The undesirables

This week, both houses of the Russian parliament approved legislation regarding “undesirable organisations”. According to the new norm, a prosecutor can deem any foreign or international organisation “undesirable” if it is considered “a threat to Russia’s constitutional order, defence, and security”.

Undesirable organisations and their chapters will be banned from operating in Russia: banks will be required to deny them financial services, and Russian individuals and organisations will be forbidden to cooperate with them.  Violations, meanwhile, are punishable by fines or jail terms.

This new piece of legislation, as many other anti-liberal, restrictive norms that have been introduced over the past couple of years, is loosely worded, which allows for broad interpretations and selective enforcement. It also ignores the presumption of innocence: the prosecutor’s office, not the court, is granted the authority to brand an organisation “undesirable”.

For the full article, please visit the website of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

(Photo of Vladimir Putin:



Maria Lipman for the European Council on Foreign Relations

Maria Lipman is exploring the conservative backlash in Russia and how this translates into foreign policy. She was until recently the editor-in-chief of the Pro et Contra journal, published by the Carnegie Moscow Center. She writes regularly for the New Yorker online and has featured as editor and contributor in several books on Russian domestic politics.