German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to give nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) a "good chance."
Merkel said Russia needed an active civil society to flourish.
She said Russia was now depending on its raw-material deposits and infrastructure development to fuel economic growth.
Merkel said Russia needed to innovate and diversify, and NGOs could help.
Merkel was speaking on April 7 at the opening of an industrial fair in the German city of Hannover. Putin was in the audience.
Her comments come after a wave of state inspections of foreign-funded NGOs in Russia, a move much criticized abroad.
In an interview with German TV aired earlier on April 7, Putin defended the searches, saying Russians had a right to know which NGOs in Russia were receiving foreign funds "and for what."
Outside the fair, dozens demonstrated against the NGO crackdown in Russia.
Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters