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Russians search Amnesty Intl office in Moscow

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 25, 2013 at 6:48 am •  Published: March 25, 2013

Russian officials have searched up to 2,000 non-governmental organizations nationwide in the past month, according to Pavel Chikov, a member of the presidential human rights council.

The searches began after Putin gave a speech urging the Federal Security Service to focus attention on groups receiving foreign funding, which he said were "putting pressure on Russia."

Although the Justice Ministry said it was unenforceable earlier this year, it told the Interfax news agency on Monday that the searches were being carried out in line with the foreign agents law.

According to Chikov, however, many organizations have been checked under another, vaguely worded law on "extremism," including by agencies that have nothing to do with enforcing it, like the fire service and the health department.

The U.S. Embassy, Amnesty, the presidential human rights council and Public Verdict have all expressed concern over the wave of searches.