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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Pledges to Help NGOs

President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he would take steps to ease the burden faced by NGOs in meeting a 2006 law regulating the groups.

"I admit that [the law] instructions could be overly onerous with regards to reporting," Putin said at a meeting on human rights and civil society.

But Putin also came out against tax breaks for Russian companies that back NGOs, and he opposed foreign spending on NGOs. "If foreign states give the money, they pursue their own goals, which are often remote from those that are declared publicly," he said.

Government authorities began blasting foreign support for Russian NGOs after the so-called color revolutions in Georgia, in 2003, and Ukraine, in 2004, in which foreign-backed NGOs helped mobilize thousands of protesters.

Putin also called for public oversight of prisons, saying a bill related to the issue had been languishing in the State Duma for three years. And he said he had expected the Duma to ratify a measure allowing swifter consideration of European Court of Human Rights cases.

Russia is the only European member of the European Convention on Human Rights that has not ratified the protocol. The Duma refused to do so in December.