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Russia cracks down on environmental group Ecodefense – classed as “foreign agent”

censorshipflag_RussiaReactors from Russia are unsafe and unreliable, India shouldn’t buy them: Russian environmentalist Vladimir Slivyak DiaNuke.org, 9 Jan 15  “……….You were termed anti-national and had to face govt repression for raising voice on nuclear safety and environmental impacts in Russia. What is the status now? Why do the industry and govt go so hand-in-glove?

highly-recommendedRussia approved the “Foreign agent” Act in November 2012 which was an instrument to punish civil society criticizing the government. By Summer 2014, Ministry of justice started to forcibly include human rights and environmental groups to official list of “foreign agents” published on the ministry’ web-site. My organization – Ecodefense – was one of the first 10 non-governmental groups included to this list. And first environmental organization on this list.

It is probably symbolic that anti-nuclear group became the first environmental organization on the list of “foreign agents”. Sort of main enemy of the state among environmental movement. We never had any foreign influence on our decisions, and never had foreign people in our organization. Ironically, our work was to big extend focused on stopping the import of foreign radioactive waste to Russia, and also on stopping foreign money for new reactors in Russia. We also did campaigns on education, on climate issues, on coal. But according to official statement by the Ministry of justice, Ecodefense was put on the list of “foreign agents” for specific campaign against construction of nuclear plant near the city of Kaliningrad, my hometown.

We responded to governmental action by declaring that we will not accept the status of “foreign agent” and we will not follow legal requirements for “agents”. For one simple reason – Ecodefense is not anyone’s agent. Our work aims to stop nuclear danger, and not to benefit any government, Russian or foreign. We were openly criticizing Kudankulam project and many other projects of Rosatom, and we were criticizing European company Urenco (and its shareholders RWE and E.On) for sending radioactive waste to Russia.
It’s 6 month already since government declared us a “foreign agent”. We were fined for quite big amount of money for resisting to register as “foreign agent”. We have another lawsuit filed by the Ministry of justice for not following legal requirements for “agents”, this one is in court now. We got 4 other fines, both personal and organizational. We had three branches of Ecodefense legally registered in Russia. Two are closed down by the court in December. And we are struggling in court for our third organization in court. Unfortunately, we spend now a lot of time in courts. Expectations are not good, our last organization may be closed down this year, likely……….http://www.dianuke.org/russian-reactors-are-unsafe-and-unreliable-india-shouldnt-buy-them-russian-environmentalist-vladimir-slivyak/

January 14, 2015 - Posted by | civil liberties, Reference, Russia

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