MOSCOW, June 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's president submitted on Wednesday a bill to simplify registration and other rules for non-profit organizations, the Kremlin said.
President Dmitry Medvedev "submitted a draft law on changes to federal legislation on non-profit organizations to the State Duma [lower house of parliament]," the Kremlin said in a statement.
Meeting earlier on Wednesday with Ella Pamfilova, who heads the presidential Civil Society Institution and Human Rights Council, along with Public Chamber members, Medvedev said the number of audits would be reduced for non-profit organizations to once every three years. The list of documents authorities are allowed to ask for checks will be restricted, and registration procedures will be simplified, he said.
In April, Medvedev criticized legislation governing the taxation of non-profit organizations.
Civil groups came under frequent pressure from the Kremlin under former president Vladimir Putin, now prime minister, and were often accused of receiving foreign backing to promote a "color" revolution in Russia similar to those seen in Georgia and Ukraine. Legislative amendments passed in recent years have restricted their activities in the country.
Medvedev also said that non-profit organizations would be allowed to provide grants to certain groups of individuals, in particular Russian university graduates and young scientists.
"I have decided to allow non-profit organizations to distribute state grants that they receive among certain groups of individuals."
The president added that the organizations would also be able to independently select other recipients.
Pamfilova told reporters after the meeting with the president that the new rules would concern Russian non-profit organizations, but added rules could also be facilitated for foreign organizations in Russia in the future.