Moscow, July 11 (IANS/RIA Novosti)Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for amendments to a bill which would force non-governmental organisations(NGOs), funded from abroad and engaged in political activity, to declare themselves "foreign agents".
"If we see today that these projects must be brushed up, I'm ready to ask lawmakers to introduce relevant amendments," Putin said Tuesday at a meeting on the pending legislation.
Putin urged the government "not to procrastinate until fall" with discussing the amendments.
Under the new bill, approved by the State Duma in its first reading Friday, NGOs would have to publish a biannual report of their activities and carry out an annual financial audit.
Failure to comply with the law could result in four-year jail sentences and/or fines of up to 300,000 rubles ($9,200).
Those engaged in political activity and funded from abroad will be labelled "foreign agents," a term synonymous with spying and treason in the Soviet era, which has already met fierce criticism from human rights groups.