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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Kremlin steps up crackdown on civil society in Russia

The State Department called the Russian court’s decision to shut down Moscow’s Helsinki Group “a further blow to independent civil society” in Russia.

On January 25, a court ordered the closure of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Russia’s oldest human rights organization charged with monitoring human rights in Europe and Eurasia.

“The Kremlin’s repressive actions against independent civil society and the media in the country create an atmosphere of impunity that allows aggression against neighbors,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said. He also called “undesirable” the recent statement by the Andrei Sakharov Foundation and the independent news agency Meduza, effectively banning their activities in Russia.

“The United States stands in solidarity with the courageous human rights activists, independent journalists, and democracy advocates in Russia who continue their work despite significant risk. We call for the unconditional release of hundreds of political prisoners who continue to be detained in Russia, including those imprisoned for their principled stand against the Russian government’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

The United States has called on Russian authorities to end military aggression abroad and repression at home, which violate international law and contradict the principles of the Helsinki Accords.

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