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Russia's new NGO law causing headaches for foreign orgs. - paper

MOSCOW, June 29 (RIA Novosti) - Foreign non-governmental organizations are experiencing problems re-registering in Russia after a new law on NGOs came into force April 18, respected business daily Vedomosti said Thursday.

The Federal Registration Service said that none of the 40 foreign NGOs that applied for registration after the introduction of the law had managed to complete the process. It said there are currently between 500 and 2,000 foreign NGOs operating in Russia, and that all of them had to re-register before October 18 this year.

Sergei Tsyplenkov, the executive director of Greenpeace's office in Russia, said that the new by-laws were so blurry that they enabled officials to make harsh decisions at their own discretion.

But the registration service said the new registration procedure was transparent and "purely technical," requiring only that a number of forms be filled out, a task it said foreign NGOs had failed to do.

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