Free Russia Foundation Launches #NoToWar Campaign

Dmitry Zimin, Russian Philanthropist, Educator and Founder of the Dynasty Foundation, Passes Away at 88

Dec 22 2021

On December 22, 2021 Dmitry Zimin, a Russian philanthropist, who was renowned globally for his strong support of science and education as key pillars of the societal progress, passed away in Switzerland. His son Boris Zimin announced it on his Facebook page.

Dmitry Zimin was 88 years old.

His son specified that Zimin had been battling an illness. “My father was a great lover of life and lived a great life. Thank him for everything, for what he created, for what he was <…> He left in full consciousness, peaceful, a little sad about us and life, but still with relief — he had been seriously ill for the last few months,” wrote Boris Zimin.

Dmitry Zimin was born in Moscow in 1933. He graduated from the Department of Aircraft Radioelectronics at the MAI. In the early 1960s he joined the Radio-Technical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences, where he rose from laboratory chief to director of the Radio-Technical Equipment Development Center. He was involved in scientific research and published more than 100 scientific papers, including some of his own inventions.

Since the early 2000s, Dmitry Zimin had been involved in charitable work. He created the Dynasty Foundation in 2001, almost immediately after he resigned as CEO of VimpelCom. Zimin gave away almost all of his earnings — “with the permission of his family” — to a charitable foundation, from which none of his relatives are allowed to receive money. He formulated its mission as follows: “search and support of talents, their ideas and projects in the field of natural and social sciences.”

Zimin believed that one of the main problems of Russia is “washing out” of the intellectual elite from the country: “It is not only about financing, which is also a very important issue, but it is more about creating an atmosphere of creativity, an atmosphere of freedom. <…> So far we are witnessing degradation. <…> So far we see degradation. Personally I do everything that depends on me to solve this problem — I gave almost everything I had, trying to support scientists.”

The foundation awarded grants and scholarships to young scientists-physicists, mathematicians, and biologists. In addition, Dynasty sent young researchers to international scientific programs and helped organize scientific conferences in Russia.

The first thing the foundation did in 2002 was to award grants and scholarships to young physicists. Research projects are funded  by the Scientific Council of the Foundation through scholarship (5400 rubles per month for one year) and grants (10800 rubles per month for three years). Candidates of Science can receive support of 19500 rubles per month, Doctor of Science — 26000 rubles. In 2014 alone, 92 Russian physicists received support from the foundation.

Since 2004, the foundation has organized an annual all-Russian competition for teachers of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. Winners are selected by university students votes. In 2014, about 500 teachers received grants of 38,000 rubles each; the four winners of the Award for Excellence in Education received 150,000 rubles each. Since 2009 there has been a contest of educational projects for schoolchildren: the scientific council of Dynasty selects clubs, science schools, and science tournaments, which receive from 300 to 600 thousand rubles in financial aid.

Since 2006, Dynasty has published 83 popular science books, including “God as Illusion” by Richard Dawkins, and “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond. The Foundation distributes all the books released to libraries throughout Russia.

In addition to natural sciences and mathematics, Dynasty has supported the Liberal Mission Foundation since 2005, whose mission was “to develop and disseminate liberal values and ideas in Russia.” Under the leadership of Yevgeny Yasin, the foundation held roundtables and published collections of articles. In 2004, the Liberal Mission published the book “Down Vertical Path”, and in 2013, the book “Law and Power.”

In 2012-2014, Dynasty invested more than 300 million rubles annually in scientific and educational projects.

In 2015, Zimin announced the liquidation of the foundation. This happened because the Ministry of Justice included Dynasty in the list of so-called “foreign agents.” The “foreign agents” registry also included the Russian Media Support Foundation “Sreda”, which was created by Dmitry Zimin’s son Boris. After that, the organization decided to liquidate.

In 2016, Dmitry Zimin and his son founded the Zimin Foundation, an international NGO that supports education and science around the world.

