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Council Of Europe Official Criticizes Russian Ban On Foreign Groups

  • RFE/RL's Russian Service

The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, Nils Muiznieks, has criticized Russian authorities' move to ban 12 foreign organizations under a new law Russian lawmakers say is needed to rid the country of "undesirable" groups deemed a threat to its security.

Muiznieks told RFE/RL on July 9 that Russia's "new bad law" is "vague and allows Russian authorities to shut down any nongovernmental organization."

The Federation Council, Russia's upper house of parliament, on July 8 formally asked the Prosecutor-General's Office, the Foreign Ministry, and the Justice Ministry to scrutinize the operations of the organizations with a view to possibly declaring them "undesirable" and shutting them down.

The 12 groups on the so-called "patriotic stop-list" include Freedom House, billionaire U.S. philanthropist George Soros's Open Society Foundations, the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the MacArthur Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Education for Democracy Foundation, and several groups focusing on Ukrainian issues.