows the Prosecutor General to revoke any outlet’s media license for disseminating “publicly significant information” deemed illegal or dangerous, or information “expressing clear disrespect for the state.” First time offenders may face a three-month suspension rather than losing their media licenses right away. Journalists will also be held liable for republishing information that “discredits the use of the army” or contains calls for street protests.
  • Federal law No. 279-FZ of July 14, 2022, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation and on the Suspension of Certain Provisions of the Federal Law on the Procedure for the Formation and Use of Endowments of Non-Commercial Organizations came into force from July 14, 2022, except for some provisions that come into force from January 1, 2026. The law provides for the following: the rule obliging NCOs – owners of the endowments to disband the endowment capital in cases of a decrease in the value of the net assets of the endowment for three reporting years by more than 30 percent (or by the results of one reporting year by more than 50 percent) is suspended; the maximum amount of interest from the amount of donation and income from endowment, which can be used by the specialized endowment fund management for administrative and management expenses, is increased from 5 to 10 percent, from 10 to 25 percent, from 15 to 30 percent, respectively; NCOs will have the possibility not to use the income from the trust management of property constituting the endowment capital for its intended purpose, but to fully reinvest it in the “body” of the endowment. The measures proposed by the law are temporary, they are expected to be valid until January 1, 2026, this is due to the current political and economic situation in the country. However, these changes will have a positive impact on the activities of NCOs – owners of the endowments in conditions of instability. First, they will help cover the increasing administrative and management costs that the Specialized Fund may incur. Secondly, they will prevent the forced dissolution of the endowments, which contributes to their preservation and is aimed at observing the interests of their beneficiaries. Thirdly, they contribute to the increment of the “body” of endowment capital, which is important in conditions of high volatility and instability in the economy.
  • Federal Law No. 290-FZ of July 14, 2022, on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses and Article 1 of the Federal Law on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation came into force on July 25, 2022. This law provides for the following: a warning is applied as a form of punishment for the first administrative offense committed to all subjects of offenses; in the case of voluntary prevention of harmful consequences or compensation for harm caused by an offense, the guilty person may be fined only in the minimum amount; the possibility of paying a fine in half within 20 days for violations identified in the course of state control (supervision); and a ban on the consideration of a case on an administrative offense by the same person who conducted the inspection or initiated administrative proceedings on the case. The amendments proposed by the law reduce the burden of administrative fines in case of NCOs committing administrative offenses.
  • Federal Law No. 303-FZ of July 14, 2022, on Amendments to Article 265-10 of the Code of Administrative Procedure of the Russian Federation and Articles 13 and 15 of the Federal Law on Counteracting Extremist Activity entered into force on July 14, 2023, except for certain provisions that entered into force on July 14, 2022. The law proposes to consolidate the obligation of the MoJ to create and determine the procedure for maintaining a database of extremist materials, in which a copy of the decision received from the court on recognizing information materials as extremist and extremist materials will be entered. The database of extremist materials will be maintained in parallel with the publicly available Federal List of Extremist Materials, which has been maintained since 2004, containing a brief description of materials recognized as extremist. The new database includes the materials themselves, recognized as extremist, but access to it is only be available to officials of the bodies involved in countering extremist activities, in accordance with their competence. In addition, Article 15 of the Federal Law on Countering Extremist Activity, which provides that “in order to ensure state and public security, on the grounds and in accordance with the procedure provided for by federal law, a person who participated in the implementation of extremist activity may be restricted by a court decision access to state and municipal service, military service under contract and service in law enforcement agencies, as well as to work in educational organizations and engage in private detective and security activities,” the law provides to supplement this list with a restriction for a person involved in the activities of an extremist or terrorist organization to be elected on the grounds and in accordance with the procedure established by the Russian legislation on elections. The same Article 15 is supplemented with new parts 6-9, which provide for the empowerment of the MoJ to create and maintain a unified register of information about persons involved in the activities of an extremist or terrorist organization. This register is proposed to be created for the purpose of conducting by the MoJ, at the request of election commissions, verification of the accuracy of the information provided by candidates in accordance with the Russian legislation on elections. Information about an individual who was a founder, member of a collegial governing body, head, deputy head, head of a regional or other structural unit, deputy head of a regional or other structural unit, participant, member, employee of an extremist or terrorist organization or other person, whose involvement in the activities of an extremist or terrorist organization has been established by a court decision that has entered into legal force, is subject to inclusion in the unified register. The information necessary for maintaining the register will be provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Rosfinmonitoring, the Federal Tax Service, the Pension Fund, and the prosecution authorities. So, if an NCO is recognized as an extremist or terrorist organization (which is becoming more common), its founders, members of the collegiate governing body, head (deputy), participant, member, employee will be limited the right to be elected in accordance with the election legislation.
  • Federal Law No. 340-FZ of July 14, 2022, on Amendments to Article 2 of the Federal Law on Charitable Activities and Volunteering entered into force on July 25, 2022. The law has supplemented the list of goals of charitable and voluntary activities with two new objectives. The updated list includes the following objectives: participation in the liquidation of emergency situations and their consequences, prevention and extinguishing of fires, carrying out emergency rescue operations; and participation of citizens in the search for missing persons. It should be noted that the current legislation already regulates the possibility and limits (mainly for preventive purposes) of the participation of public associations in emergency situations (Federal law No. 68-FZ of December 21, 1994, on the Protection of the Population and Territories from Natural and Man-Made Emergencies) and in the field of fire safety, emergency rescue operations (Federal law No. 100-FZ of May 6, 2011, on Voluntary Fire Protection). The initiators of the law believe that the recognition of this activity as volunteering makes it possible to take advantage of additional support measures established at the federal, regional and local levels in accordance with the Federal Law on Charitable Activities and Volunteering. However, the government noted that the law may lead to the need to additional budgetary allocations, including for the training and equipment of volunteers, from the budgets of the budgetary system of the RF.
  • Order of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation of October 14, 2022, No. 559 “On approval of the requirements for the format of information submitted about non-commercial organizations for inclusion in the register of socially oriented non-commercial organizations” was registered and published of November 11, 2022. The Order defines the requirements for the format of information about NCOs submitted by federal executive authorities, executive authorities of the constituent entities of the RF, organizations authorized to provide grants from the President of the RF for inclusion in the Register of Socially Oriented Non-Commercial Organizations (SONCO Register).
  • Federal Law No. 393-FZ of October 7, 2022, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Non-Commercial Organizations supplemented Article 10 of the Federal Law No. 7-FZ of January 12, 1996, on Non-Commercial Organizations (regulating the legal basis for the activities of autonomous non-commercial organizations – ANO) with a new paragraph 4.1, which states that a major transaction can be made by ANO only with the prior consent of the founders (founder) or the collegiate supreme governing body of the ANO in the manner prescribed by the constituent documents of the ANO, if its settlement accounts have unused funds from the budgets of the budget system of the Russian Federation by the time the major transaction is approved. These changes apply only to ANOs, whose activities use funds from the budgets of the budget system of the RF, while for the majority of NCOs registered in the legal form of ANOs, major transactions seem unlikely.
  • Federal Law No. 394-FZ of October 7, 2022, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Charitable Activities and Volunteering supplemented the List of goals of charitable activities (clause 1, article 2) with two new sub-clauses: assistance in the provision of medical care in organizations providing medical care; and assistance to internal affairs bodies (police) and other law enforcement agencies in the protection of public order in accordance with the legislation of the RF. Support for a volunteer in the form of insurance of his life or health, as well as compensation for harm to life and health caused in the course of voluntary (volunteer) activities, is singled out in a separate subparagraph, which is supplemented by the right to reimbursement of expenses incurred by a volunteer for insurance of his life or health. Compensation is paid at the expense of the federal budget if harm to the life or health of a volunteer is caused in the course of the following types of voluntary activities: participation in the liquidation of emergency situations and their consequences, the prevention and extinguishing of fires, the conduct of emergency rescue operations, as well as the provision of assistance to victims of natural disasters, environmental, industrial or other disasters, social, national, religious conflicts, victims of repression, refugees and forced settlers; assistance in providing citizens suffering from diseases that pose a danger to others, medical care in organizations providing medical care; and participation in the search for missing persons, including the provision of assistance to the internal affairs bodies (police) and other law enforcement agencies in the search for missing persons. Compensation is awarded if harm has been caused to the life or health of a volunteer, information about which is contained in a unified information system in the field of volunteerism development. The amount, procedure and conditions for the appointment and payment of compensation are established by the Government of the RF. The law came into force on January 1, 2023.

