Subsoil

On 29 June 2015, the President signed Federal Law No. 205-FZ amending the Subsoil Law and certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation in relation to geological information on subsoil.

The amendments aim to improve legislation in relation to formation and use of geological data on subsoil in Russia. In particular, the new Law specifies the definition of geological data on subsoil with its differentiation on primary data (obtained directly in the course of subsoil use) and interpreted data (processed primary data including geological reports, maps and plans) in order to determine the regulatory regime of such data. The Law excludes geological data from the list of copyright law objects.

The Law sets out a deadline for ensuring confidentiality of geological data obtained at the expense of subsoil users. A subsoil user, in whose possession data is, has the right to define the terms for its use including for commercial purposes: for primary geological data—within three years from the date of its submission to the relevant fund of geological data, and for interpreted geological data—within five years. After this period, the Russia Federation (or its constituent entity—for subsoil plots of local significance) acquires the rights to such data.

The Law further provides for the establishment of the Unified fund of geological data which will aggregate the existing informational geological resources including from a federal fund of geological data (its territorial funds), relevant funds of constituent entities of Russia as well as (non) commercial organizations, irrespective ownership into a single system. The procedure for the establishment and operation of the Unified fund, composition of geological data to be reported to the fund and the procedure for granting access to such data are yet to be determined by the Russian Government.

In addition, the Law details the provisions related to submission, storage and use of primary geological data in a form of various geological samples.

The Law will enter into force on 1 January 2016.

Environment

On 29 June 2015, the President signed Federal Law No. 203-FZ amending certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation in relation to waste handling.

Pursuant to Federal Law No. 89-FZ “On Production and Consumption Waste” (as amended by the December 2014 Law No. 458-FZ), effective from 1 July 2015, the activities related to collection, transportation, processing, recycling, decontamination and disposal of waste of I – IV classes of hazard are subject to licensing (prior to the amendments—activities related to decontamination and disposal of waste of I – IV classes of hazard). As a result, all previously issued licenses were supposed to be valid until 30 June 2015 and re-issued.1

The amendments extend the validity term of these previously issued licenses. In particular, organizations that are already implementing activities related to collection, transportation, processing, recycling, decontamination and disposal of waste of I – IV classes of hazard must obtain new licenses by 1 January 2016. At the same time, organizations that continue implementing decontamination and disposal of waste of I – IV classes of hazard only, have the right to renew their licenses by 1 January 2019.

The amendments also specify the procedure for calculating the environmental fee payable by producers and importers of goods who undertake an obligation to recycle waste resulting from their goods beyond the established recycling quotas.

The Law entered into force on 30 June 2015.

Investments

Industrial Clusters and Parks

On 31 July and 4 August 2015, the Government adopted Resolution No. 779 in relation to industrial clusters and their specialized organizations and Resolution No. 794 in relation to industrial parks and their management companies accordingly.

Adopted in late December 2014, Federal Law No. 488-FZ “On Industrial Policy of the Russian Federation” sets out measures of state support designed to promote the development of competitive Russia’s industry. Such state incentives, including financial support, may be provided to industrial clusters and their specialized organizations as well as industrial parks and their management companies subject to their compliance with the requirements to be established by the Russian Government.2

The Resolutions now establish such requirements for industrial clusters and their specialized organizations, industrial parks and their management companies as well as the procedure for confirming their compliance with the established requirements. In particular, the Ministry of Industry and Trade is authorized to confirm the compliance. Resolutions also list documents to be submitted for compliance assessment. Confirmation of compliance may be carried out once every three years in order to receive state support.

Resolution No. 779 entered into force on 13 August 2015. 

Resolution No. 794 will enter into force on 1 January 2016.

Undesirable organizations

On 18 August 2015, the Government issued Instruction No. 1592-r regarding a periodical appointed to officially publish the list of foreign and international NGOs whose operation in Russia is recognized undesirable.

In May 2015, Law No. 272-FZ (broadly known as the "Dima Yakovlev Law")3 was supplemented with a provision under which the operation (activity) of a foreign or international non-governmental organization (NGO) may be recognized as undesirable if such operation poses a risk to the Russian constitutional system, national defense or the safety of the state. The decision on the recognition of an NGO's activity as undesirable in Russia (as well as the cancellation of such a decision) can be rendered by the Chief Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, with the approval of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.The Russian Ministry of Justice maintains the list of undesirable NGOs and posts it on its official website.

Now the Government has named Rossiyskaya Gazeta the periodical to officially publish the list of such NGOs. The Ministry of Justice is to submit the information that is due for publication to the office of Rossiyskaya Gazeta within 30 days from the day when the General Prosecutor’s Office has registered with the Ministry of Justice the information on the decision to include or exclude an NGO from the list of undesirable NGOs (Order of the Ministry of Justice No. 209 dated 3 September 2015). 

The Instruction entered into force on 18 August 2015.