MOSCOW – President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law Saturday giving prosecutors the power to declare foreign and international organizations “undesirable” in Russia and shut them down.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have condemned the measure as part of an “ongoing draconian crackdown which is squeezing
the life out of civil society.” The law is part of a Kremlin campaign to stifle dissent that intensified after Putin began his third term in 2012. His return to the presidency had been accompanied by mass street protests that Putin accused the United States of fomenting. Russian suspicions of Western intentions have been further heightened because of tensions over Russia’s role in the conflict in Ukraine. The new Russian law allows prosecutors to declare an organization undesirable if it presents a threat to Russia’s constitutional order, its defenses or its security.