 

Pending NGO Legislative / Regulatory Initiatives

Pending legislative initiatives include the following in chronological order:

  • Draft Federal Law on Amendments to Article 427 of Part Two of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation was developed by the Ministry of Economic Development (the MoED) and posted for public discussion on November 18 and November 25, 2022. It is proposed to amend Article 427 of the Tax Code in order to expand the list of taxpayers entitled to apply reduced rates of insurance premiums, and include SONCOs using the simplified tax system and included in the SONCO register, centralized religious organizations, religious organizations that are part of the structure of centralized religious organizations, SONCOs founded by centralized religious organizations or religious organizations that are part of the structure of centralized religious organizations. This draft was not yet submitted to the State Duma as of February 10, 2023
  • Draft Federal Law on Amendments to the Federal Law on the Procedure for the Formation and Use of Endowment Capital of Non-Commercial Organizations was developed by the MoED and posted for public discussion on May 25, 2023. The proposed amendments are designed to solve a number of problems and difficulties existing in the application of 275-FZ, as well as to simplify the activities of NCOs – owners of endowment capital. The project involves fixing the content of the financial plan in the law, increasing the scope of activities of specialized funds, expanding the sources of formation and replenishment of the endowments, increasing the period for transferring real estate to trust management, empowering the Board of Trustees of a non-specialized fund with the functions of a council for the use of the endowment and other changes.
  • Draft Federal Law on Amendments to Article 31.2 of the Federal Law on Non-Commercial Organizations was developed by the MoED and posted for public discussion on June 7, 2023. The draft law proposes to merge various registers formed by federal executive authorities (‎10 registers), executive bodies of the subjects of the Russian Federation (254 registers), local governments (‎1,019 registers) into a single register posted on the website of the MoED. The proposed changes as positive, since a unified register of SONCOs-recipients of support will allow state authorities, citizens, and organizations to have quick access to complete information on the measures provided to support SONCOs, which will increase the transparency of the non-profit sector, and also form an analytical base for improvement of government measures to support NCOs.
  • Draft Federal Law on Amendments to Article 31.1 of the Federal Law on Non-Commercial Organizations was developed by the MoED and posted for public discussion on June 19, 2023. The draft law proposes to supplement paragraph 9 of Article 31.1 of the Federal Law on Non-Commercial Organizations with norms on the pre-emptive right of SONCOs to conclude lease agreements for a new term.
  • Draft Federal Law No. 385290-8 on Amendments to Article 41 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation regarding the Possibility of Fixing Measures to Support Volunteer and Charitable Activities in the Collective Agreement was submitted to the legislative body on June 21, 2023, by a group of deputies. It proposes to enshrine “support for volunteer and charitable activities” as an obligation of employees in the collective agreement; support measures are not specified in the draft law. It represents an attempt to include commercial organizations in the area of activity specific exclusively to the non-commercial sector – volunteer activity. The draft law passed the first reading on October 19, 2023, the second reading postponed indefinitely.
  • Draft Federal Law on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation Country developed by the MoJ was posted for public discussion on November 2, 2023. It provides for changes to the procedure for submitting reports of public associations and NCOs including charitable organizations to the MoJ, namely, it is proposed to unify the reporting procedure for public associations and NCOs. Draft law proposes to fix the obligation of the electronic form of the report; to exclude the right of NCOs whose founders (participants, members) are not foreign citizens and (or) organizations or stateless persons, as well as those who did not have receipts of property and funds from foreign sources during the year, if the receipts of property and funds during the year amounted to up to three million rubles, submit to the MoJ a statement confirming their compliance with the above criteria, and information in free form about the continuation of their activities; and exclude the obligation of NCOs to annually post on the Internet or provide the media for publication with a message about the continuation of their activities.
  • Draft Federal Law on Amendments to the Federal Law on Charity and Volunteering and to the Federal Law on State Control (Supervision) and Municipal Control in the Russian Federation was developed by the MoED and posted for public discussion on December 1, 2023 (with several earlier developed versions abandoned). The draft law proposes unification of reporting deadlines for charitable organizations with all NCOs; extending to SONCOs the requirements for the frequency and timing of state inspections established for small and medium-sized businesses (with the exception of inspections by the MoJ).
  • Draft Federal Law on Amendments to Certain Legislative acts of the Russian Federation (regarding licensing of activities for the provision of social services in the stationary form of social services) was posted for public discussion on February 9, 2024, by the Ministry of Labor of Russia (a new version of the previously posted draft) for public discussion. For NCOs that have not taken measures to bring the premises in which social services are provided in a stationary form into compliance with mandatory requirements, the load will increase significantly, and for citizens receiving services in this form, the changes made will be positive in connection with ensuring their safety hospital stay. It is worth noting that obtaining a license for such activities will also increase the burden on the NCO, due to the need to bring the charter into compliance with the requirements of the law, the collection and preparation of certain documents, and the availability of special personnel at the NCO.
  • Draft Federal law No. 549382-8 on Amendments to Certain Legislative acts of the Russian Federation was submitted to the Stated Duma on February 12, 2024. The first reading is scheduled for May 2024. The draft provides for the possibility of recognition activities of a foreign or international organization “undesirable” on the territory of the Russian Federation, the founders (participants) of which are government bodies of a foreign state.
  • Draft Federal law No. 551871-8 on Amendments to Paragraph 1 of Article 2 of the Federal Law on Charitable Activities and Volunteering was submitted to the State Duma on February 14, 2024. It proposes replacing the wording “promoting the strengthening of the prestige and role of the family in society” in the list of charitable goals with “assistance in preserving, strengthening and promoting traditional Russian spiritual and moral values, including the value of a strong family, marriage as a union of a man and a woman, and large families.” The proposed change will not have a significant impact on the activities of charities, since it only further expands the already vague wording.
  • Draft Federal law No. 555136-8 on Amendments to Article 31.1 of the Federal Law on Non-Commercial Organizations submitted to the State Duma on February 16, 2024, proposes to include in the list of activities of SONCOs “providing assistance to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in solving certain problems in the interests of the security and defense capability of the state,” which will allow more NCOs to obtain SONCO status and qualify for government support.
  • Draft Federal law No. 554509-8 on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation (in terms of expanding the mechanisms for protecting the interests of municipalities, local governments and their officials when interacting within the framework of a unified system of public authority) submitted to the State Duma on February 16, 2024, proposes to add a new type to the list of activities of SONCOs: “representation and protection of the interests of local governments and municipalities in public authorities; collection, study and replication of best practices in solving local issues and organizing municipal government.” Expanding the types of activities of SONCO will allow NCOs operating in the field of local self-government development to obtain such status and qualify for state support.
  • Draft Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation “On amendments to the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of December 30, 2012, No. 1478” developed by the Ministry of Economic Development was posted for public discussion on March 15, 2024. The draft is aimed at simplifying and clarifying the rules for the provision of non-residential premises for SONCO, including providers of public benefit services.
  • Draft Federal law No. 578685-8 on Amendments to Certain Legislative acts of the Russian Federation was submitted to the State Duma on March 19, 2024, and proposes to introduce the institution of “mentoring” into the field of prevention of juvenile delinquency, while FAs will not have the right to participate in activities to prevent neglect and juvenile delinquency.
  • Draft Federal Law on Amending Federal Law on Non-Commercial Organizations developed by the MoJ was posted for public discussion on March 22, 2024. The draft proposes to introduce a new article 15.1 regulating the registration of NCOs whose founder (participant) is the Russian Federation. NCOs created in the organizational and legal form of a public benefit foundation, an autonomous non-profit organization, a public organization, a social movement, the founder (participant) of which is the Russian Federation, will be subject to such registration. The corresponding list of these organizations will be maintained by the MoJ. The draft law will not have an impact on the activities of NCOs whose founder (participant) is not the Russian Federation.
  • Draft Federal law No. 584955-8 on Amendments to the Federal Law on Librarianship submitted to the State Duma by a group of deputies on March 27, 2024, proposes to introduce rules, which will be approved by the Ministry of Culture, for the provision and placement by public libraries of documents created by FAs and persons included in the list of organizations and individuals in respect of whom there is information about their involvement in extremist activities or terrorism. The draft law does not directly prohibit the placement of such documents in library collections; the procedure for access to them must be established by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. The draft law also provides for a delayed effective date of September 1, 2024.
  • Draft Federal law No. 585970-8 on Amendments to the Federal Law on Public Associations submitted to the State Duma on March 27, 2024, proposes to consolidate the right to association, creation, activity, reorganization and (or) liquidation of public associations [PAs] only for Russian citizens, excluding a similar right for foreign citizens and stateless persons. The draft law also proposes to establish that all created PAs are to be registered in the prescribed manner and from the moment of their creation acquire the rights of a legal entity. Foreign citizens and stateless persons are proposed to be prohibited from acting as founders, members, participants of a PA, regardless of whether a decision is made regarding them on the undesirability of their stay (residence) on the territory of the Russian Federation (as established in the current version of the law). The changes proposed by the draft law contradict Article 30 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to association and freedom of activity of PAs, since the very right of citizens to association does not imply the obligation to register a legal entity and conduct financial and economic activities.
  • Draft Rosmolodezh Order “On approval of the Procedure for identifying and operating a non-commercial organization performing the functions of a resource center for volunteering” developed by the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs (Rosmolodezh) was posted for public discussion on March 26, 2024. The draft order contains additional criteria that an organization applying to perform the functions of a resource center must meet, requirements for its head and the procedure for deciding on the selection of an organization. The selection of an organization – a volunteer resource center will be carried out by the authorized government body of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation only after agreement with the Association of Volunteer Centers. The selection criteria are such that resource centers will most likely only be state-owned NCOs.
  • Draft Federal law No. 589837-8 on Amending Article 26 of the Federal Law on Banks and Banking Activities submitted to the State Duma on April 1, 2024, “in order to increase the efficiency of regulation of the institution of FAs, taking into account current challenges to the security and sovereignty of the Russian Federation” proposes to amend part twelve of Article 26 of the Federal Law No. 395-1 of December 2, 1990, on Banks and Banking Activities, providing, among others, for the obligation of credit institutions to provide information on transactions, accounts and deposits of individuals and legal entities upon request, sent by the head (deputy head) of the territorial division of the MoJ’s regional departments exercising the functions of developing and implementing state policy and legal regulation in the field of registration of NCOs.
  • Closely related to the draft Federal law No. 549382-8, another two draft laws were submitted by to the State Duma on April 2, 2024: Draft Federal law No. 590886-8 on Amendments to Articles 4.5 and 20.33 of the Code on Administrative Offences, and Draft Federal law No. 590898-8 on Amendments to Article 284-1 of the Criminal Code that provide for expanding administrative and criminal liability in connection with the proposed expansion of the list of organizations whose activities may be considered “undesirable”.
  • Draft Federal Law No. 501159-8 on Amendments to the Federal Law on Basic Guarantees of Electoral Rights and the Right to Participate in Referendums of Citizens of the Russian Federation and certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation (regarding errors (typos) made in the preparation of documents submitted to the election commission in regarding individual candidates) submitted to the State Duma by the government on December 1, 2023, and adopted in the first reading on April 2, suddenly passed the second and the third reading on May 6 with unexpected amendments related to the ban for FAs to take part in the elections at all levels. According to the adopted amendments, the powers of FAs elected to government bodies must terminate early if they have not been removed from the FA Registry 180 days after the amendments enter into force. A candidate registered for elections cannot be included in the FA Registry; FAs are also prohibited from being election observers or proxies of candidates and electoral associations. It is expected that it would be signed into law by the end of May 2024.

