MOSCOW, December 7 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev defended on Friday a controversial new law obliging NGOs engaged in politics and funded from abroad to label themselves “foreign agents."
“What’s wrong with the word ‘agent’?” asked Medvedev during a live television interview with five broadcasters spanning the political gamut, from pro-Kremlin state television to the feisty, independent Dozhd online channel.
“Agent means ‘representative,’ and that’s all,” said Medvedev in response to suggestions that the phrase was synonymous with “spy” and would discredit human rights groups in the eyes of the public. “Anything else is just a coincidence.”
Russian human rights groups have reacted furiously to the new law, which came into force in November. The country’s oldest rights organization, the Moscow Helsinki Group, has said it will close down its offices rather than comply, and most other prominent rights groups have said they would not register under the new legislation.
“The law only concerns those NGOs that engage in politics and receive money from foreign governments,” Medvedev said. “Imagine if an NGO in the US received money from the Russian federal budget – there would be a major outcry.”
Medvedev also denied that the NGO law was part of an attempt to stifle political opposition, saying recent laws on slander, treason, protests and internet censorship had not been used to target individual “political groups.”
The fact of registration and authorization of users on Sputnik websites via users’ account or accounts on social networks indicates acceptance of these rules.
Users are obliged abide by national and international laws. Users are obliged to speak respectfully to the other participants in the discussion, readers and individuals referenced in the posts.
The websites’ administration has the right to delete comments made in languages other than the language of the majority of the websites’ content.
In all language versions of the sputniknews.com websites any comments posted can be edited.
A user comment will be deleted if it:
The administration has the right to block a user’s access to the page or delete a user’s account without notice if the user is in violation of these rules or if behavior indicating said violation is detected.
Users can initiate the recovery of their account / unlock access by contacting the moderators at firstname.lastname@example.org
The letter must contain:
If the moderators deem it possible to restore the account / unlock access, it will be done.
In the case of repeated violations of the rules above resulting in a second block of a user’s account, access cannot be restored.
To contact the team of moderators, write to email@example.com