Russia: blocking of five Khodorkovsky websites is latest crackdown on Kremlin critics

The targeting of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s websites appears to be part of an effort to expunge all trace of him from Russian political life © Getty Images

Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s websites targeted in effort to ‘expunge’ all trace of the Kremlin critic from Russian politics and society

‘The Russian authorities are clearly targeting Open Russia in a bid to suffocate dissent and pluralism in the Russian media’ - Denis Krivosheev

Reacting to the 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 are clearly targeting Open Russia in a bid to suffocate dissent and pluralism in the Russian media and expunge Khodorkovsky’s presence in Russian politics and society.
 
“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. 

“Today’s 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.” 

Late yesterday, the Russian Prosecutor’s Office blacklisted four websites of the Open Russia movement as well as a personal site of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s, and requested that the official media regulator - Roskomnadzor - block access to all five sites. The decision came into force today.
 
Last month, the Russian 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. 
 
Meanwhile, Open Russia activists in Russia have also been targeted through multiple interrogations and searches of its staff and offices.
 

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