Organizational Forms

On September 1, 2014, the amendments to the Civil Code entered into force, introducing a closed list of eleven organizational forms of NCOs (Item 3 Article 50 of Civil Code of the RF). The list of organizational forms includes: consumer cooperatives; public organizations; associations; organizations of realty owners; Cossack communities; communities of indigenous small population groups; foundations; institutions; autonomous non-commercial organizations; religious organizations; and public legal companies. Article 65.1 of the Civil Code divides legal entities into:

  1. corporate entities, which are those where founders, participants, and members have the right to participate in their management (that is, they gain the right of membership); and
  2. unitary entities, which are those where founders may not become participants (that is, they do not acquire the right of membership).

Public Benefit Status

NCOs may register as a charity pursuant to the Charities Law. Federal law, however, does not provide any benefits specific to registered charities. Although legislation at the regional and local levels offers tax benefits to charities, such legislation does not necessarily require the organization to be registered as a charity at the federal level. Tax benefits under Russian law are primarily tied to the support or performance of particular activities specified in the Tax Code. Registration of an NCO as a charity pursuant to the Charities Law provides the organization with a particular status and subjects the organization to heightened scrutiny, but this status does not in itself provide any unique tax benefits.

Amendments enacted to the NCO Law in April 2010 introduced the status of SONCOs (socially oriented NCOs). Under the new law, SONCOs are potentially eligible for governmental support. SONCOs engage in a broad range of activities, including traditional charitable work, the provision of free-of-charge legal aid, and the protection of human rights. As of February 10, 2024, the list of the types of “socially oriented” activities consisted of 18 types of activities, a list that is constantly expanding.

Federal Law No. 287-FZ of July 3, 2016, on Amending Federal Law on NCOs in terms of Establishing the Status of NCO – Provider of Public Benefit Services (PPBS), provides for assigning the status of “NCOs–PPBS” to some SONCOs, including those which had the special code “provision of social services” given to them during registration (ОКВЭД). The Law also provides for a procedure for the assignment and removal of this status. It specifies the priority status of such organizations, in instances of state support of NCOs.

Federal Law No. 320-FZ of November 14, 2017 on Amendments to Article 31-4 of the Federal Law on NCOs refers to assessing the quality of public benefit services by regional authorities and aims at simplifying the process for obtaining conclusions from government bodies, which are necessary for inclusion in the Registry of NCOs-PPBS.

Decree No. 57 of the Government of the RF of January 24, 2018, on Amendments to Decree No. 89 of the Russian Government of January 26, 2017, on the Register of NCOs-PPBS, entered into force on February 3, 2018. An NCO-PPBS may now apply for inclusion in the NCO-PPBS Register to the territorial body of the MoJ. An already registered NCO-PPBS may apply for an extension of the list of provided services according to a simplified procedure. Also, the deadline for considering an application for recognition of an organization as an NCO-PPBS is shortened: earlier executive bodies could increase the time for consideration of up to 60 days; the time for making changes is not more than 30 days. The Decree includes a new type of public benefit services aimed at promoting interethnic cooperation, preserving and protecting the identity, culture, languages and traditions of the Russian peoples, and the social and cultural adaptation and integration of migrants.

