Kremlin Human Rights Council sees the bill on NGO as unconstitutional while Russian Orthodox Church supports it

The Moscow Patriarchate has backed the bill giving foreign agent status to Russian non-governmental organizations receiving foreign funding while the Kremlin Human Rights Council described it as unconstitutional.

"The bill's approval will be a step in the right direction," the chief of the Synodal Church and Society Department Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin told Interfax on Friday. "The public must clearly understand which nongovernmental organizations are supported by citizens and get aid from them via the state, Russian businesses and major public organizations, and which are orientated to foreign funding and sometimes foreign guidance, "with does not always coincide with the plans and thoughts our citizens have," he said.

The projects proposed over the past two decades, especially in the 1990s, by many of the public organizations funded and controlled from aboard "were radically at variance with the political culture of the Russian people and their moral and spiritual aspirations," Father Vsevolod added.

Meanwhile, Chief of the the Kremlin Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov has questioned the bill tightening requirements for nongovernmental organizations funded from abroad. The bill is unconstitutional and violates the Civil Code and the European Court of Human Rights and Russian Constitutional Court's position, he said.

Fedotov said at a news conference at Interfax on Friday that the amendments proposed go against articles 13 and 32 of the constitution, which assert the principle of political diversity and guarantee each citizen the right to participate in running state affairs.

"Another question to the bill is that it contradicts the principles of impermissibility of foreign funding of political organizations. It actually legalizes the foreign funding of political organizations, which is banned by the legislation on political parties," Fedotov said.

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