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Putin Signs Law Curbing NGOs --> President Putin (file photo) (CTK) 17 January 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a controversial bill that curbs the activities of nongovernmental organizations operating in Russia.

Putin signed the law seven days ago, but word of the signing came only today in the official "Rossiskaya Gazeta" newspaper. AP reported that the Kremlin never mentioned the signing.

NGOs say the new law will make their work in Russia more difficult. Amnesty International today said it will lead to the stifling of civil society in Russia. The United States and EU say the law undermines democracy.

Correspondents say the Kremlin mistrusts NGOs. Sergei Lebedev, the chief of Russia's foreign intelligence service, says foreign spies use the humanitarian groups and NGOs as a cover for their work in Russia.
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