The Russian Duma in session (file photo) (AFP)
16 December 2005 -- The U.S. House of Representatives is urging Russian lawmakers to either withdraw or redraft a proposed law that critics say would undermine freedom by tightening regulation of nongovernmental organizations in Russia.
A nonbinding House resolution on the issue was approved yesterday by a vote of 405 in favor and 15 against.
The resolution describes the Russian legislation as having the effect of "severely restricting" the establishment and operations of Russian, international, and foreign nongovernmental organizations.
The Russian bill, recently approved in a first reading by the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, would require local branches of foreign nongovernmental organizations to register as Russian entities. This would subject them to stricter financial and legal controls.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, responding to criticism of the measure, has asked that the bill be redrafted.