Amnesty condemns Russia over crackdown on Kremlin critics



A human rights group has condemned Russian authorities’ blocking of five websites run by the Open Russia movement founded by the former Russian prisoner of conscience and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Amnesty International’s deputy director for Europe and Central Asia, Denis Krivosheev, said the Russian authorities were “clearly targeting” Open Russia in a “bid to suffocate dissent and pluralism in the Russian media”.

He added: “Following bans on UK-registered branches of Open Russia in April, the Prosecutor’s Office gave assurances that the ban wouldn’t affect the activities of the Russian-based movement of the same name.

“ events now show that promise to be nothing more than a brazen lie.

“The authorities have shown their true intent to target and harass Open Russia out of existence.”

Earlier this week, the Russian Prosecutor’s Office blacklisted four websites of the Open Russia movement as well as a personal site of Mr Khodorkovsky’s and requested that the official media regulator - Roskomnadzor - block access to all five sites. The decision came into force yesterday.

Last month, the Duma passed an amendment to allow for the blocking of websites of “undesirable organisations” without judicial review.

The UK-based Open Russia and its sister organisation Open Russia Civic Movement were banned as “undesirable organisations” in April. At the time, the Prosecutor’s Office’s spokesperson gave assurances that the ban wouldn’t affect the activities of the Russian-based movement of the same name.