News Brief

Open Russia’s Website Blocked in Russia

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media regulatory body, has enforced the Prosecutor General’s decision to block access to the website of Open Russia, one of the most significant advocates of human rights and democracy in Russia.

Open Russia, which was founded by Russian dissident businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky, said most internet providers had already blocked the site along with connected sites such as, “Open Elections” and “Open University” in response to Roskomnadzor’s announcement.

Last April, Russia’s Prosecutor General branded the UK branch of the organization as “undesirable” saying that its activities were “aimed at inciting protests and destabilizing [Russia’s] domestic political situation, presenting a threat to Russia’s constitutional foundations and the security of the state.”

While an organization branded as “undesirable” is immediately banned from operating in Russia and anyone working for the organization faces serious fines and possible incarceration, legal difficulties prevented authorities from blocking the organization’s websites until now.

A State Duma amendment passed last month laid the groundwork for this decision by simplifying the process for banning websites.

The decision places the site on a registry of sites which call for extremist activities and distribute informational materials for foreign and international NGOs.

“The Open Russia website was blocked after a request by the General Prosecutor. But we are continuing to work!” read a statement released by the organization.