Declaration in Solidarity with Russian Environmental NGO Ecodefense

45 NGOs from around the world stand by our friends in Russia. Stop the criminalisation of human rights and environment defenders!

Ecodefense is one of the oldest environmental groups in Russia, founded in 1989 in Kaliningrad. It works in various regions of Russia including Moscow, Kaliningrad and Siberia (Kuzbass) and has already successfully stopped nuclear power plants and coal mines.

In 2014 the Russian government officially labeled Ecodefense as a “foreign agent”, because the organisation convinced a number of investors from Europe not to invest in a nuclear plant near Kaliningrad, which stopped the plant’s construction in mid-2013.

The Russian Ministry of Justice initiated 28 legal (administrative) cases against Ecodefense for non-compliance with the law, leading to fines totaling Euro 30,000, which the organization did not pay until now. Ecodefense turned to the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) in the collective case “Ecodefense and Others vs Russia” together with 61 Russian civil society groups that were affected by the law on foreign agents.

In May 2019, the situation worsened even further: Russian authorities launched 5 criminal cases against Ecodefense. These charges could mean a jail-sentence of up to two years for the organisation’s director, Alexandra Koroleva.

Though Ecodefense is not the first NGO to refuse to pay its fines, it is the first case so far in which the authorities have launched a criminal case against a civil society organization. This is a dangerous precedent, which could lead to further crackdowns on the civil society of Russia!

Declaring Ecodefense a foreign agent as well as the criminal charges against the organization are clearly driven by political motives.

In solidarity with Ecodefense

  • we demand all charges against Alexandra Koroleva and her organization to be dropped immediately
  • we will actively spread information on the political repression of Ecodefense, to make sure their case stays in the public realm
  • we are collecting donations for Ecodefense to pay their – wrongfully imposed – fines, as this could help to ease their current situation.

Signed by:

  • AAPK – Anti-Atom Plenum Köln, Germany
  • AKU Schüttorf, Germany
  • AntiAtomBonn, Germany
  • AntiAtom-Euskirchen, Germany
  • Arbeitsgruppe Schweiz-Kolumbien, Schweiz
  • Banktrack
  • BBU – Bundesverband Bürgerinitiativen Umweltschutz, Germany
  • Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow-Dannenberg, Germany
  • Citizens Awareness Network, USA
  • ClientEarth
  • Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe
  • Coal Action Network, UK
  • Colombia Solidarity Campaign, UK
  • Colombia Solidarity Denmark
  • Dachverband der Kritischen Aktionärinnen und Aktionäre, Germany
  • Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V., Germany
  • Earthlife Africa Jhb, South Africa
  • Ecoclub, Ukraine
  • Europe Beyond Coal
  • FERN, Belgium/UK
  • Friends of the Earth USA
  • Fundacja “Rozwój TAK – Odkrywki NIE”, Poland
  • Global Energy Monitor, USA
  • Greenpeace
  • groundWork, Friends of the Earth South Africa
  • IIDMA – instituto internacional de derecho y medio ambiente, Spain
  • Klima-Allianz Deutschland, Germany
  • Latvian Environmental Protection Club
  • Les Amis de la Terre, France
  • London Mining Network, UK
  • MISEREOR, Germany
  • Naturfreunde Berlin
  • Naturfreunde Deutschlands
  • Nuclear Information and Resource Service, USA
  • Ökumenisches Netz Rhein-Mosel-Saar, Germany
  • Oil Change International
  • PowerShift e.V., Germany
  • Re:Common, Italy
  • Research Group CoalExit, TU Berlin, Germany
  • Umweltinstitut München, Germany
  • urgewald e.V., Germany
  • Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance, USA
  • WWF Germany

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