Zimin was the first and only Russian citizen to be awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy for his social investment work. He was conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree by the Tel Aviv University in Israel. Zimin was also recogninzed by the Russian Ministry of Science and Education “For Commitment to Science.” He established the prestigious literary award Premya Prosvetitel (“Enlightener Prize”), which annually awards prizes to the best authors of popular science books in Russian language. Zimin established the Dynasty Library project to translate and publish over 100 international works on popular science in Russian language. In addition to the monetary prizes (700,000 rubles), the laureates receive the opportunity to widely distribute their texts — the Foundation is buying up 500 books by the finalists for distribution to Russian libraries.

Free Russia Foundation Condemns the Signing of the Treaty on the “Incorporation of New Territories into Russia,” De Facto the Annexation of the Occupied Territories of Ukraine

Sep 30 2022

On Friday, September 30, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the heads of the self-proclaimed “Luhansk People’s Republic” and “Donetsk People’s Republic,” as well as the occupation administrations of Zaporizhia and Kherson regions, signed treaties in the Kremlin on “joining Russia.”

Free Russia Foundation strongly condemns the decision of Vladimir Putin and his administration to continue the illegal annexation of the occupied territories in Ukraine. The forcible change of international borders at the expense of another sovereign state and the so-called “referenda” that preceded it are a serious violation of the foundations of international law and cannot be recognized under any circumstances.

Natalia Arno, president of Free Russia Foundation: “Today Vladimir Putin has de facto announced the illegal annexation of the occupied territory of a sovereign state. The signing of this treaty is a blatant violation of the fundamental norms of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, of which Russia is a member. Such actions by the Russian President, together with previously announced military mobilization and nuclear blackmail, only lead to an escalation of the conflict and new human sacrifices. In the modern world, borders cannot be redrawn at gunpoint. Russia’s actions are illegal and unacceptable to the civilized world.”

Free Russia Foundation, which provides support to Russian activists, journalists, and human rights defenders, calls on all countries and international organizations to join us in resolute and public condemnation of Russian military aggression and its illegal actions to tear away the territory of sovereign Ukraine. We urge you to call on the Kremlin to cease its hostilities and leave the territories it has seized.

Free Russia Foundation Condemns the Kremlin’s Decision to Annex the Occupied Territories of Ukraine and Preparations for Mobilization in Russia

Sep 20 2022

On September 20, 2022, the occupation authorities of the self-proclaimed republics “LNR” and “DNR” and other occupied territories of Ukraine, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, hastily announced that they would hold “referendums on joining Russia” in the near future. The authorities of the “LNR” and “DNR” added that the vote will take place as early as this week, from September 23 to 27, 2022.

On the same day, the Russian State Duma introduced the concepts of “mobilization,” “martial law” and “wartime” into the Russian Criminal Code. The deputies voted for the law in the third reading unanimously — all 389 of them. Now voluntary surrender, looting and unauthorized abandonment of a unit during combat operations will result in imprisonment.

From the first day of the war unleashed by Putin’s regime and its allies against independent Ukraine, Free Russia Foundation, which supports Russian activists, journalists, and human rights activists forced to leave the country because of direct security threats, has condemned the crimes of Putin’s regime against independent Ukraine. We respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states and consider human life and freedom to be of the highest value.

The forthcoming “referendums”, mobilization, and martial law are a collapse of the whole system of “Putin’s stability,” the illusion of which the Kremlin has been trying to maintain since the beginning of the full-scale war with Ukraine. Vladimir Putin is preparing to blatantly violate international law once again and launch an attack on democracy and freedom in Ukraine and Europe. Any statements by the Kremlin that residents of the occupied territories of Ukraine want to become part of Russia are false.

Three decades ago, the Ukrainian people proclaimed the independence of their state. Since 2014, the world has seen that Vladimir Putin has undermined Ukraine’s sovereignty and any attempts at anti-war protest in Russia through military force, repressive legislation, false statements, and massive state propaganda. Despite all the suffering inflicted on Ukraine, Putin has failed to achieve this goal: Ukrainians continue to show fortitude and determination to defend their country at any cost, and Russian anti-war resistance continues despite repression.

