Changes in the Regulation of NGO Functioning as Foreign Agents
July 13, 2012 the State Duma of the Russian Federation adopted into Federal Law "Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in the regulation of non-profit organizations functioning as foreign agents."
The law is aimed at regulating the activities of non-profit organizations involved in political activities while receiving money and other property from foreign sources; such kind of non-profit organizations are now labeled with the status of a foreign agent.
Federal law provides for maintaining a register of non-profit organizations that are functioning as a foreign agent. An application for inclusion in the register must be made to a non-profit organization before it implements or commences activities as a foreign agent.
In the event of a refusal of a non-profit organization to register as a foreign agent, its activities may be suspended for a period of six months.
The Federal Service for Financial Monitoring will be required to produce mandatory control operations on the amounts of a non-profit organization income (funds or other property) from foreign sources if the amount received is equal to or greater than 200 thousand rubles or the amount received in foreign currency is equivalent to 200 thousand rubles or in excess of it.
Non-profit organizations with the status of foreign agent will carry additional responsibilities, among them are:
- Filing an annual audit report to the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation prepared by a Russian auditing organization (annual financial statements of the foreign agent subject to the mandatory audit);
- Filing quarterly to the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation documents containing information about the purposes for expenditures and the use of other property received from foreign sources and about their actual expenditure and or use;
- Provide semi-annual reports on its activities to the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation;
- Materials that are issued by foreign agents or are distributed to the media or via the internet must come with the appropriate disclaimer stating that these materials are issued (distributed) by a foreign agent.
A planned inspection of non-profit organizations acting as foreign agents will be conducted once a year. They also have the opportunity to conduct unscheduled inspections.
Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation now include an administrative fine ranging from 500,000 to 1 million rubles to foreign agents for the following offenses:
- Failure to submit or the untimely submission in either incomplete or distorted form of the required reports to the competent authorities (the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring).
- The implementation of a non-profit organization and commencing operations without first registering as a non-profit organization functioning as a foreign agent.
- The publication or distribution of materials to the media and via the Internet by foreign agents without reference to the fact that these materials are published (distributed) by a foreign agent.
For the creation of a non-profit organization infringing on the individual and the rights of citizens, as well as for the deliberate refusal to perform the duties specified by relevant legislation of the Russian Federation on the operation of non-profit organizations, it is established as a criminal offense.
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