Free Russia Foundation announces new Board of Directors

Dec 12 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 

Contact: Natalia Arno, President
Phone: +1 202.549.2417
Email: natalia.arno@4freerussia.org

FREE RUSSIA FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES NEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS

WASHINGTON, DC, December 12, 2018.  The Free Russia Foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, striving to defend freedom and human rights in Russia and restore Russia’s path to democracy, announced it has formed a Board of Directors comprised of distinguished foreign policy leaders.

At its first meeting, Hon. David J. Kramer, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and current Senior Fellow at the Vaclav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy at Florida International University’s Green School of International and Public Affairs, was elected Board Chairman, and Hon. Paige Alexander, Executive Director for European Cooperative for Rural Development, former USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia and former USAID Assistant Administrator for the Middle East, was voted Vice Chair of the foundation.

Dr. Sergey Aleksashenko, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and former Russian Deputy Minister of Finance and First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia was named Board Treasurer and Ms. Melissa Hooper, the Director of the Human Rights and Civil Society program at Human Rights First will act as the Board Secretary.

Other Board Members include Dr. Alina Polyakova, David M. Rubenstein Fellow for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution; Dr. Daniel Treisman, professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research; Ms. Ellen Bork, a Visiting Fellow at the Project 2049 Institute; Ambassador Ian C. Kelly, Ambassador (ret.) in Residence at Northwestern University and former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia; Dr. Lilia Shevtsova, Associate Fellow at the Russia and Eurasia Program at Chatham House and founding chair of the Davos World Economic Forum Council on Russia’s Future; Hon. Thomas O. Melia, Washington Director at PEN America, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and former USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia; and Mr. Vladimir Kara-Murza, Vice Chairman of the Open Russia movement and Chairman of Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom.

Ms. Natalia Arno, the founder of the Free Russia Foundation, will serve as President and Board Member (ex officio) and direct day-to-day operations from its headquarters in Washington, DC.

The Board will be responsible for guiding the Free Russia Foundation, founded in 2014, through its next stage of growth as it expands its programs in the U.S., Europe, and Russia and seeks to shape effective and sustainable Western policy toward Russia.

“We are thrilled to join Natalia to help her with the amazing work she does running Free Russia Foundation and advancing the cause of democracy in Russia,” Kramer said.

For more information on the Board go here.

###

For more information, please visit the Free Russia Foundation’s website, www.4freerussia.org, or contact Natalia Arno at +1 202.549.2417 and natalia.arno@4freerussia.org.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 

Contact: Natalia Arno, President
Phone: +1 202.549.2417
Email: natalia.arno@4freerussia.org

FREE RUSSIA FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES NEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS

WASHINGTON, DC, December 12, 2018.  The Free Russia Foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, striving to defend freedom and human rights in Russia and restore Russia’s path to democracy, announced it has formed a Board of Directors comprised of distinguished foreign policy leaders.

At its first meeting, Hon. David J. Kramer, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and current Senior Fellow at the Vaclav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy at Florida International University’s Green School of International and Public Affairs, was elected Board Chairman, and Hon. Paige Alexander, Executive Director for European Cooperative for Rural Development, former USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia and former USAID Assistant Administrator for the Middle East, was voted Vice Chair of the foundation.

Dr. Sergey Aleksashenko, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and former Russian Deputy Minister of Finance and First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia was named Board Treasurer and Ms. Melissa Hooper, the Director of the Human Rights and Civil Society program at Human Rights First will act as the Board Secretary.

Other Board Members include Dr. Alina Polyakova, David M. Rubenstein Fellow for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution; Dr. Daniel Treisman, professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research; Ms. Ellen Bork, a Visiting Fellow at the Project 2049 Institute; Ambassador Ian C. Kelly, Ambassador (ret.) in Residence at Northwestern University and former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia; Dr. Lilia Shevtsova, Associate Fellow at the Russia and Eurasia Program at Chatham House and founding chair of the Davos World Economic Forum Council on Russia’s Future; Hon. Thomas O. Melia, Washington Director at PEN America, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and former USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia; and Mr. Vladimir Kara-Murza, Vice Chairman of the Open Russia movement and Chairman of Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom.

Ms. Natalia Arno, the founder of the Free Russia Foundation, will serve as President and Board Member (ex officio) and direct day-to-day operations from its headquarters in Washington, DC.

The Board will be responsible for guiding the Free Russia Foundation, founded in 2014, through its next stage of growth as it expands its programs in the U.S., Europe, and Russia and seeks to shape effective and sustainable Western policy toward Russia.

“We are thrilled to join Natalia to help her with the amazing work she does running Free Russia Foundation and advancing the cause of democracy in Russia,” Kramer said.

For more information on the Board go here.

###

For more information, please visit the Free Russia Foundation’s website, www.4freerussia.org, or contact Natalia Arno at +1 202.549.2417 and natalia.arno@4freerussia.org.

 

Free Russia Foundation Calls for Urgent and Concrete Steps to Stop Putin’s Global Assassination Campaigns

Feb 11 2021

Vladimir Kara-Murza, a prominent Russian pro-democracy advocate, was closely tracked by an FSB assassination squad when he suffered perplexing and near-fatal medical emergencies that sent him into coma in 2015 and 2017, establishes a new investigation by the Bellingcat group

Documents uncovered by Bellingcat show that this is the same assassination squad implicated in the August 2020 assassination attempt on Alexey Navalny and whose member has inadvertently confirmed the operation in a phone call with Navalny.   

