By Michael Mariotte

Ecodefense was instrumental in stopping construction of the Baltic Nuclear Plant near Kaliningrad, Russia. Now, the Russian government wants to shut down Ecodefense.

For more than a year, we have been following the saga of Russia’s crackdown on civil society and in particular the state’s efforts to disempower or shut down the country’s most active and effective anti-nuclear organization, Ecodefense. As we reported last June, Russia labeled Ecodefense a “foreign agent”–essentially accusing it of spying and being controlled by outside nations. It, and a handful of human rights organizations, were the first in the nation to be targeted under Russia’s “foreign agent” law adopted in 2012 but only begun to be enforced last year. The law is ostensibly aimed at reducing Western influence in Russia; in reality it’s attempting to weaken all organizations that seek to challenge any aspect of Vladimir Putin’s regime. Ecodefense is being targeted for its success in organizing and mobilizing the public and stopping construction of new nuclear reactors in the nation, not for posing a threat to the government.

Ecodefense and its leader Vladimir Slivyak have consistently refused to accept the “foreign agent” label and have refused to pay fines associated with its unwillingness to accept that label. In this GreenWorld post from last July, Slivyak explained why it is so important that Ecodefense resist the government on this issue.

The post below, written by Charles Digges and published by the international environmental organization Bellona last week, will bring you up-to-date on the issue, and Ecodefense’s consistent and principled “civil disobedience” in refusing to accept Russia’s mandated designation–even though it could mean the end of the organization.

Full disclosure: Vladimir Slivyak is a longtime personal friend and ex officio board member of NIRS. Reprinted from Bellona with permission.

–Michael Mariotte

Bold Russian anti-nuke group waves off foreign agent law, refuses to pay mounting fines

Russia’s Ecodefense anti-nuclear group has again been fined for refusing to register as a “foreign agent” with the country’s Justice Ministry in a court hearing to which the group’s co-chair, Vladimir Slivyak, said the organization had not even been invited to attend.

Russia’s Ecodefense anti-nuclear group has again been fined for refusing to register as a “foreign agent” with the country’s Justice Ministry in a court hearing to which the group’s co-chair, Vladimir Slivyak, said the organization had not even been invited to attend.

Slivyak told Bellona in an interview that Ecodefense was informed only Monday, July 20 that a judge in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad had on July 3 levied another 100,000 ruble ($1,700) fine against his organization for failing to register as a foreign agent.

He said his group never received any summons for the July 3 hearing, and as such, would refuse to pay the fine.

slivyak

Vladimir Slivyak

The foreign agent self-appellation is required under Russia’s controversial 2012 NGO law stipulating that non-profits receiving foreign funding and engaging in vaguely defined political activity must register as foreign agents and submit to onerous reporting and …read more

Read more here:: http://safeenergy.org/2015/07/23/russias-ecodefense-ignores-russian/