Federal Law No. 60-FZ of March 18, 2020, on Amendments to Articles 2 and 31-4 of the Federal Law on NCOs established a new basis for including SONCOs in the Register of SONCO-PPBS: “proper implementation of projects that provide the implementation of activities in one or more priority areas in the sphere of providing public benefit services using grants from the President of the RF aimed at the development of civil society.” The evaluation of such projects’ results are carried out by the Presidential Grants Fund. Evaluated SONCOs will not need to obtain additional opinions on the quality of their provided services.

Decree No. 906 of the Government of the RF, “On the Register of SONCOs,” June 23, 2020, provides for the procedure for maintaining the Register of SONCOs that have received grants and subsidies, performed social services, and provided public benefit services since 2017. The Register is formed by the Ministry of Economic Development (MoED) and is publicly available on the Ministry’s website. The Decree defines the list of information to be included in the Register, and the terms and procedure for entering it.

Federal Law No. 189-FZ of July 13, 2020 on the State (Municipal) Social Order for the Provision of State (Municipal) Services in the Social Sphere provides for an opportunity for legal entities, including SONCOs, to receive budget funds for the provision of social services through participation in the state procurement system. The social services provided for in the law cover only education, health care, social protection, employment, physical culture, sports, and tourism. SONCOs conducting activities in these spheres are able to receive budget funding. The Law entered into force on September 1, 2020 in selected regions and is valid until 2025.

Federal Law No. 119-FZ of April 14, 2023, on Amendments to Article 31-1 of the Federal Law on Non-Commercial Organizations provides for supplementing the SONCO support components with a new type of information support: to provide various authorities with the opportunity to provide SONCO services for the provision of computing power on servers (for example, using the government state unified cloud platform) to place large SONCO information resources on a secure telecommunications infrastructure; provide SONCOs, included in the register, with access to the website builder of the Ministry of Digital Development of Russia (“Gosweb” subsystem of the federal state information system “Unified Portal of State and Municipal Services (Functions))”. The law is aimed at the reduction of SONCOs’ expenses for technical and material support, and provision of security of the personal data of citizens working and interacting with SONCOs.

Federal Law No. 32-FZ of February 26, 2024, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Non-Commercial Organizations came into force on March 8, 2024. The law expanded the list of activities of SONCO by including into it activities in the field of family support, motherhood, paternity and childhood, organization and implementation of events that promote the development of forms of placing children without parental care in the family provided for by the legislation of the Russian Federation; and keeping animals in animal shelters.

Barriers to Entry

Russian law defines certain restrictions regarding potential founders of NCOsRegarding non-citizens, only those foreign nationals and stateless persons who are “legally domiciled in the RF” may be founders, members, or participants in PAs or NCOs. Certain persons may not become founders, members, or participants, including:

  • Foreign nationals or stateless persons whose stay is deemed “undesirable”;
  • Persons appearing on a money laundering and anti-terrorist financing watch list maintained by the Russian government;
  • Organizations that have been suspended under the Law on Countering Extremist Activities;
  • Persons found by court decision to show signs of participating in extremist activity; and
  • Persons who are currently incarcerated as a result of conviction of a crime.

PAs, such as public organizations and public foundations, by definition can be created only by natural persons. These organizations cannot be founded by legal persons, but other public organizations may join as members (Articles 18 and 19, Law on PAs). By comparison, legal persons, including commercial entities, may found all other forms of NCOs. An NCO shall be subject to state registration in compliance with the NCO Law. PAs shall be subject to state registration in compliance with the Law on PAs. The burdensome registration process for all NCO types requires a long list of documents to be submitted to the authorized governmental body. The same is true for foreign NCOs seeking to establish a branch office in Russia.

Barriers to Operational Activity

NCOs, as a rule, have virtually no restrictions on the activities they may pursue as their primary objectives, including mutual benefit activities (Article 6(1), NCO Law, and Articles 5, 8, Law on PAs). All foundations are required to engage in public benefit activities (Article 118(1), Civil CodeArticle 7(1), NCO Law, and Article 10, Law on PAs). The primary activities of institutions are broadly defined as any managerial, socio-cultural, or other activities of a not-for-profit nature (Article 120, Civil Code, Article 9, NCO Law, and Article 11, Law on PAs). Charities are required to promote at least one of the enumerated charitable activities indicated in the law (Article 2, Charities Law). Certain restrictions apply to activities of certain specialized organizations, such as political organizations and labor unions.

Articles 29 and 38 of the Law on PAs impose burdensome reporting requirements on PAs by requiring them to submit information about the funding and property they receive from foreign and international organizations and foreign persons to the registration authority. Article 32 of the NCO Law imposes reporting requirements for NCOs and requires NCOs to report on their use of funds and other assets received from both foreign and local sources. Repeated failure on the part of a PA or an NCO to timely provide the required information is grounds for the registration authority to bring a claim in court requesting a ruling that the organization terminate its activities as a legal entity, which then leads to its exclusion from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities. More recently, new electronic reporting forms for NCOs, prepared by the MoJ, have substantially simplified the reporting process.

Articles 29 and 38 of the Law on PAs and Article 32 of the NCO Law authorize governmental registration authorities to scrutinize PAs and NCOs without appropriate procedural protections. The registration authority may use the following tools to inspect the internal operations of a PA or NCO:

  • The power to summon resolutions of the organization’s governing body. The registration authority is authorized to demand documents dealing with the details of an organization’s governance, including day-to-day policy decisions, supervision of the organization’s management, and oversight of its finances.
  • The power to send representatives to an organization’s events. The Law allows the government to send a representative to all of an organization’s events, without restriction, including internal strategy sessions and grant selection meetings, for example.
  • The power to review the extent to which an organization’s activities comply with its statutory goals, including review of its expenditures and property management. The registration authority has authority to review the compliance of organizations with their goals, even if the registration authority lacks the subject matter knowledge or expertise to make a judgment on whether the particular activities comply with an organization’s goals.
  • The power to conduct scheduled or unscheduled state auditsAmendments to the NCO Law adopted on February 21, 2014 expand the list of reasons for unscheduled audits of NCOs. An NCO now may be audited if it fails to eliminate a violation identified in a written notification within the required time, if the MoJ issues an order to conduct an audit, or if a government body files an application indicating that an NCO violated the law or engaged in terrorism or extremism.

The Federal Law on Changes to Article 32 of the NCO Law from June 4, 2014 went into effect on June 6, 2014. This Law added new powers to the governmental bodies:

  • If the state body authorized to conduct audits (e.g., the MoJ) receives information from another state body, a citizen, or an organization that suggests an NCO is engaging in activity that would qualify it as an FA but is not registered as such, the state body may conduct an unscheduled audit of that NCO.
  • If the MoJ determines that an NCO is functioning as an FA, but is not on the registry of FAs, the MoJ may unilaterally place the NCO on the registry. The MoJ interprets the law and makes decisions about who is an FA at its own discretion. NCOs may appeal the MoJ’s decision in court.

