“Under the conditions of a special operation, liberalization is unacceptable.” The State Duma adopted in the second reading a new bill on foreign agents

The State Duma adopted in the second reading the bill "On control over the activities of persons under foreign influence." It is proposed to give this status not only to those who receive foreign funding, but also to those who are “under foreign influence in other forms” and at the same time do not receive money from abroad.

Four existing registers of "foreign agents" are proposed to be merged into one.

The bill also introduces the concept of "individuals affiliated with foreign agents", but they are not subject to the requirements established for "foreign agents".

According to Kommersant, out of 74 amendments proposed for the second reading, the deputies approved 14, the rejected amendments were of a “mitigating” nature. Deputy Vasily Piskarev said that in the context of the "special military operation" in Ukraine, "the liberalization of this bill is unacceptable."

Among the amendments approved by the State Duma, there are prohibitions for "foreign agents", for example:

  • receive state financial support, including for creative activities;
  • teach in state and municipal educational organizations, as well as engage in educational activities with children (organizations declared "foreign agents" cannot engage in the education of children);
  • produce information products for children;
  • participate in the procurement of goods, works, services to meet state and municipal needs;
  • keep simplified accounting (financial) statements;
  • act as experts at state environmental reviews and participate in the organization and conduct of public environmental reviews;

The law on media-“foreign agents” was adopted in Russia in 2017. According to it, any media outlet that receives funding or property from abroad can be recognized as a “foreign agent”. In 2019, a new law was adopted, which made it possible to classify as "foreign agents" not only legal entities, but also individuals. Since December 2020, individuals and unregistered public associations receiving funding from abroad can also be given this status for “political activity” in Russia, which de facto includes any public assessment of the activities of any state authorities. In addition, on March 1, 2021, penalties for violations of the activities of “foreign agents” were toughened: today they provide for both administrative fines and criminal liability for up to five years in prison.

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