Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are an important part of a democratic civil society. However, despite the positive role of NGOs, activities of NGOs and their interference into the state’s issues are often understood by state authorities as a threat and therefore legal barriers to the activities of NGOs are determined. In this article restrictions imposed on NGOs and their application in the Russian Federation are analyzed. In recent years, NGOs operating in Russia, especially those working in the political sphere and/or financed by foreign sources, have seen increased control. The research revealed that major groups of legal restrictions aimed at NGOs working in Russia are as follows: restrictions of freedom of association, freedom of speech and assemble, and financial restrictions. Adopted in 2012 and 2015 respectively, the “Foreign Agent” and “Undesirable organizations” laws are the most considerable challenges for the functioning of NGOs in Russia. This research was conducted based on document analysis and semi-structured interviews with Russian NGOs.