Article 23 of the NCO Law also provides the registration authority with two additional supervisory powers over the branches, representative offices, and affiliates of foreign NCOs:

  1. The government can issue a written decision banning the implementation of any existing program of a branch office of a foreign NCO.  The Law does not provide any guidance with respect to the grounds on which the government may make this decision, which appear to be entirely discretionary. Upon receipt of a decision, the office of the foreign NCO must terminate the activity, and if it fails to do so, it risks exclusion from the register and liquidation of the office.
  2. The Law also allows the registration authority to issue a written decision banning the transfer by a foreign NCO’s branch, representative office, or affiliate of funds or other resources to particular recipients for the purposes of protecting the basis of the Constitutional system, morality, health, rights, and lawful interests of other persons, and with the aim of defending the country and the state security. The Law does provide foreign NCOs the right to appeal against actions taken against them by the government.

According to Federal Law No. 117 of May 2, 2015, the MoJ may draw up reports on the administrative offenses of the activities of NCOs, including the structural units of international organizations and foreign non-profit organizations, PAs, political parties, and religious organizations. This Law expanded the MoJ’s authority to penalize managers of representative offices and branches of foreign NCOs for violating provisions of the NCO Law.

Changes to the NCO Law and to the Law on PAs in 2014, which relate to NCOs performing functions of “FAs,” further increased the administrative burden on NCOs by requiring NCOs designated as “FAs” to: 1) maintain separate accounting of funds and other property generated through local and foreign sources; 2) submit activity reports on a bi-annual basis; and 3) submit reports on expenditures of funds and other property on a quarterly basis (unlike other Russian NCOs which are required to submit activities and expenditures reports annually). NCOs that are FAs are also required to pass through an annual independent audit. Reporting forms are to be determined by the authorized government agency and could be burdensome if overly complex. In addition, the Law gives the government the power to interfere in the internal operations of an NCO and to suspend their activities. These powers include that:

  • The government is able to conduct scheduled and unscheduled annual audits of NCOs-FAs and has additional grounds to conduct additional audits of the activities of NCOs.
  • The authorized government agency (e.g., Rosfinmonitoring) reviews an NCO’s activities and expenditures reports and may require submission of additional information if an NCO receives a transfer above the 100,000-ruble threshold (approximately $1500). Under the NCO Law, foreign organizations operating in Russia through registered offices are subject to the following requirements:
  • they must undergo an annual independent audit by a Russian auditing company and submit the resulting audit report to an authorized government agency (e.g., the MoJ);
  • the authorized government agency will post all such reports, as well as reports on the finances and activities of foreign organizations operating in Russia, on its website and provide them to the media; and
  • in addition to the mandatory independent audit, the authorized government agency will also have the authority to conduct its own audits of the registered offices of foreign organizations.

According to the Federal Law No. 362-FZ of October 11, 2018, on Amending Article 5 of the Federal law on Anti-Corruption Expertise of Normative Legal Acts and Drafts of Normative Legal, there is a ban on conducting independent anti-corruption expert review of normative legal acts (NLAs) and drafts of NLAs by international and foreign organizations, as well as NCOs performing the functions of an FA.

According to the Federal Law No. 407-FZ of December 2, 2019 on Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the RF with the purpose of establishing a prohibition to act as a founder (member, participant) of a NCO to persons with respect to whom a decision is adopted to freeze (block) funds or another property in connection with sufficient grounds to suspect them of involvement into terrorist activities, individuals having their assets frozen because of terrorism allegations are banned from being founders, participants, or members of NCOs. These amendments, according to the Government, help to secure the nonprofit sector against its use for financing terrorist activities. However, the criteria for making a decision on the freezing (blocking) of funds or other property lacks specification on sufficient reasons to suspect an individual’s involvement in terrorist activities. Arbitrary application of the Law is therefore possible. The Law entered into force on December 13, 2019.

According to Federal Law No. 409-FZ, of July 31, 2023, on Amendments to the Federal Law on NCOs Russian citizens are prohibited from participating in the activities in the Russian territory of affiliate or representative offices of FNCOs that have not passed the registration procedures established by law by the MoJ. Amendments to the NCO Law are supplemented with a new ground for refusing to enter an affiliate or representative office of an FNCO in the relevant register: if the affiliate or representative office of an FNCO previously entered in the register was excluded from the register within three years preceding the date of submission of the notification due to violation of the Russian legislation. The Law prohibits any participation in activities in the Russian territory of affiliate or representative offices of FNCOs that are not duly registered. Two other laws that entered into force on August 4, 2023 (Federal Law No. 412-FZ of August 4, 2023, on Amendments to the CoAO of the RF, and Federal Law No. 413-FZ of August 4, 2023, on Amendments to the Criminal Code of the RF and Articles 31 and 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the RF establish administrative and criminal liability for organizing and participating in their activities. As of February 10, 2024, the contains 66 organizations.

Barriers to Speech / Advocacy

Neither the Civil Code nor the NCO Law limits the ability of NCOs to engage in advocacy or political activities. All forms of PAs may participate in advocacy and lobbying activities. Under the law, NCOs generally may also engage in election campaigns for federal and local elections, subject to federal election laws (Article 27, Law on PAs).

Amendments to the NCO Law, relating to NCOs performing functions of an FA, however, restrict the political activities of NCOs. According to these amendments, NCOs carrying political activities and receiving foreign funding, or, even intending to do so, are required to register in a special registry, maintained by the MoJ. Such registration, and, especially, labeling as an “FA”, may result in additional administrative burdens for NCOs, as well as in damaging reputation of NCOs (the translation of “foreign agent” in Russian is perceived by the general public to mean a “foreign spy”). The threat of being labeled an FA discourages many organizations to carry out political activities.

An NCO is considered to carry out political activity, if, regardless of its statutory goals and purposes, it participates (including through financing) in organizing and implementing political actions aimed at influencing the decision-making by state bodies intended for the change of state policy pursued by them, as well as in the shaping of public opinion for the aforementioned purposes. Such activities are considered political, regardless of whether an NCO is conducting them in the interest of foreign funding sources or without such purpose. An NCO carries out political activities for the purpose of the Law if such activity takes place in the Russian territory (Article 2, the NCO Law). An NCO is considered to be carrying out political activity if it even participates in such activities organized and financed by other organizations.

Charities are expressly prohibited from using their assets to support political parties, movements, and campaigns (Article 2(2), Charities Law). In addition, religious organizations, governmental and municipal institutions, international PAs, and international movements are prohibited from making donations to candidates (Article 58 (6), Federal Law No. 19-FZ, “On RF President elections,” January 10, 2003; and Article 66 (7), Federal Law No. 175-FZ, “On RF State Duma deputies’ elections,” July 20, 2002, as amended). However, these prohibitions do not appear to extend to involvement in lobbying or other politically-related activities.

During the last several years, a number of restrictive laws related to freedom of speech have been adopted. These include, in particular:

  • Four federal laws forming what is commonly known as the “Klishas Package” (including the so-called “Fake News” law and a law on “Insulting the Authorities”) were adopted on March 18, 2019. The Laws introduced, in particular, administrative responsibility for disseminating in the media or on information and telecommunication networks deliberately unreliable, socially important information under the guise of reliable messages that create the threat of harm to life and/or the health of citizens, property, the threat of mass public disorder and/or public safety, or the threat of interfering with the functioning or interruption of the operation of life-support objects, transport or social infrastructure, credit institutions, energy facilities, industry or communications, as well as for the dissemination of information leading to the onset of the above-mentioned consequences (new parts 9-11 of Article 13.15 of the CoAO).
  • Another Law of the “Klishas Package” established a procedure for restricting access to information, expressed in an indecent form, which offends human dignity and public morality, or expresses obvious disrespect for society, the state, official state symbols of the RF, its Constitution, or authorities exercising state power in the RF. If such information is found, the Prosecutor General or his deputies submit a request to the Roskomnadzor to take measures to remove this information and restrict access to information resources that disseminate the information if it is not deleted. The penalty is a fine in the amount of 30,000-100,000 rubles. The vagueness of the wordings creates the risk of arbitrary application of administrative norms in practice.
  • Federal Law No. 530-FZ of December 30, 2020, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection the so-called law on “censorship in social media”, entered into force on February 1, 2021. The Law introduces the concept of “the owner of a social network” on the Internet. It also provides for obligations for the owner of a social network, access to which during the day is more than 500 thousand users. The owner of the social network has to independently monitor a number of types of illegal content. This list includes, in particular, the following categories of materials:
    • information expressing clear disrespect for society, the state, its symbols, and authorities; and
    • information with calls for riots, participation in unauthorized public events, fake news, and information and links to materials of “undesirable” organizations.

