Kremlin deploying new tactics against NGOs


Russia’s Justice Ministry has deployed another tactic to shut down NGOs it says aren’t in compliance with the foreign agent law, Charles Digges reports: suing them in court and demanding their liquidation, opening a new front against Russia’s embattled non-profits, legal experts said Monday.

A prominent Russian human rights organization was ordered shut Wednesday by a regional court, potentially silencing one more voice in a continued Russian crackdown on independent civil society, The Washington Post adds:

The Agora human rights association is a network of lawyers and advocates who have defended the many Russians caught in the crosshairs of the Kremlin and the courts for political activity under Russian President Vladimir Putin. Among its high-profile clients are the opposition rock group and arts collective Pussy Riot and opposition politician Alexei Navalny. Since Agora’s founding in 2005, it has mounted a progressively lonely push for civil liberties and the rule of law as one group after another has been shut down.

Human Rights Watch’s Russia Program Director Tatyana Lokshina expressed concern over the Supreme Court decision, saying the liquidation of Agora was a “blow to civil society,” RFE/RL notes.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of FIDH and OMCT, strongly condemned the verdict of the Supreme Court of Tatarstan (Russian Federation) closing down one of Agora, the most visible and active organisations in Russia, and calls on the international community to publicly denounce the mounting repression of civil society in Russia.

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