Open Russia Deputy Chairman Faces Criminal Prosecution

April 2, 2018

The Deputy chairman of the Open Russia Movement Dmitry Semenov has come under investigation by Russian law enforcement agencies for alleged ‘collaboration with an undesirable foreign or non-governmental organisation’.

Semenov was detained by FSB agents on a city bus on January 17 2018 in Cheboksara while carrying a batch of stickers with the slogan “Stop Putin!” written across them.  This is now the third case opened up against the Open Russia deputy chairman, who, according to Semenov, is being pursued by “that FSB commander Mukhin, well-known among the opposition.”

Dmitry Semenov has already been fined twice for alleged collaboration with an ‘undesirable organisation’; a third time could, according to his lawyer, “lead to a real criminal case”.

Open Russia founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky commented on the case: “This is absolutely unlawful.  The Ministry of Justice itself says that there is no such organisation [Open Russia] in Russia, and even the FSB says that no such organisation exists in the United Kingdom either.”  Khodorkovsky continued, claiming that “If we have to we will continue to fight these cases in court until the very end, so that this will become an example to everyone: [those in the the Kremlin] do not even care for their own repressive laws.  Putin’s Russia is a completely lawless country.”

On April 26 2017 the British organisation OR (Otkrytaya Rossiya), the Open Russia Civic Movement and the Institute of Modern Russia (based in the USA) were declared ‘undesirable organisations’ by the Attorney General’s office in a broad sweep against the Russian democratic opposition.  The following day the Russian Ministry of Justice admitted that these organisations have no affiliation in the Russian Federation, and thus the Open Russia Movement cannot be considered an ‘undesirable organisation’.

 

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