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Putin: NGOs Must Pursue 'Common National Goals'

  • RFE/RL

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a forum dedicated to civil society in Moscow on January 15.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a forum dedicated to civil society in Moscow on January 15.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) should help achieve "common national goals" and not oppose the government.

Speaking on live television at a forum titled The State and Civil Society on January 15, Putin said NGOs must not be involved in competition between authorities and the opposition.

Putin also called on regional authorities to delegate some of their functions in the social sphere to NGOs, suggesting he wants to use them as an arm of the government.

He said tax breaks might be given to nonprofit organizations but suggested they must stay out of politics to qualify, saying it was necessary to define the "political activities" of such groups.

Russia has cracked down on NGOs since Putin returned to the presidency in 2012, forcing many to register as "foreign agents."

Many of Russia's most prominent NGOs, including Memorial, Agora, and Golos, were not invited to the forum.

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