Authors of NGO bill claim they act in interests of Russian people

Irina Yarovaya of United Russia, one of the authors of a bill amending the law on non-governmental organizations, described Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alexeyeva's proposal to add the authors of the bill to the  Magnitsky List as blackmail.

"As for the blackmail and threats that someone would address the U.S. Senate, the Congress… Well, what can I say? A U.S. citizen is entitled to address his/her president, Senate, and Congress," Yarovaya told journalists on Friday.

The State Duma is scheduled on Friday to consider amendments to the law on NGOs, which would officially classify as 'foreign agents' NGOs at least partly financed from abroad and engaged in politics.

Yarovaya insisted that the parliamentarians who proposed these amendments were guided by interests of Russian citizens and are sure that operations of such NGOs should be absolutely transparent and comply with international law.

Another author of the amendments, Alexander Sidyakin of United Russia, noted that Alexeyeva's proposal is absolutely inconsistent in legal terms.

"We are parliamentarians, and we propose bills that we consider necessary for our citizens and for our country's security, and we will continue acting this way," Sidyakin told journalists.

Alexeyeva was a prominent dissident in the Soviet times and was declared an anti-Soviet agent in 1977, which prompted her to emigrate to the U.S., where she lived until 1993.

Alexeyeva, who will turn 85 on July 20, has both Russian and U.S. citizenship, she permanently lives in Moscow and is a member of the Presidential Human Rights Council. She is among the founders and the current head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, the oldest Russian independent human rights organization.

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