Bellingcat has also established the FSB unit’s involvement in the murder of three Russian activists, all of whom died under unusual but similar circumstances. 

Taken together, these independent nongovernment investigations establish the fact of systemic, large-scale extrajudicial assassinations carried out by Putin’s government against its critics inside and outside of Russia, including with chemical weapons banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention. 

Free Russia Foundation calls on the international community to formally investigate and prosecute Putin’s government for these crimes. 

Free Russia Foundation calls on the Biden Administration to direct the FBI to release investigation materials surrounding the assassination attempts against Vladimir Kara-Murza that have been denied to him thus far. 

Free Russia Foundation calls on the international community to articulate measures to compel Russia to free Alexey Navalny from his illegal incarceration where his life remains in dire danger. 

Free Russia Foundation condemns in strongest terms today’s court sentence announced to Alexey Navalny

Feb 02 2021

Continued detention of Navalny is illegal and he must be freed immediately. Suppression of peaceful protests and mass arrests of Russian citizens must stop, and the Kremlin must release all those illegally detained and imprisoned on political motives. Free Russia Foundation calls on the international community, the US and European leadership, to move beyond expressions of concern and articulate a set of meaningful instruments to compel the Kremlin to stop its atrocities.

Free Russia Foundation demands Navalny’s immediate release

Jan 17 2021

On January 17, 2021, Putin’s agents arrested Alexey Navalny as he returned to Russia from Germany where he was treated for a near-deadly poisoning perpetrated by state-directed assassins.

Navalny’s illegal arrest constitutes kidnapping. He is kept incommunicado from his lawyer and family at an unknown location and his life is in danger.

Free Russia Foundation demands his immediate release and an international investigation of crimes committed against him by Putin’s government.

The European Court of Human Rights Recognizes Complaints on Violations in “Ukraine v. Russia” as Admissible

Jan 14 2021

On January 14, 2021, the European Court of Human Rights published its decision on the case “Ukraine v. Russia”. The Grand Chamber of the Court has recognized complaints No. 20958/14 and No. 38334/18 as partially admissible for consideration on the merits. The decision will be followed by a judgment at a later date.

The case concerns the consideration of a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights related to Russia’s systematic administrative practices in Crimea. 

The admissibility of the case is based on the fact that, since 2014, the Russian Federation has exercised effective control over the territory of Crimea, and, accordingly, is fully responsible for compliance with the norms of the European Convention on Human Rights in Crimea. The Court now needs to determine the specific circumstances of the case and establish the facts regarding violations of Articles of the Convention during two periods: from February 27, 2014 to March 18, 2014 (the period of the Russian invasion); and from March 18, 2014 onward (the period during which the Russian Federation has exercised effective control over Crimea).

The Court has established that prima facie it has sufficient evidence of systematic administrative practice concerning the following circumstances:

  • forced rendition and the lack of an effective investigation into such a practice under Article 2; 
  • cruel treatment and unlawful detention under Articles 3 and 5; 
  • extending application of Russian law into Crimea with the result that, as of  February 27, 2014, the courts in Crimea could not be considered to have been “established by law” as defined by Article 6; 
  • automatic imposition of Russian citizenship and unreasonable searches of private dwellings under Article 8; 
  • harassment and intimidation of religious leaders not conforming to the Russian Orthodox faith, arbitrary raids of places of worship and confiscation of religious property under Article 9;
  • suppression of non-Russian media under Article 10; 
  • prohibition of public gatherings and manifestations of support, as well as intimidation and arbitrary detention of organizers of demonstrations under Article 11; 
  • expropriation without compensation of property from civilians and private enterprises under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1;
  • suppression of the Ukrainian language in schools and harassment of Ukrainian-speaking children under Article 2 of Protocol No. 1; 6 
  • restricting freedom of movement between Crimea and mainland Ukraine, resulting from the de facto transformation (by Russia) of the administrative delimitation into a border (between Russia and Ukraine) under Article 2 of Protocol No. 4; and, 
  • discriminating against Crimean Tatars under Article 14, taken in conjunction with Articles 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the Convention and with Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 to the Convention.

Cases between states are the rarest category considered by the ECHR. Almost all cases considered in Strasbourg concern individuals or organizations and involve illegal actions or inaction of the states’ parties to the Convention. However, Art. 33 of this Convention provides that “any High Contracting Party may refer to the Court the question of any alleged violation of the provisions of the Convention and its Protocols by another High Contracting Party.” In the entire history of the ECHR since 1953, there have been only 27 such cases. Two of them are joint cases against Russia, both of which concern the Russian Federation’s aggression on the territory of its neighboring states, Georgia and Ukraine.

New Year’s Blessings to All

Dec 30 2020

While 2020 gave us unprecedented challenges, it created transformative changes in the way we work and communicate. The hours of Zoom calls seemingly brought us all closer together as we got a glimpse into each other’s makeshift home offices along with interruption by kids and the family pets. Remote work also made us appreciate human interactions, in-person events and trips much more!

As 2020 comes to an end, we want to especially thank our supporters who continued to believe in our mission and the value of our hard work, and we hope the coming year brings all of us progress and growth for democracy throughout the world. We’d also like to thank our partners and staff in the U.S. and abroad, and we know how hard everyone has worked under difficult world changes to achieve so many of our objectives this year.

We send our best wishes to all who have stayed in the fight for democratic reforms and for the values of basic human rights. We look forward to a new year with the hope of many positive changes to come.

– Natalia Arno and the Free Russia Foundation team.