Memorial condemns the inclusion of the Free Russia Foundation in the list of ‘undesirable’ organisations


On 28 June the Russian Ministry of Justice added the Free Russia Foundation [Фонд ‘Свободная Россия’] to the so-called ‘list of undesirable non-governmental organisations’.

This not only bans all activity by the Foundation in Russia. Henceforth, under threat of administrative and criminal prosecution, any Russian legal and physical persons are forbidden to work with the Foundation, or even simply to cite materials published on the Foundation’s website.

A ban of this kind, issued by means of an extrajudicial procedure without any explanation and without a possibility of appeal, is unthinkable in a free country under the rule of law.

Only an inveterate Russophobe would think the defence of human rights and freedoms in Russia, supporting Russian political prisoners and Russian civil society, analysis of the situation in Russia and the country’s future perspectives, and the development of dialogue between Russian civil society and civil societies in Western countries — all activities for which the Free Russia Foundation is known — are a threat to the constitutional order, security and defence capability of our country.

Memorial Human Rights Centre considers the decision to designate the Free Russia Foundation as ‘undesirable’ must be rescinded, along with earlier decisions to include 15 other organisations in this list. The Federal Law ‘On remedial measures regarding persons involved in violations of the basic human rights and freedoms of citizens of the Russian Federation’, that introduced the practice of extrajudicial decisions impermissible in a civilized country, must itself also be rescinded.