Federal Law No. 538-FZ of December 20, 2020, on Amendments to Article 128-1 of the Criminal Code of the RF entered into force on January 10, 2021. The Law broadens the vague definition of “libel” crime performed under aggravative circumstances, by including into it dissemination of knowingly false information made in public, “with the use of informational-telecommunications networks, including the Internet”. The Law also substantially increases punishment for “libel,” adding to it a prison term of up to five years.

Barriers to International Contact

The Amendments to the Criminal Code define some criminal offenses in such a way that NCOs interacting with foreign organizations are especially vulnerable to criminal penalties for such offenses. Specifically, “State treason” is defined as “a deed, carried out by a citizen of the RF, damaging to the security of the RF, including espionage or passing to a foreign state, international or foreign organization or their representatives information that contains a state secret that has been entrusted and became known to the person through service, work or studies or other cases determined by Russian legislation, or providing financial material, technical, consultative or other assistance directed against security of the RF.”

From June 3, 2015, when Federal Law No. 129-FZ, “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the RF (Law on “Undesirable Organizations”),” entered into force, new administrative and criminal penalties applied to entities in violation of the Law. The administrative penalties apply if an “undesirable organization” implements its activities (Article 20.33), or if other entities participate in such activities in the Russian territory. With regard to other entities, penalties apply if they violate restrictions established under the Dima Yakovlev law (Federal Law No. 272-FZ on Measures of Influence of Persons Relating to Violation of Basic Human Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the RF). The administrative penalty for citizens is five to fifteen thousand rubles; for officials, twenty thousand to fifty thousand rubles; and for legal entities, fifty thousand to one hundred thousand rubles. After the entity has been charged with penalties for administrative offense twice in one year, it can be charged with criminal penalties. Criminal penalties can include: a fine from three hundred thousand to five hundred thousand rubles) or in the amount of the salary or other income of the offender for a period from two to three years; compulsory work for up to three hundred and sixty hours; forced labor for up to five years with or without restriction of liberty for up to two years; or deprivation of liberty from two to six years with or without deprivation of the right to occupy certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to ten years. A person who has voluntarily terminated their participation in the activity of the “undesirable” organization shall be exempted from criminal liability, unless their actions contain a different corpus delicti.

In addition to the Law on Undesirable Organizations, Federal Law No. 35-FZ of March 28, 2017 on Amendments to Part 3 of Article 3.1 of Federal Law No. 272-FZ of December 2, 2012 on Measures of Influence on Persons Involved in Violations of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Person, Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the RF, entered into force on April 8, 2017. This Law completes the list of prohibited activities for FNCOs, whose activities in Russia are recognized as “undesirable”, by adding a new activity: “5) a ban on the creation of the territory of the RF of legal entities or participation in them.” Russian officials consider the adoption of this Law as a successful attempt to close all loopholes for “undesirable” organizations to threaten the Constitution, defense, or security of Russia.

In 2020-2021, the following laws introduced further restrictions related to contacts with organizations deemed “undesirable” in the Russian territory.

Federal Law No. 530-FZ of December 30, 2020, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection (the so-called law on “censorship in social media”) entered into force on February 1, 2021, and provides, in particular, for obligations for the owner of a social network, access to which during the day is more than 500 thousand users, to monitor a number of types of illegal content, which includes information and links to materials of “undesirable” organizations.

Federal Law No. 230-FZ of June 28, 2021, on Amendments to Article 6 of the Federal Law on Counteraction to Legalization (Laundering) of Criminally Obtained Incomes and Financing of Terrorism and Article 3-1 of the Federal Law on Measures of Affecting Persons Related to Violations of Basic Human Rights and Freedoms, Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the Russian Federation (amendments to “Dima Yakovlev” law) entered into force on July 9, 2021, and expanded the list of grounds for recognizing the activities of FNCOs as “undesirable” in Russia – receipt of information about the provision of intermediary services by it when conducting transactions with monetary funds and/or other property belonging to an FNCO, whose activities are recognized as “undesirable” in the territory of Russia, in order to carry out activities by such an organization that pose a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order, defense, or security of the state. Russian citizens and Russian legal entities are prohibited from participating in the activities of an “undesirable” organizations outside Russia.

Federal Law No.232-FZ of June 28, 2021, on Amendments to the CoAO of the Russian Federation entered into force on July 9, 2021, and proposed, in particular, to strengthen administrative liability for participation in the activities of “undesirable” organizations. The amendments have expanded the effect of Article 20.33 of the CoAO, instead of “carrying out” the activities of an “undesirable” organization in the Russian territory, the composition of an administrative offense henceforth constitutes any participation in the activities of such an organization, including outside the country. According to Article 20.33 of the CoAO, the overwhelming majority of penalties are imposed on individuals.

Federal Law No. 292-FZ of July 1, 2021, on Amendments to Article 284-1 of the Criminal Code of the RF entered into force on July 12, 2023, and completed Article 284-1 of the Criminal Code, which contained one corpus delicti – criminal liability for managing the activities of an “undesirable” organization in the territory of Russia, with new three separate corpus delicti: (1) participation in any form in the activities of an “undesirable” organization; (2) providing or collecting funds or providing financial services to such an organization; and (3) organization of its activities in the Russian territory. The Law, in particular, provides for imposing jail terms for fundraising for “undesirable” organizations. The violation is punishable by compulsory labor for up to 360 hours, compulsory labor for up to four years with possible restraint of liberty for up to two years, and imprisonment for a term of one to five years.

On top of this, Russian authorities adopted restrictions on international contacts in the field of education. According to Federal Law No. 85-FZ of April 5, 2021, on Amendments to the Federal Law on Education in the RF, that entered into force on June 1, 2021, a new concept of “educational outreach activities” (in addition to the existing term “educational activities,” which requires state licensing), now also requires some prior government approval. According to the Law, any seminars, roundtables, trainings, and similar events can be classified as educational outreach activities, which is dangerous for NCOs conducting any type of training. Additionally, the adopted Law introduces restrictions on cooperation between educational institutions and foreign partners.

Federal Law No. 260-FZ of July 14, 2022, on Amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation entered into force on July 14, 2022, with the exception of certain provisions effective from January 1, 2023. The Law provides, in particular, for changes in Article 284.1 (Carrying out the activities of an FNCO, in respect of which a decision has been made to recognize its activities as “undesirable” in the territory of Russia). Now, persons participating in, financing, or organizing the activities of an “undesirable” organization can be brought to criminal responsibility not only for their activities in the territory of Russia (as in the previous version of the article said), but also abroad.

A new stage in the restriction of international contacts began after the adoption and entry into force on December 1, 2022 of the Law “on foreign influence” (Federal Law No. 255-FZ of July 14, 2022, on Control over the Activities of Persons under Foreign Influence) and a number of related federal laws and regulations. These legal acts practically banned any sort of international contact with “unfriendly” states. The List of Foreign States and Territories Performing Unfriendly Actions against the RF, Russian Legal Entities and Individuals was approved by the Decree No. 430-r of the Government of the RF, “On approval of the list of foreign states and territories committing unfriendly actions against the RF, Russian legal entities and individuals,” March 5, 2022 (amended on July 23, and October 29, 2022).

