[JURIST Europe] At his annual news conference [video, audio and transcripts in English] Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin defended a new Russian law [JURIST report] restricting the activities of domestic and foreign-based non-governmental organizations - including a number of international human rights groups - and subjecting them to stringent financial disclosure requirements. The controversial law, signed January 10 but not made public until a week later [JURIST report], provides Russian authorities with an unprecedented level of control, including the right to close NGO offices in Russia should it be deemed that their activities "threaten Russia's independence or sovereignty." Putin said: "We are for their funding being transparent... we don't want them led by puppeteers from abroad." At the marathon Q/A session that ran more than three hours before a crowd of almost 1000 journalists [Kremlin press release], the Russian president also defended Russia's continuing relations with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who has faced criticism for silencing political opponents, and Russia's support of Uzbekistan's severe crackdown on activists. BBC News has more.
Angela Onikepe is an Associate Editor for JURIST Europe, reporting European legal news from a European perspective. She is based in the UK.