Russia's lower house of parliament passed a resolution Wednesday condemning the alleged involvement of foreign spies with non-governmental organizations. The resolution, passed by a vote of 401-6 in the 450-member State Duma, came after Russia claimed this week that four British diplomats were involved in spying and channeled money to NGOs operating in the country.
"Such actions destroy trust in noncommercial, non-governmental organizations ... the practice of joint work of special services agents and noncommercial non-governmental organizations deserves condemnation by the parliaments of European states," the resolution reads. Russian officials allege that foreign-funded NGOs are seeking to foment discontent with the government. Those complaints rose sharply after the Westward-leaning reformers gained power in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan amid large public protests. President Vladimir Putin this month signed a law putting tight restrictions on NGOs operating in Russia.
The upper chamber of parliament, the Federation Council, plans next week to hear a report from the Federal Security Service, the main successor agency to the KGB, on connections between foreign intelligence and NGOs, the chamber's speaker Sergei Mironov was quoted as saying by the RIA-Novosti news agency.
The Moscow Bureau for Human Rights organization issued a statement Wednesday saying the new NGO law means "a new phase of the chase after law-protectors has begun. The goal is to level the obedient (and) frighten the obstinate and unruly", reports the AP. N.U.