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Moscow Court Orders Closure Of Sova Analytical Center

Alexander Verkhovsky, the director of the Sova Center for Information and Analysis. Gleb Schelkunov / Kommersant

A Russian court has ordered the closure of the Sova Analytical Center, one of the country's leading research centers monitoring nationalist and racist movements, Interfax reported Thursday.

Russia’s Justice Ministry in March filed a court order to shut the group down, accusing SOVA of carrying out its activities across Russia despite only being registered in Moscow.

The Moscow City Court approved the ministry’s request Thursday, Interfax reported.

In a Telegram post, Sova said it plans to appeal the court’s decision and will continue to operate until the liquidation order comes into effect.

“We insist that the Justice Ministry's inspection was carried out in violation of the law — we were not notified properly,” the center said, adding that its liquidation was a disproportionate punishment for carrying out activities outside its place of registration.

The court’s order comes amid a worsening crackdown on Russia’s human rights groups and independent organizations amid the war in Ukraine.

This month, human rights group the Sakharov Center was evicted from its Moscow headquarters as a result of the organization’s designation as a “foreign agent” in 2014.

In January, Russia ordered the closure of the Moscow Helsinki Group, one of Russia’s most prominent and respected human rights organizations founded in 1976.

Last year, a Russian court also upheld an order dissolving another prominent rights group, Memorial, which was subsequently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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