Newsletters / The Open Russia First Quarter Review

Hello everyone,

2019 has been full of shocks and surprises for our Open Russia team. We’ve had to cope with increasing political pressure from the Kremlin, which has sparked a global support campaign for one of our activists, Anastasia Shevchenko. We’ve got all the details of the biggest moments so far in 2019 below.

Persecution of Open Russia activist sparks international outrage

On 21 January, 2019, mother of two Nastya Shevchenko was arrested in an unprecedented case of political persecution in Russia. She faces six years in prison. People from around the world have spoken out against this injustice. Amnesty International recognised her as a prisoner of conscience. Thousands marched in Moscow in solidarity with Nastya, and US Senators published a statement calling for Nastya’s release. Nastya’s full story here.

Under pressure from the Kremlin: Open Russia Movement forced to liquidate

Nastya Shevchenko was only one of the several Open Russia activists persecuted by the Kremlin in 2019. Increased personal risks for Open Russia activists have led them to liquidate the Open Russia Movement on 30 March. A new organisation called the Russian social organisation Open Russia has replaced the Movement. We hope this will protect our activists from politically-motivated arrests in the future. You can read the full manifesto here.

Open Russia elects new leadership with exciting new vision

In March, Open Russia held its annual conference in Riga. Hundreds of activists attended the conference to discuss the organisation’s future. Activists elected Anastasia Burakova as chair of Open Russia. Anastasia is a distinguished lawyer from the Open Russia Human Rights team. Anastasia wants to get more legal support for Open Russia activists, so that they can run more successful civic campaigns. Find out more about Anastasia and the Riga conference here.

Open Russia activists launch new freedom forum

On 23 February, 2019, Open Russia launched a new civil discussion forum called “Free People”. The first forum took place in Tyumen and was attended by over 230 people. Independent journalists, regional experts and local politicians came along to discuss the most prevalent issues facing residents in Tyumen, as well as what they envisaged as the Russia of their dreams.

Nominations for 2019 Journalism as a Profession Awards open

On 4 March, 2019, Open Russia opened up nominations for the annual Journalism as a Profession Awards. The awards celebrate the best of independent Russian-Language journalism. We have an expert panel that selects the best nominations for each of the seven categories. The awards ceremony is held each year in one of Europe’s beautiful capital cities. Find out about how to make a nomination here.