NGOs. The new law was overwhelmingly passed by the Duma and the Federation Council. (a real all-party effort – it’s a popular provision: 60% plus). In essence, NGOs that are foreign-funded and operate in the political sphere must report on the extent of foreign funding and label themselves as foreign agents. Here is what has changed. The law is somewhat modelled on the US FARA law of 1938 that “requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal” (something seldom mentioned in much of the commentary on the Russian law). Much flapdoodle from those whose oxen will be gored and livelihoods will be affected. Application is, of course the key, but I have no problem with the law: I think Canada, which has a similar problem, should have a similar law. People should be able to know what interests are trying to influence them.
State Council. Leaders of the parliamentary opposition have been added to this advisory group which held its first meeting in this new format on Tuesday. Usual response: either an opening to or cooption of.