“Eight years too late”: Vladimir Slivyak reacts to European court ruling on Russia’s “Foreign Agents” Law

Press releases 14.06.2022

Russia’s “Foreign Agents” Law has violated the rights of civil society organisations whose work had been restricted under the law, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday.

2021 Right Livelihood Laureate Vladimir Slivyak’s organisation, Ecodefense, was among the NGOs that first brought the case against Russia at the European court.

He reacted to the news of the ruling, saying:

“It is good that the court has finally ruled in favour of Ecodefense and the many other Russian organisations against Russia’s abusive Foreign Agents Law that has been suffocating Russian civil society. It is now clear to everyone that our human rights have been violated by Russian authorities.”

“However, this ruling comes eight years too late. Would the court have done a speedy investigation, as we asked for back in 2013, this ruling could have influenced modern history in Russia. At least, it would have given us some more years to try to stop the increasingly autocratic developments in my home country,” Slivyak said.

Several Russian organisations’ work has been restricted in recent years under the law requiring all non-governmental organisations receiving foreign funding and carrying out “political activities” to register as “foreign agents” with the government. The label comes with increased scrutiny and administrative hurdles, damage to organisations’ finances and reputation, and even the risk of liquidation.

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