Newsletters / Kremlin declares Khodorkovsky’s charitable projects undesirable

Future of Russia Foundation, Khodorkovsky Foundation, Oxford Russia Foundation and European Choice were all declared “undesirable” by Russian Prosecutor General’s Office.  The charitable organizations linked to Mikhail Khodorkovsky support various projects, including educational projects that improve the quality of education for ordinary Russians and undergrad student scholarships in numerous Russian universities.

Earlier this month another educational and research project linked to Khodorkovsky called The Social Sciences Lab was forced to close its operations due to changes in the Russian law. Open Russia, a different organization founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was declared undesirable in April 2017.

The Khodorkovsky Foundation has for over twenty years helped thousands of children from disadvantaged families to get a good education in Russia and in top European universities. These government actions harm Russian citizens.
Such steps increasingly isolate Russia from Europe, depriving Russians of engagement and dialogue with Europe under the guise of protecting constitutional order. They force thinking and active citizens to leave their own country.

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The “undesirable organization” law, adopted in May 2015, gives prosecutors the power to extrajudicially declare international organizations “undesirable” in Russia and shut them down. As of this week Russian citizens face up to six years in prison if found guilty of organizing the operations of “undesirable” in Russia, while Russian citizens and entities anywhere in the world are forbidden from participating in activities of any entity labeled “undesirable” in Russia.

Andrey Pivovarov, former executive director of Otkrytka, was arrested on May 31 for allegedly violating Russia’s legislation on “undesirable organizations”. He was declared political prisoner by Memorial. On May 27 Otkrytka said that they were forced to dissolve the organization to protect supporters.

The law and the decision to harshen it in May is a push from the Kremlin to block any independent organizations from operating in Russia. The register of “undesirable” organization includes high profile international actors such as National Endowment for Democracy and Open Society Foundation. Lately the register started to target Academia, with  Bard College  being most recent addition to the list.