Kremlin set to target NGOs by branding them 'foreign agents'


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The Independent Online

Russia is expected to pass laws next week which will impose harsh regulations on all foreign-funded non- governmental organisations involved in political activity.

The move by the ruling United Russia party has been decried by pro-democracy groups as a bid to silence opponents of President Vladimir Putin who was re-elected in May. Grigory Melkonyants, deputy director of Golos, a group that compiled evidence of thousands of electoral violations in Russia's elections, says authorities would have "a hundred different ways to render us ineffective".

The pro-democracy group depends on grants from European nations and the United States.

Golos would have to declare itself a "foreign agent" – a term still synonymous with espionage for Russians who lived through the Cold War.