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Russia - Putin enacts law banning ‘undesirable’ NGOs

Russian President Vladimir Putin officially enacted a controversial law banning “undesirable” non-governmental organisations, the Kremlin said Saturday, in a move condemned by human rights groups and the United States.

The law allows authorities to bar foreign civil society groups seen as threatening Russia’s “defence capabilities” or “consitutional foundations” and go after local activists working with them, the Kremlin statement said.

Supporters presented the law as a “preventative measure”, necessary after the wave of Western sanctions put in place over the Ukraine conflict.

Under the law, passed by the Russian parliament this week, authorities can ban foreign NGOs and go after their employees, who risk up to six years in prison or being barred from the country.

It also allows them to block the bank accounts of the organizations until the NGOs “account for their actions” to the Russian authorities.

Lawmakers cited the need to stop “destructive organisations” working in Russia, which could threaten the “value of the Russian state” and stir up “colour revolutions”, the name given to pro-Western movements seen in some former Soviet republics over the last several years.

Note EU-Digest : The move by the Russian government might also be a reaction to the CIA recently announced sweeping changes to how it operates, in the biggest shake-up in the US intelligence agency’s 70-year history. Ten new mission centres and the re-assignment of thousands of spies. The new units or ‘mission centres’ are intended to focus on specific challenges or geographical areas.

Insiders say competition between agencies whitin the CIA has led to intelligence hoarding and the re-organization aims to increase the flow of information which previously fell through bureaucratic cracks. Under the current structure spies and analysts are kept separate.

It is not clear when the changes will be implemented but the re-organization is likely to take several years.

Read more: france 24 - Putin enacts law banning ‘undesirable’ NGOs - France 24

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