US complains about Russia’s Intensifying Crackdown on Independent Civil Society
The USA, 27 January 2023
Ned Price, Department Spokesperson
In recent days, the Kremlin has struck more blows against independent civil society and media. On January 25, a Moscow court ruled to close the Moscow Helsinki Group, Russia’s oldest human rights organization and the inspiration for citizens’ groups monitoring human rights in the Europe-Eurasia region and around the world. The Kremlin’s crackdown on independent civil society and media at home creates a climate of impunity that enables its aggression against its neighbors.
The Moscow Helsinki Group is among the most recent targets of Russian authorities’ expanding crackdown on the exercise of human rights, including freedom of expression. Recent Russian designations of the Andrey Sakharov Foundation and independent news outlet Meduza as “undesirable,” effectively outlawing their activities in Russia, are further examples of the Kremlin’s intensifying campaign to cut off independent sources of information and silence voices of conscience.
The United States stands in solidarity with courageous human rights defenders, independent journalists, and pro-democracy advocates in Russia who continue their work despite considerable risk. We call for the unconditional release of the hundreds of political prisoners Russia continues to hold, including those deprived of their freedom for taking a principled stance against the Russian government’s war of aggression against Ukraine. We call again on the government of Russia to end its brutal aggression abroad and acts of repression at home, both of which violate international law and contravene Helsinki Final Act principles on respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and the human rights of all people.