On July 14, the Federal Law on control over the activities of persons under foreign influence” was adopted. The law will come into force on December 1, 2022.
The law defines that a foreign agent should be understood as a person who has received support and (or) is under foreign influence in other forms and carries out activities, the types of which are established by this law.
A foreign agent may be recognized as a Russian or foreign legal entity, a public association operating without forming a legal entity, another association of persons, a foreign structure without forming a legal entity, as well as an individual. Public authorities, religious organizations, political parties, chambers of commerce and industry, associations of employers cannot be recognized as foreign agents.
Foreign influence is understood as the provision of support by a foreign source to a person or the impact on a person, including through coercion, persuasion or other means. Support, in turn, is the provision by a foreign source of funds and (or) other property to a person, as well as the provision of assistance to a person in other forms.
Foreign sources can be both foreign states and organizations, structures without a legal entity, as well as citizens of other countries, as well as legal entities and individuals financed by foreign persons.
A person who intends to act as a foreign agent is obliged to submit an application to the Ministry of Justice for inclusion in the register prior to the commencement of actions. In case of failure to fulfill this obligation, the Ministry of Justice includes such persons in the register on its own no later than ten working days from the date of their discovery.
Foreign agents are required to report the presence of such status to their employees and public authorities, to which they apply in the course of their activities. The materials that foreign agents produce and distribute in the course of their activities, including through the media or on the Internet, they are also required to label.
In addition, foreign agents will not be able to carry out educational activities in relation to minors, produce information products for minors, receive state financial support, work in the state or municipal service. The federal law also contains other prohibitions for foreign agents.
To inform citizens of the Russian Federation about which organizations and persons are foreign agents, the Ministry of Justice will maintain a unified register of foreign agents and individuals affiliated with them. Affiliates will not be subject to requirements or restrictions.
A person acquires the status of a foreign agent from the day following the day the person is entered in the register, and such status ceases from the day such information is excluded from the register. Violation of the legislation on foreign agents entails administrative, criminal and other liability.
The law also provides for a certain mechanism for excluding a person from the register of foreign agents. The grounds for exclusion from the register are the termination of the activities of a legal entity or other association of persons, the death of an individual, as well as the termination of the circumstances that served as the basis for recognizing a person as a foreign agent.
For individuals included in the register for the first time, a simplified procedure for leaving it is provided. An individual has the right to submit an application in free form and attach documents that confirm the termination of the circumstances that served as the basis for inclusion in the register. The decision on the application will be made by the Minister of Justice or his deputy.
According to the authors of the bill, the adoption of the law will help protect the interests and ensure the security of the Russian Federation, its sovereignty, as well as the realization of the rights and freedoms of Russians.
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