Russian Attorney General Declares Open Russia ‘Undesirable Organisation’

April 26, 2017

Today the Russian Attorney General officially declared Open Russia’s activity ‘undesirable’.  The decision extends to Open Russia’s London-based office, as well as to the US-based Institute of Modern Russia.

This controversial decision comes just days before the Enough demonstrations are due to take place in over 30 Russian cities, where citizens will deliver official letters en masse to the Presidential Administration calling for Vladimir Putin to leave the Kremlin when his current term – officially third, in reality fourth – expires next spring.

The report cites the Open Russia movement’s involvement in “programmes and projects which seek to discredit the results of the coming presidential elections by declaring them illegitimate.”

Furthermore, in clear reference to the planned April 29 demonstrations, the report claims that “their [the organisation’s] activity is intended to inspire protest and to destabilise the country’s internal political situation, posing a threat to the constitutional foundation of the Russian Federation and the security of the state.”

The decision, however, has not gone uncontested.  Mikhail Khodorkovsky, speaking to the Russian-language media outlet TV Rain, confirmed that “The decision only concerns foreign legal bodies.  The Russian Open Russia movement exists separately and will continue to operate.”

When asked whether the decision was connected with the April 29 Enough demonstrations, Khodorkovsky answered “Without a doubt it is connected with the Enough demonstrations.  Our plans have not changed at all.  Quite the opposite; I think that such a terrified reaction from the government will only motivate more people to come out in to the streets and tell those in power that if they can not run the country properly and solve the issues that face Russian society, then they should leave.”