Putin Sees No Problems with Civil Society Law

During the Petersburg Dialogue at Weisbaden, President Vladimir Putin fielded some criticism on Russia’s new legislation governing non-governmental organizations, which has been characterized by many as a crackdown on independent voices. The president says he is not aware of any problems:

As far as I understand the situation, none of the disasters that some feared have taken place since Russia passed the law on non-governmental organisations. The organisations that wished to register have done so. Of course, organisations are required to submit documents on their finances and charter, but this is not an insurmountable obstacle for getting registered and continuing work. Perhaps there is bit too much red tape; we would have to look at the situation and make adjustments if needed. But as far as I know, there have been no mass refusals or re-registration procedures. There have been only isolated cases in which organisations have been asked to correct documents presented. That is all. But as I said, we can examine the state of affairs again – I do not see any problems here.

Earlier, during Putin’s plenary speech, he declared that “Russia and Germany are probably closer than ever in the way they see the future of Europe.