The uncompleted reactors of the Baltic Nuclear Power Plant near Kaliningrad. Ecodefense’s campaigning helped end this boondoggle; now the Russian government is targeting Ecodefense.
On June 16, 2014, GreenWorld reported that Russia’s Ecodefense, a part of the international NIRS/WISE network, had been targeted by Russian authorities and labeled as a “foreign agent,” a designation that if upheld could effectively end the organization. Today, Vladimir Slivyak, co-chair of Ecodefense, explains the government’s actions, Ecodefense’s refusal to accept “foreign agent” status, and what comes next.
You can sign an international petition in solidarity with Ecodefense here.
MOSCOW–In 2012, Russia adopted the notorious law that forces registration as “foreign agents” non-governmental organizations that engage in “political activities” and also receive funding from abroad. Since then, no organization actually engaged in political activity has come to harm from the new law. Rather, trouble has started for those who have always distanced themselves from the political process and focused on protecting the rights of Russian citizens.
In 2013, a group of eleven NGOs–mostly human rights organizations as well as the environmental group Ecodefense–filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights arguing that the “foreign agent” law violates the rights of Russian citizens. Court proceedings are currently pending.
In June 2014, the Russian Ministry of Justice embarked on a campaign aimed at labeling Ecodefense, which is one of Russia’s oldest environmental organizations, as a “foreign agent.” This is the first such attack against an environmental NGO since a legislative change that came into effect in early June gave the ministry discretion to forcibly include non-governmental organizations on the “foreign agent” roster (thus expanding significantly the authorities’ mandate, which had previously required that a prosecutorial inspection first make a “foreign agent” finding against an NGO and then have that claim supported by a court decision). Continue reading