For more than a year, we have been following the saga of Russia’s crackdown on civil society and in particular the state’s efforts to disempower or shut down the country’s most active and effective anti-nuclear organization, Ecodefense. As we reported last June, Russia labeled Ecodefense a “foreign agent”–essentially accusing it of spying and being controlled by outside nations. It, and a handful of human rights organizations, were the first in the nation to be targeted under Russia’s “foreign agent” law adopted in 2012 but only begun to be enforced last year. The law is ostensibly aimed at reducing Western influence in Russia; in reality it’s attempting to weaken all organizations that seek to challenge any aspect of Vladimir Putin’s regime. Ecodefense is being targeted for its success in organizing and mobilizing the public and stopping construction of new nuclear reactors in the nation, not for posing a threat to the government. Continue reading
On July 8, we posted that the Russian anti-nuclear group Ecodefense was being labeled a “foreign agent” by Russian authorities–a designation that would cripple the organization’s activities.
The Russian government made the designation official on Monday of this week–even before a court hearing on the issue, already scheduled to take place on August 25. A report from the Norwegian group Bellona on the designation–and that of four prominent Russian human rights organizations–is here.
Today, Ecodefense filed its own lawsuit against the Russian Ministry of Justice’s designation of the group as a foreign agent. Continue reading for Ecodefense’s statement about this lawsuit. Continue reading