As of May 15, 2024, this list consists of 49 states, including all 27 EU member states and the United States.

Barriers to Resources

Foreign Funding

From 2020, foreign funding became practically inaccessible to the vast majority of Russian NCOs (apart from those already recognized as FAs), due to the fear of being included in the Registry of NCOs-FAs (or later, in the Unified FA Registry maintained by the MoJ since December 1, 2022).

Domestic Funding

An NCO may engage in economic activities to the extent they advance the purposes for which the organization was created, but may not pursue the generation of profit as its primary purpose (Article 50(3), Civil CodeArticles 2 and 24(2), NCO LawArticle 37, Law on PAs; and Article 12, Charities Law). Profit from the economic activities of NCOs, including charities, is generally taxed in the same manner as for commercial organizations. Lower tax rates may be offered by regional or local authorities for qualifying NCOs. Registration as a charity does not affect or limit the right of an NCO to engage in economic activities (Article 12, Charities Law).

In July 2011, the Russian Parliament adopted amendments to the Russian Tax Code that improved the taxation of NCOs. For example, NCOs no longer have to pay profit tax or value added tax (VAT) on the value of in-kind contributions (services or property rights) they receive. Moreover, the amendments extend VAT exemptions previously applied to state budget funded institutions providing social services (i.e., in the areas of culture, art, health care, education, and services to the needy) to NCOs providing the same services. In 2014, the Federal Law on Amendments to Chapter 4 of Part One of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation delimited the concepts of “entrepreneurial” and “income-generating” activities, with the latter concept now only applying to NСOs.

In addition, Russian NCOs may apply to state funding, which is important in the context of severely limited access to foreign funding. The Presidential Grants Fund for the Development of Civil Society, established on March 7, 2017 and which began operations on April 3, 2017, holds annual grant competitions. Over the 7 years of its existence, the Presidential Grants Fund has helped 47 thousand projects throughout Russia to be implemented, and the total budget of these projects amounted to 138 billion rubles. It included funds allocated by the Presidential Grants Fund based on the results of federal competitions, provided by the Presidential Grants Fund to the regions for co-financing of their competitions, as well as funds raised by the NCOs themselves. Regional government authorities also announce grant competitions, mostly in the social sphere.

Barriers to Assembly

The Constitution of the RF guarantees the freedom of assembly in Article 31: “Citizens of the Russian Federation shall have the right to assemble peacefully, without weapons, hold rallies, meetings and demonstrations, marches and pickets.”

Federal Law No. 54-FZ of June 19, 2004, on Meetings, Rallies, Demonstrations, Marches and Pickets (hereinafter The Law “On Meetings”), is the key law governing the freedom of assembly. In addition, several other laws address specific kinds of assemblies, including Federal Law No. 51-FZ of May 18, 2005, on Election of Deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the RF; Federal Constitutional Law No. F-FKZ of June 28, 2004, on referendum of the RF; and Federal Law No. 19-FZ of January 10, 2003, on Elections of the President of the RF. The holding of religious rites and ceremonies is regulated by the Federal Law No. 125-FZ of September 26, 1997, on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations (last amended on November 2, 2023).

Limitations on Eligible Organizers

Russian law allows only Russian citizens to act as event organizers; foreigners and non-citizens do not have the right to organize assemblies. In addition, the law prohibits the following persons from serving as organizers: persons recognized as incapable or partially incapable by a court and persons in a place of confinement after being convicted by the court; persons who have not been expunged of committing a crime against the foundations of the constitutional system, national security, or public security and safety, or who have more than twice received administrative penalties; and political parties, other public or religious associations, their regional branches or other subdivisions.

Advance Notification

Organizers of a public event must file advance notification with the government. The notification must contain:

  • the organizers’ full names, addresses, and phone numbers;
  • those persons authorized by the organizers to perform regulatory functions while holding the public event;
  • the goal and form, date, start and finish times, and the route of movement (including information about vehicles) of the public event;
  • the projected number of participants at the event;
  • the methods planned for ensuring public peace;
  • the need for medical assistance; and
  • confirmation if loudspeakers will be used.

The organizers of the event must submit to an executive body of the Russian territorial subdivision, or to a local self-governance body, a written notification for the public no earlier than 15 days and no later than 10 days before the scheduled event date. The Law provides for two exceptions: (1) when holding a picket by a group of persons, the notification must be submitted no less than three days before the event; and (2) notification of a picket held by one participant is not required.

The executive body or the self-governance body is not obligated to reply to any notification; the authorized body is only obligated to confirm the date, time, and receipt of the notification. However, if the body requests that the organizer change the place or time of the event, then the body must communicate this information to the organizers within three days from the date of receiving the notification. The organizer must inform the executive body or the local self-governance body whether the organizer accepts the offer to change the place or time of the event no less than three days before the event date. A refusal of the offer to change the place or time of the event is illegal, however, thus rendering the opportunity for appeal useless.

Since October 22, 2018, according to Federal Law No. 367-FZ of October 11, 2018, the organizer of a public event is obligated to inform citizens and provide a written notification to the government about the cancellation of a public event no later than one day prior to its scheduled date. This requirement is difficult to fulfill, as there are many instances when organizers of public events are forced to cancel an event due to last minute disruptions not dependent on the organizers, such as the denial of a rental for a premise one hour before a meeting. From November 11, 2018, the CoAO is supplemented by Article 20.23, which provides for administrative liability for the organizer of a public event not fulfilling its obligations to inform citizens and government bodies about a decision to cancel the public event, as well as for filing a notification for holding a public event without indicating its purpose.

Time, Place, and Manner Restrictions

Public events can be held in any location suitable for the purposes of the event as long as the location does not pose a threat to buildings or structures or other threats to the safety of the participants. However, locations where holding a public event are forbidden include: territories adjacent to hazardous production facilities; elevated roads, long distance railway lines and oil, gas, and product pipelines; territories adjacent to residences of the President of the RF, courts, and correctional institutions; and borderlands, unless a special permit from the authorized border control body is obtained. Restrictions tend to be lightened when protestors challenge policy without questioning the authority or legitimacy of the government, such as truckers who protested taxes on their vehicles by blocking the highways in 2015-2016.

When several notifications are received for different public events and different organizers in the same location, the order of holding such events is determined based on the time of submission of said notifications. Therefore, it would seem that counter-demonstrations can be held in sequence, but not simultaneously in the same place.

Responsibilities of Organizers and Participants

Russian law holds organizers and participants responsible for actions that lead to the “creation of impediments to pedestrian traffic,” the “involvement of additional police personnel and equipment,” or that “exceed the norms of occupancy of a territory.” In case of failure to satisfy obligations provided by the law, the organizer of a public event also bears civil liability for harm caused by event participants.

Federal Law No. 557-FZ of December 27, 2018, on Amending Article 20.2 of the CoAO, which entered into force on January 8, 2019, established administrative liability for involving minors in unauthorized public events.

Enforcement

Law enforcement authorities have used excessive force to disband peaceful demonstrations. In July 2016, the government created a new law enforcement structure – the National Guard – with the authority to suppress any mass action per Federal Law No. 227-FZ of July 3, 2016.

While we aim to maintain information that is as current as possible, we realize that situations can rapidly change.  If you are aware of any additional information or inaccuracies on this page, please keep us informed; write to ICNL at ngomonitor@icnl.org.

General News

The UN wants to tackle Russia’s human rights crisis. Will it? (December 2022)
In October, the United Nations appointed a special rapporteur to monitor the human rights situation in Russia. This followed a year of advocacy work by Russian human rights organizations. Russians regularly face violations of their constitutional rights, and the war on Ukraine has only exacerbated the situation.

