Person of the Week: Ilya Novikov

posted 3 Jul 2017, 06:01 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Jul 2017, 06:11 ]
Photo: RFE/RL

On 29 June 2017 Ilya Novikov, a deputy head of the Open Russia civic movement and head of the organization's office in Tatarstan, announced that he had “temporarily” left Russia to avoid what he called “persecutions.” As 
RFE/RL reported, Novikov described the threat he considers he faces in Russia as “large-scale persecutions against those engaged in any political action” that included “constant attempts by police to conduct searches” at his workplace. RFE/RL reported that Novikov said the authorities were trying to punish him for his political activities and prevent him from criticizing the government. 

On 26 April 2017, the Prosecutor-General's Office declared that three NGOs founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former head of Yukos who now lives in the UK, had been designated as “undesirable foreign organizations.” Amnesty International described the development as "the latest [steps] in a longstanding crackdown on civil society." The three organizations were: Open Russia Civic Movement, Open Russia (UK), OR (Otkrytaya Rossia) (UK) and Institute of Modern Russia (USA). The next day, an estimated 25 riot police raided the Moscow offices of Open Russia. The same day (28 April 2017) Ilya Novikov was sentenced to five days in jail for calling on people to take part in a demonstration on 29 April which did not have official permission, under the slogan 'We've had enough.' 

Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International Russia, commented on the banning of the Open Russia organizations: "These aren’t the first organizations banned in Russia as ‘undesirable’, but it’s the first time the authorities ban a civil society group that was founded by Russians and operates only in Russia. Since its creation, Open Russia has done a lot to support victims of human rights violations in Russia and denounce Russia’s deplorable human rights record, and now itself has fallen victim to the system.” 
 
Sources:
'Open Russia Deputy Head Leaves Country, Citing Police Pressure,' RFE/RL, 30 June 2017
'Russian authorities ban Khodorkovsky’s organization Open Russia as "undesirable",' Amnesty International, 26 April 2017
'Police Raid Open Russia Moscow Headquarters,' Khodorkovsky, 27 April 2017
'List of foreign and international NGOs designated as undesirable on Russian territory [ПЕРЕЧЕНЬ ИНОСТРАННЫХ И МЕЖДУНАРОДНЫХ НЕПРАВИТЕЛЬСТВЕННЫХ ОРГАНИЗАЦИЙ, ДЕЯТЕЛЬНОСТЬ КОТОРЫХ ПРИЗНАНА НЕЖЕЛАТЕЛЬНОЙ НА ТЕРРИТОРИИ РОССИЙСКОЙ ФЕДЕРАЦИИ],' Ministry of Justice of Russia
'Head of Open Russia office arrested in Kazan,' Crime Russia, 28 April 2017


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