Solidarity against the persecution of NGOs as „foreign agents“ in Russia

Currently Russian environmental, human rights and other non-governmental organizations experience a wave of repression directed against critical extraparliamentary commitment. Under the disguise of transparency, societal dedication, if also receiving support from abroad, is stigmatized as „activity in foreign interest“. Thus, critical voices are supposed to be silenced. Legal NGOs whose activities are considered „political“ by the state, and which receive for instance foreign donations or grants from fundations, are forced to register as „foreign agent“ – a term relating to the espionage discourse in Russia during Cold War. In such a manner stigmatized organizations practically can‘t work any more and have to close down in consequence.

Recent examples are the Murmansk human rights organization „Humanistic Youth Movement“, who are faced to a trial about getting classified „foreign agent“ due to pressure of the Russian secret service FSB (former KGB), and the environmental organization „Ecodefense“, whose succesful campaign against the construction of a nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad was punished by the Ministry of Justice by the same declaration. Besides, Ecodefense is one of eleven Russian organizations who filed a complaint against the „foreign agent“ law to the European Court of Human Rights. Two representatives of the Humanistic Youth Movement have mandates in the regional Social Control Committee, whose members by law have extensive access to facilities of the prison regime, and disclose violations of the human rights convention as well as apply pressure to improve the conditions for prisoners. Both NGOs legally struggle against the imminent closure – though so far almost every „foreign agent“ procedure in Russia led to a sentence.

The „foreign agent“ law has been introduced 2012 after mass protests against manipulation and „irregularities“ during the last presidential election. NGOs were accounted for the incitement of the protest movement as they had organized election monitoring, and collected and published cases of manipulation. The „foreign agent“ law is vague that virtually every organization receiving some kind of support from abroad could be eliminated. Russian human rights organizations assess the law illegitimate and in conflict with the basic rights guaranteed by the Russian constitution.

We demand:
- The immediate suspension of all „foreign agent“ cases!
- The withdrawal of already conducted classifications of NGOs as „foreign agents“!
- The end of the criminalization of extraparliamentary societal commitment!

Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow-Dannenberg e.V. (Lüchow), MediNetz Jena e.V., Rote Hilfe e.V. – Ortsgruppe Bielefeld, Bundesverband Bürgerinitiativen Umweltschutz e.V. (Bonn), Wurzelwerk (Magdeburg), BI Ahaus, Frauenzentrum Regenbogen e.V. (Döbeln), anti-atom-büro Hamburg, UBiKuKuJuSo e.V. (Göttingen), Nexus (Braunschweig), Senshi Parkour (Magdeburg), Arbeitskreis gegen Atomanlagen (Frankfurt am Main), Grüne Toleranz (Döbeln), Steine für Morsleben (Zobbenitz), NaturFreunde Deutschlands e.V. (Berlin), NaturFreunde Berlin e.V. (Berlin), AK Internationales (Braunschweig), contrAtom (Wendland), AAPK – Anti_Atom_Plenum (Köln), Morsleben-Netzwerk (Magdeburg), Tanzfrauen (Döbeln), BI STOP TEMELIN (Marktredwitz), Betti Koketti (Biesenthal), Gemeinsam für Sonne+Freiheit (Sandl), web-designing – Verein zur Förderung emanzipatorischer Kommunikation e.V. (Darmstadt), FAIR (Döbeln), FIPS e.V. – Feministischer Internationaler Bildungsverein (Berlin), AAP – Anti-Atom-Plenum (Berlin), Jugendumweltnetzwerk Niedersachsen – JANUN e.V. (Hannover), Projekthaus (Döbeln), KoKomA (Magdeburg), Anders Leben (Müncheberg), EMA – Erich Mühsam Assoziation / MAI – Muehsam Association International (Berlin), Greenkids e.V. (Magdeburg), BUND Kreisgruppe (Koblenz), Aktive der Wietze/n-Kampagne (Braunschweig), A.L.I.E.N. (Berlin), Anti-Atom-Gruppe Osnabrück, ZWISCHENLAGER für Politik und Geschichte (Mannsdorf), Greenhouse Infopool (Berlin), A-Laden (Berlin), Löwenzahn e.V. (Magdeburg), Frauen für Frieden (Finnland), urgewald (Sassenberg), Nuclear Heritage Network (Döbeln), Begegnung von Menschen unterschiedlicher Kultur (Döbeln), atomstopp_atomkraftfrei leben! (Linz), SJ – Die Falken Kreisverband (Braunschweig), AK Offene Räume (Göttingen), Frauen Gegen Atomkraft (Finnland), Aktionsbündnis Münsterland gegen Atomanlagen, ATOMIC BALTIC network/project (Döbeln), Antisexismus-AK (Braunschweig), AntiAtomPlenum (Göttingen), Hedonistische Antinationale, Aktive des Kampagnenbüros (Braunschweig), uranium-network.org (Freiburg), Redaktion Graswurzelrevolution (Münster), Anti-Atom-Berlin (Berlin), Ecologistas en Acción (Madrid), AKU Gronau, Umweltinstitut München e.V., AANK – Anti-Atom-Netz (Koblenz), CND Cymru (Cymru), Arbeitskreis Leben nach Tschernobyl in der ev. Kirchengemeinde Lang-Göns (Langgöns), Fukushima Mahnwache Schönberg (Schleswig-Holstein), SOFA Münster, ökosccouts e.V. (Braunschweig), biblio:media>take (Wien), Quercus – National Association for Nature Conservation (Lissabon), Atomic Café des AZ Mülheim (Mülheim/Ruhr), Schöner Leben Göttingen, Civil Nuclear Monitor (Warschau), Alarm e.V. (Offenburg), AKW-Nee-Gruppe Aachen, WISE – World Information Service on Energy (Amsterdam), NuclearConsult (UK), AG Russland (Leipzig), Friends of the Earth France (Montreuil, Seine-Saint-Denis), Re:Common (Rom), Rote Hilfe e.V. – Ortsgruppe Leipzig, Réseau Sortir du nucléaire (Lyon), Tierbefreiung Hamburg, Ecoclub (Riwne), Resistance for Peace (Wien), Lebensraum am Fluss e.V. (Magdeburg), South West Against Nuclear (UK), JANUN e.V. (Hannover), ECOHOME (Minsk), Rote Hilfe e.V. (Göttingen)