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Russia Outlaws Lithuania-Based Opposition Forum as ‘Undesirable’

Garry Kasparov, co-founder of the Free Russia Forum. Free Russia Forum

Russia has added the Free Russia Forum, a platform uniting leading figures of Russia’s liberal opposition, to its list of “undesirable” organizations, the Prosecutor General's Office said Wednesday. 

The Prosecutor General's Office said a review of the Lithuania-based organization's activities concluded that it “poses a threat to the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation.”

Organizations labeled as “undesirable” must disband within Russia, and individuals who cooperate with “undesirable” groups run the risk of felony charges.

The Free Russia Forum has not yet responded to the designation.

The forum was co-founded by Russian chess grandmaster-turned-political activist Garry Kasparov and opposition politician Ivan Tyutrin in 2016, when the group organized the first conference of the Russian opposition. 

Since then, it has held a total of 11 opposition conferences and three conferences uniting Russian anti-war activists and opposition figures. 

Among the many groups working under the Free Russia Forum’s umbrella are allies of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the liberal PARNAS and Yabloko parties and the Memorial human rights group. 

Russian authorities have moved to gradually restrict the country’s civil society groups, opposition activists and independent press over the past decade, with the crackdown escalating drastically following the invasion of Ukraine.

Last week, Meduza, one of the most popular independent Russian-language news websites, was also labeled an “undesirable” organization, with the Prosecutor General’s Office also citing its alleged threat to Russia’s “constitutional order and security.”

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