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Russian Upper House Of Parliament To Consider NGO Bill

Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov confers with Russian President Putin in September (epa) 27 December 2005 -- Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, is expected to vote today on a controversial bill to regulate the activities of nongovernmental organizations operating in Russia.

Last week, the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, approved the legislation, which NGOs say will make their work in Russia very difficult. The EU and the U.S. have also criticized the proposed law, saying it undermines democracy.

Sergei Lebedev, the head of Russia's foreign intelligence service, has said he has evidence foreign spies were using humanitarian groups and NGOs as a cover in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin requested changes to an original draft of the law, but critics say those changes don't go far enough.

If the Federation Council approves the legislation today it will then go on to Putin for him to sign into law.

(See also a recent interview with Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov.)


Managing Russia

Managing Russia
On December 16, 2005, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a panel discussion on the 4 December Moscow City Duma elections, which have been widely seen as a preview of the 2007 national legislative elections.

VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA is the official representative of the liberal Union of Rightist Forces (SPS) in Washington, D.C., and a co-founder of Free Choice 2008. Kara-Murza described the elections as an "exciting time" for Russian liberals, emphasizing the "breakthrough" achieved when the SPS and the Yabloko party ran a joint list of candidates and secured seats on the city council.

Listen to Kara-Murza's complete presentation (about 10 minutes).
Real Audio Windows Media

ANDREI PIONTKOVSKII is the executive director of the Moscow-based Strategic Studies Center and a member of Yabloko's Federal Council. In his presentation, Piontkovskii emphasized that liberal values are under assault in the Russia of President Vladimir Putin and analyzed the importance of the SPS-Yabloko cooperation.

Listen to Piontkovskii's complete presentation (about 10 minutes).
Real Audio Windows Media

See also:

The Moscow City Duma Election -- A Case Of Managed Democracy

A Turning Point For Russia's Liberal Parties?

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