The aim of this article is the general characteristics of the legal status of associations in Russia. They include the origin of association movement, overview of current legal sources, basic terms, and discussion of selected regulations limiting the right to association, with particular emphasis on law of 20 July 2012 on organizations fulfilling the function of a foreign agent and law of 23 May 2015 on undesirable organizations on the territory of the RF. This paper also highlights the political aspect of the origin, shaping and transformation of the legal position of associations. The legal status of associations in Russia is always linked to the political situation in the country. Constitutional traditions of Tsarist and Soviet Russia were not conducive to bottom-up self-organization of society and only perestroika in the late 80s enabled unrestrained participation in public life. Currently in Russia, there are over 101 thousand registered social associations and undoubtedly it is a record number in the historical context. However, in order to maintain internal security against the growing threat of terrorism, as well as to the risk of the outbreak of the color revolution, in recent years Russia started to re-introduce significant restrictions on the freedom of association. The basic research method is the dogmatic analysis of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and selected federal laws. The issue discussed is rarely raised in Polish scientific publications. This paper constitutes an attempt to fill the gap in the subject literature aiming at contributing to the development of scientific knowledge in Polish-Russian comparative studies.