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Russian court liquidates major human rights NGO

by Nate Ostiller August 18, 2023 5:49 PM 1 min read
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The Moscow City Court on Aug. 18 liquidated the Sakharov Center, a non-governmental organization focused on human rights, education, and culture.

The center, named after famed Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was opened in 1996 to honor his legacy and to draw attention to the history and legacy of repression in the Soviet Union.

In 2014, the center was added to the list of foreign agents, which made their work increasingly more difficult.

After Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the Sakharov Center received a variety of complaints from the Ministry of Justice, leading to an order to be evicted from its Moscow office in March 2023.

Sergei Lukashevsky, the director of the center, said in a Facebook post that the decision to liquidate the center was “disgusting, but reflects reality.”

Without acknowledging the validity of the various complaints directed at the center, he added that, “everything that is happening today is exactly the opposite of what Sakharov fought for.”

The liquidation of the Sakharov Center comes amidst the wider crackdown on civil society in Russia. Another target of the repression is the human rights organization Memorial, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022.

Despite the court’s decision, Lukashesky vowed that there was a future for the center.

“We will continue our work,” he said. “The legacy belongs not to the regime, but to the people.”

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