Putin Signs Law Criminalizing Links To 'Undesirable' Organizations

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that criminalizes participation in the activities of foreign nongovernmental organizations recognized as “undesirable” in Russia.

Putin promulgated the bill on June 28, five days after parliament's upper chamber, the Federation Council, approved it.

The lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma, passed the measure on June 16.

Under the law, Russian citizens may face up to six years in prison if found guilty of organizing the operations of "undesirable" international organizations on Russian territory.

Russian citizens and entities located in any country of the world will be barred from taking part in the activities of foreign nongovernmental organizations that are labeled "undesirable" in Russia.

Individuals who take part in the activities of such organizations activities may be sentenced to up to four years in prison, while punishment for raising funds for such groups will be up to five years in prison.

The bill also says that individuals who voluntarily stop cooperating with "undesirable" organizations or assist in the shutting down of such organizations' operations will not face trial.

The law also allows Rosfinmonitoring, the country's money-laundering monitor, to track money transfers from some countries, the list of which will be specially determined in agreement with the central bank.

The "undesirable organization" law, adopted in May 2015, was part of a series of regulations pushed by the Kremlin that squeezed many nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations that received funding from foreign sources -- mainly from Europe and the United States.