First criminal case opened against a foreign agent because of COVID-19 fake news (April 2020) (Russian)
The Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against a foreign agent – the organization “Rus Sidiyschaya” – for publishing inaccurate material about the coronavirus. According to investigators, on April 9, the organization posted on its website a message stating that 30 prisoners in a colony in the village of Toporok in the Novgorod Region allegedly became infected with the coronavirus.

News Archive

Russian Lawmakers Expand Scope of ‘Undesirable’ Groups (October 2018)

Russia bans two foreign election-monitoring groups (March 2018)

Russia warns of additional penalties for US media (January 2018)

Duma passes first reading of bill designating individuals as foreign agent media (January 2018)

Russia gives early approval to new bill on foreign media (January 2018)

Independent Think Tank Faces Charges (September 2017)

Russia to Strike Eight Organizations Off ‘Foreign Agents’ Register (May 2017)

Russian government says foreign agent nonprofits are getting millions (May 2017)

Russian Lawmakers Target Anticorruption Group Transparency International (May 2017)

Violations and state restrictions on freedom of speech, freedom of publication, freedom of artistic creativity (May 2017)

Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia NGO put on “undesirable organizations” list (April 2017)

Russia Bans Jehovah’s Witnesses, Calling It an Extremist Group (April 2017)

Russia protests: Kremlin condemns ‘provocation’ (March 2017)

Russia Bans More International Organizations (August 2016)

Russia moves toward alarming new counter-terrorism law (June 2016)

Russia’s Bad Example (March 2016)

Targeting of NGOs Ensnares Journalist Associations (October 2015)

A Cloud over Russian Civil Society (March 2015)

“Memorial” and other groups forced to register under “foreign agents” Law (November 2014)

“Memorial” and four other groups forced to register under “foreign agents” Law
(July 2014)

Russia Quietly Tightens Reins on Internet With a ‘Bloggers Law (May 2014)

Law on ‘foreign NGOs an agents’ does not contradict Russian Constitution (April 2014)

First Ruling on Civil Suit Under ‘Foreign Agents’ Law (December 2013)

Russian General Prosecutor, Yury Chaika, Speaks on NGO inspections in St. Petersburg (July 2013)

Russian court fines NGO $13,000 under ‘foreign agent’ law (May 2013)

Kremlin Promises Information on $1B in NGO Funding (April 2013)

Leading Russian Human Rights NGOs launch challenge at European Court to ‘Foreign Agent’ Law (February 2013)

Freedom House Condemns New Restrictions on Freedom of Assembly in Moscow (January 2013)

Russia criticizes EU on human rights ahead of summit (December 2012)

Medvedev convinced civil society developing in Russia (December 2012)

USAID exit hurts Russian election watchdog (December 2012)

Internet restriction law comes into force (November 2012)

Russia’s ‘Foreign Agents’ law hit by paperwork pile-up (November 2012)

New EU Rights envoy promises to raise issues with Russia, Kazakhstan (November 2012)

Russia warns U.S. over human rights bill (November 2012)

Russia: leading NGO set to close due to funds shortfall (November 2012)

Merkel Questions Russia’s Human Rights Record (November 2012)

Transparency International refuses to comply with NCO law (November 2012)

Putin suggests some flexibility on anti-dissent laws (November 2012)

Another law in blatant violation of basic international human rights standards (October 2012)

Russia’s upper house approves law on fines for foreign agents (October 2012)

Russia’s NGO Law will inevitably result in a contraction of space and opportunity for NGOs (October 2012)

Rights group says its researcher in Moscow is threatened (October 2012)

Russia’s troublesome “traditional values” resolution (October 2012)

USAID shutdown in Russia will hurt civil society (September 2012)

Kremlin evicts USAID from Russia in blow to ‘reset’ (September 2012)

Russia demands USAID halt work (September 2012)

European Parliament concerned over worsening civil society climate in Russia (September 2012)

Russian regional administration forbids employees contact with ‘foreign agents’ as new NGO law gains traction (September 2012)

Human-rights organizations to boycott new law on NGOs (September 2012)

Russian rights groups taking ‘multi-step’ approach against NGO law (September 2012)

Beyond text, few parallels between new Russian and existing U.S. CSO laws (August 2012)

Clinton affirms Russian human rights activists are not U.S. agents (August 2012)

“A kind of Soviet flavor”: Putin taking lessons from Lukashenko? (August 2012)

Assembling to promote a positive attitude proscribed (August 2012)

Two years in prison for Pussy Riot (August 2012)

Russia needs Human Rights Ombudsmen in every region – Putin (August 2012)

Russia’s law on volunteering can be adopted in autumn (August 2012)

NGO law affects Russia’s civil society (August 2012)

Blogger and leader of protest movement Aleksei Navalny charged with embezzlement after labeling an official a “foreign agent” (August 2012)

New amendments on volunteering to be developed (July 2012)

Details of “Foreign Agents” Law (July 2012)

“Foreign Agents” Law modeled after US law, says Putin (July 2012)

Russians Support Recent Laws Restricting Freedoms – Poll (July 2012)

Russian rights activists refuse to comply with NGO law (July 2012)

Drive to give legal status to volunteers (July 2012)

The Internet law: A good bad example of Russia’s backsliding (July 2012)

Russian parliament approves restrictions on foreign-funded NGOs (July 2012)

Secretary of State Clinton discusses “disturbing” Russian NGO Law in CoD Governing Council remarks (July 2012)

EU High Representative “highly concerned” about amendments to Russia’s NGO law (July 2012)

PACE Rapporteur Slams Russian Slander Bill As ‘Invitation to Punish’ Kremlin Critics (July 2012)

Russia’s Ruling Party Seeks ‘Foreign Agent’ Media Bill (July 2012)

UN human rights experts warn of potential damage by Russia’s draft law to civil society (July 2012)

Parties Ask Russian Constitutional Court To Review Demonstrations Law (July 2012)

Looking for Foreign Agents in All the Wrong Places (July 2012)

NGO laws indicate Putin’s strategic failure, political frailty (July 2012)

Russia’s Internet blacklist looms in freedom crackdown (July 2012)

Transparency International calls on Russia to reject draconian amendments to laws governing NGOs (July 2012)

Putin signs draconian law restricting freedom of assembly (June 2012)

New Russian bill aims to brand NGOs as ‘foreign agents’ (June 2012)

Parliament to label externally-funded NGOs as foreign agents (June 2012)

Law on rallies awaits Putin’s signature (June 2012)

Putin signs law with new restrictions on peaceful assembly (June 2012)

Russian President Putin defends Russia’s human rights record after EU meeting (June 2012)

Russia’s civil society ‘beats authorities’ in tackling corruption (May 2012)

Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor meets civil society advocates from Russia (April 2012)

Freedom of speech concerns arise as protest singers face seven-year jail sentences (April 2012)

Nonviolent protests in Russia: About the elections or also for the future? (March 2012)

International NGOs urge authorities of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia to take measures to protect journalists (January 2012)

Why Russia’s democrats need West’s support (October 2011)

Government to increase support for NGOs – Medvedev (September 2011)

Arkhangelsk NGOs adapting to Russian reality (September 2011)

Russian court makes foreign donations to NGOs tax free (September 2011)

The Rebirth of Russian Civil Society (July 2011)

Medvedev urges development of endowment funds (June 2011)

Putin’s Russia could face revolt – whistleblower (June 2011)

European Court Rebukes Law on Parties (April 2011)

U.N. says Russian efforts on human rights fall short (February 2011)

The foregoing information was collected by the ICNL Civic Freedom Monitor partner organization in Russia.