I am intensely disappointed by the news of the Kremlin shutting down the operations of many foreign private organizations in Russia through its new law. The new law contains burdensome filing requirements and makes it easier for the Russian government to control the activities of these nongovernmental organizations and potentially close them down if it dislikes their work. This is clearly a step backwards in Russia's path towards freedom and democracy.

These nongovernmental organizations play a critical role in helping develop democratic institutions, fight corruption, and promote independent media and human rights in Russia. It has been reported that nearly 100 organizations have already been suspended. Some of the suspended organizations include Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

The Kremlin's suspension of foreign organizations serves as the latest indication of the deterioration of freedoms in Russia and displays Russia's desire to return its own people and former republics in Central Asia to the dark days of the Cold War and totalitarianism