The “Open Russia” organization, which is related to the exiled former oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia’s executive director Andrei Pivovarov told the Kommersant newspaper that he had stopped working in Russia and closed all its offices in the country to protect its members and supporters from prosecution. the leadership of the organization, reports APE.
“All members of ‘Open Russia’ are expelled from the organization, and their status as members is suspended – to avoid possible persecution. “We do not need new fines and prosecutions, and we want to protect our supporters,” Pivovarov said.
As the Kommersant newspaper wrote, police link “Open Russia” with the British organization founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky Open Russia Civic Movement, whose activity in Russia was described as “undesirable”. In 2019, this organization ceased to exist to protect its supporters, however, according to law enforcement agencies, its “coordinators” are still active in Russia. That’s why the “Inter-Russia Russia” forum was disbanded by the police in March, while the nearly 200 participants were referred by the police on charges of participating in an “undesirable” organization.
Andrei Pivovarov stressed that the decision on the self-dissolution of “Open Russia” is related to the amendments to the law on unwanted organizations, which are debated by the State Duma (lower house). “From now on, anyone connected with ‘Open Russia’ can be prosecuted. For ordinary activists it is enough to have a single administrative prosecution, while for executives and coordinators these formal conditions are not needed either. About 30 organizations are included in the list of unwanted organizations and typically our organization is not included. However, only against “Open Russia” activists were prosecuted for years. These amendments will undoubtedly be voted on. And then a real hunt will begin against our activists. “We can not allow that, that is why we are dissolving the organization in advance,” Pivovarov concluded.
THE Open Russia activist Tatiana Usmanova wrote on its Facebook page that the decision was taken “to protect the supporters” of the organization, noting that after the passage of amendments to Article 284 of the Penal Code we will not be able to simply act, as for all coordinators and followers there will be a risk go to jail for 6 years. Russia, however, has condemned activists for their relations with Open Russia. In February a court sentenced an activist to four years in prison on charges of engaging in activities on behalf of Open Russia.
THE “Open Russia” was founded in 2001 on the initiative of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The goals of the organization were to help make the people of Russia active, to develop creative initiatives, to uphold democratic values and to strengthen the institutions of civil society. The organization was dissolved twice in 2006 and 2009 and was registered in other forms, but these do not constitute successive forms.