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Russian official: law branding NGOs 'foreign agents' may be 'corrected'

A senior Russian official has suggested a controversial law on non-governmental organizations may be "corrected."

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Thursday that he would welcome changes to a bill Parliament passed last year that requires NGOs funded from abroad and engaging in vaguely defined political activity to join a list of "foreign agents," Russian news agencies reported.

Many senior officials have appeared visibly uncomfortable with enforcing the law, which activists say is aimed at stifling dissent. The term conjures images of Soviet-era spy mania.

Officials have raided hundreds of groups under the law since March. Prosecutors and courts have dubbed 57 NGOs, ranging from vote-monitoring organizations and independent pollsters to a crane sanctuary, "foreign agents," according to legal NGO Agora, which is one of the 57.