Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he chairs a meeting with members of the presidential council for inter-ethnic relations and the Russian language at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov
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Russian lawmakers Tuesday passed a controversial bill allowing authorities to ban foreign NGOs deemed "undesirable" for the state, the latest step in a crackdown condemned by rights activists.Pro-Kremlin legislators overwhelmingly approved the legislation -- which still has to be approved by the rubberstamp upper chamber and signed off by President Vladimir Putin -- that targets international non-governmental organizations accused of undermining Russia's "state security". The law, opposed by the Kremlin's own human rights ombudsman, allows authorities to bar foreign civil society groups seen as threatening Russia's "defense capabilities" or "consitutional foundations" and go after local activists working with them.
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