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Russia declares US-based NGO Freedom House 'undesirable' organization

by Martin Fornusek May 7, 2024 9:36 PM 2 min read
Freedom House logo. (Freedom House/Facebook)
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Russia declared Freedom House, a U.S. nonprofit advocating for international democracy, as an "undesirable" organization, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office said on May 7.

Russia's "undesirable organization" law was adopted in 2015, effectively banning cooperation with about 160 organizations included on the list since then.

Russian prosecutors justified their decision by Freedom House allegedly "promoting... a 'dominant' role of the United States in the world" and supporting pro-Ukrainian policies.

The statement further read that the NGO provides "informational, financial, and legal support" to "Russian opposition structures, pro-Western and LGBT activists... and persons convicted of committing terrorist crimes."

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Amnesty International said in February that Russia increasingly uses vague anti-terrorism legislation to "silence voices of opposition and instill fear among those who dare to speak out."

The country has also adopted progressively repressive legislation and restrictions targeting the local LGBT community.

A Russian parliamentary committee said in March that the authorities would begin investigating the inclusion of Freedom House in the list of "undesirables."

Freedom House has repeatedly pointed out the deteriorating state of democracy in Russia as Vladimir Putin's regime ramps up pressure against domestic opposition, free media, and civil society.

The NGO's Freedom in the World 2024 report assigned Russia a democracy score of 13 out of 100, classifying the country as "Not Free."

The Kyiv Independent has reached out to Freedom House for comment but has not received a response at the time of the publication.

Freedom House: Ukraine on democratic path amid rising authoritarianism in region
Ukraine is one of the few among the group of 29 countries evaluated by Freedom House in the Nations in Transit 2024 report that is moving successfully toward democracy amid growing anti-democratic trends.
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