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Russian Activists Vow To Defy NGO Law

Leading Russian nongovernmental organizations say they will defy a new law that brands them as "foreign agents."

The law, which takes effect on November 21, obliges NGOs that receive foreign funding and are engaged in "political activities" to register as "foreign agents."

Activists say it is aimed at discrediting the NGOs and making it easier for the government to crack down on them.

President Vladimir Putin says the measure is necessary protection against foreign meddling in Russian political affairs.

Leading rights groups, including Memorial, the election-monitoring group Golos, and the Moscow Helsinki Group say they will refuse to register, in defiance of the law.

Furkat Tishaev, a lawyer for Memorial, said the groups intend to challenge the law in the European Court of Human Rights.

Amnesty International has called for a repeal of the law.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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