We consider any attempts to tear away Ukrainian territory through so-called “referendums” categorically unacceptable and call on state institutions and international human rights organizations to join the demand for an immediate end to the war and the liberation of the occupied territories. Any war brings suffering to humanity and endangers peace. We will not allow a totalitarian dictatorship to prevail and we will continue to fight for Ukraine’s independence and Russia’s democratic future.

Free Russia Foundation announces the appointment of Vladimir Milov as Vice President for International Advocacy

Sep 01 2022

September 1, 2022. Washington, DC. Free Russia Foundation announces the appointment of Russian politician, publicist, economist, and energy expert Vladimir Milov as FRF Vice President for International Advocacy.

In her announcement of Vladimir’s new role, Natalia Arno, President of Free Russia Foundation, remarked: “I am delighted to welcome this distinguished Russian civil society leader to our team. I am certain that Vladimir will become our force multiplier and make a profound contribution to FRF’s mission, including strengthening civil society in Russia, standing up for democracy defenders who oppose war, both inside and outside the country, building coalitions and mobilizing supporters. Vladimir Milov’s professional skills and extensive experience in human rights advocacy will help us come up with effective and innovative approaches to combat the authoritarian regime and repression that the current Russian government has unleashed against citizens of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.”

Vladimir Milov was born on June 18, 1972. From 1997—2002 he worked in government agencies, more than 4 years of which were in senior positions, from assistant to the Chairman of the Federal Energy Commission to the Deputy Minister of Energy of Russia.

Vladimir Milov has bravely and publicly called out the authorities for monopolizing the economy, and encroaching into public and political life of Russian citizens. Milov’s profile as an opposition leader rose thanks to his joint project with Boris Nemtsov. The report titled “Putin. Results,” condemned the activities of the Russian government during Putin’s presidency. In 2010, Mr. Milov headed the Democratic Choice movement, which later served as the basis for the creation of a political party with the same name.

In 2016, Mr. Milov became an associate of the unregistered presidential candidate Alexei Navalny. On May 11, 2017, he began hosting a weekly segment on the economy, “Where’s the Money?” on the NavalnyLIVE broadcast on YouTube.

In April of 2021, he left Russia for Lithuania amidst persecution of Alexei Navalny’s organizations. In February of 2022, he categorically condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On May 6, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Justice added Vladimir Milov to the list of media outlets considered as “foreign agents.” Vladimir Milov is a regular guest expert for the world’s leading media outlets — CNN, CNBC, The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal.

Kara-Murza faces a new charge as the Kremlin cracks down on its opponents

Aug 04 2022

Russian pro-democracy politician Vladimir Kara-Murza, who’s been in jail since April for allegedly spreading “disinformation” about the Russian military, now also stands accused of “carrying out the activities of an undesirable organization,” which names Free Russia Foundation in the newly filed charge.

Free Russia Foundation, unconstitutionally designated as an “undesirable” organization by the Russian government in June 2019, did not organize an event on political prisoners in Moscow in 2021. FRF does not have any presence or programs inside Russia. Additionally, FRF has never conducted any work in the State of Arizona.

FRF strongly condemns the new charges brought against Vladimir Kara-Murza by Russian authorities and demands the dropping of all charges against him and calls for his immediate release.

“All actions of the Kremlin directed against Russian opposition politicians and activists have nothing in common with establishing the truth. They are instead aimed solely at getting rid of opponents of Putin’s regime,” FRF President Arno stated.

Free Russian Foundation and Boris Nemtsov Foundation launch “Russians for Change” fundraising campaign

Jul 25 2022

Russia is not Putin. We are Russia.

We aim at sharing this message with our friends around the world — therefore, in cooperation with Boris Nemtsov Foundation we are launching “Russians for Change” fundraising campaign.

We are going to be telling the stories of active pro-democracy anti-war Russians who have not lost their hope. US nationals also participate in this campaign: Francis Fukuyama, investigative journalist Casey Michel, and alumni of Boris Nemtsov Foundation media school.

Thank you for your donation:

The Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom honors the political legacy of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian liberal opposition politician assassinated in Moscow in 2015. It promotes freedom of speech and education along with the vision that Russia is a part of Europe.