Free Russia Foundation Launches #NoToWar Campaign

Free Russia Foundation joins global resistance to authoritarianism

Sep 19 2018

The annual Oslo Freedom Forum, which has taken place since 2009, was held in New York for the second time on Monday, September 17.

The Forum brought together prominent social and human rights activists, politicians, musicians, tech companies and writers from different countries who discussed the state of freedom across the globe and the ways of resisting authoritarianism and gross violations of fundamental human rights.

The Forum was comprised of (1) the Interactive Expo, where participants could learn about the latest technologies, protest fashion and much more, (2) a series of discussion sessions and (3) working lunches on different topics, ranging from the power of decentralized technology to the interfaith efforts to rebuild Iraq after ISIS. Over 1,000 people registered for the Forum, and it was completely sold out.

Free Russia Foundation’s team has participated in the Forum to share the current state of human rights and freedoms in Russia with other participants and to network with fellow freedom advocates. According to the Human Rights Foundation, which organized the Forum, over 4 billion people in the world – more than a half of the world’s population – live under authoritarian regimes. The firsthand experience of living under those regimes, their struggle and resistance, was shared by activists from Turkey and North Korea, Venezuela and Vietnam, Togo and China, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. They were stories of broken lives, suffering, brutality, injustice and miserable living conditions which, nevertheless, did not break the people, but gave them strength to stand up and fight back. They were the stories of the bravery and resilience of thousands of people who, despite their unjust battle with mighty authoritarian regimes, did not bow their heads, but do not make the headlines.

As a North Korean defector, Yeon-mi Park, said in her speech: “Here I am today to talk about the people who were forgotten. The free people have to speak for them, because who else will speak for those who are not free?”

While focused primarily on the South American, African and Asian regions, the Forum could not ignore the latest development in Putin’s Russia. The President of Human Rights Foundation and the founder of Oslo Freedom Forum, Thor Halvorssen, in his opening speech, talked about the poisoning of a member of Russian activist group Pussy Riot and active anti-Kremlin critic Pyotr Verzilov.

 The President of Human Rights Foundation and the founder of Oslo Freedom Forum, Thor Halvorssen, in his opening speech, talked about the poisoning of a member of Russian activist group Pussy Riot and active anti-Kremlin critic Pyotr Verzilov. At Oslo Freedom Forum in New York, 18 September 2018.

Thor Halvorssen also talked about the Pyotr Verzilov’s activism during the World Cup. At Oslo Freedom Forum in New York, 18 September 2018

A discussion between former U.S. diplomat Ian C. Kelly and prominent Russian dissident Garry Kasparov explored how the free world can stand up to Putin’s threat to world peace and security, as well as human rights in Russia itself. During the discussion, the former U.S. ambassador to the OSCE showed a video made by American diplomats at the OSCE headquarters in Vienna demanding the release of Oleg Sentsov from a Russian prison.

“How can the free word stand up to Putin and advocate for peace, security, and the protection of human rights in Russia?” Garry Kasparov in conversation with Ian C. Kelly at Oslo Freedom Forum in New York, 18 September 2018

 

One of 7 working lunches, called “Holding Tyrants Accountable through Tech,” focused on using innovative computer technologies to provide evidence of war crimes and human rights violations to governments, NGOs and the United Nations. Such technologies are currently used in Syria to predict airstrikes carried out from the Russian military air base Khmeimim. As one of the speakers, Serbian activist Srđa Popović, said at the end of the Forum: “Most important is knowing that you are not alone, which is one of the biggest values of things like the Oslo Freedom Forum. We are the family, the family of people who really care, and sticking to the family really helps.”

The Forum highlighted the work of activists and innovators, inspired actions through the exchange of ideas and connected participants with allies and supporters. By participating in the Forum, Free Russia Foundation has the privilege of joining the global resistance against authoritarianism.

By Dmitri Valuev

The Forum brought together prominent social and human rights activists, politicians, musicians, tech companies and writers from different countries who discussed the state of freedom across the globe and the ways of resisting authoritarianism and gross violations of fundamental human rights.

The Forum was comprised of (1) the Interactive Expo, where participants could learn about the latest technologies, protest fashion and much more, (2) a series of discussion sessions and (3) working lunches on different topics, ranging from the power of decentralized technology to the interfaith efforts to rebuild Iraq after ISIS. Over 1,000 people registered for the Forum, and it was completely sold out.

Free Russia Foundation’s team has participated in the Forum to share the current state of human rights and freedoms in Russia with other participants and to network with fellow freedom advocates. According to the Human Rights Foundation, which organized the Forum, over 4 billion people in the world – more than a half of the world’s population – live under authoritarian regimes. The firsthand experience of living under those regimes, their struggle and resistance, was shared by activists from Turkey and North Korea, Venezuela and Vietnam, Togo and China, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. They were stories of broken lives, suffering, brutality, injustice and miserable living conditions which, nevertheless, did not break the people, but gave them strength to stand up and fight back. They were the stories of the bravery and resilience of thousands of people who, despite their unjust battle with mighty authoritarian regimes, did not bow their heads, but do not make the headlines.

As a North Korean defector, Yeon-mi Park, said in her speech: “Here I am today to talk about the people who were forgotten. The free people have to speak for them, because who else will speak for those who are not free?”

While focused primarily on the South American, African and Asian regions, the Forum could not ignore the latest development in Putin’s Russia. The President of Human Rights Foundation and the founder of Oslo Freedom Forum, Thor Halvorssen, in his opening speech, talked about the poisoning of a member of Russian activist group Pussy Riot and active anti-Kremlin critic Pyotr Verzilov.

 The President of Human Rights Foundation and the founder of Oslo Freedom Forum, Thor Halvorssen, in his opening speech, talked about the poisoning of a member of Russian activist group Pussy Riot and active anti-Kremlin critic Pyotr Verzilov. At Oslo Freedom Forum in New York, 18 September 2018.

Thor Halvorssen also talked about the Pyotr Verzilov’s activism during the World Cup. At Oslo Freedom Forum in New York, 18 September 2018

A discussion between former U.S. diplomat Ian C. Kelly and prominent Russian dissident Garry Kasparov explored how the free world can stand up to Putin’s threat to world peace and security, as well as human rights in Russia itself. During the discussion, the former U.S. ambassador to the OSCE showed a video made by American diplomats at the OSCE headquarters in Vienna demanding the release of Oleg Sentsov from a Russian prison.

“How can the free word stand up to Putin and advocate for peace, security, and the protection of human rights in Russia?” Garry Kasparov in conversation with Ian C. Kelly at Oslo Freedom Forum in New York, 18 September 2018

 

One of 7 working lunches, called “Holding Tyrants Accountable through Tech,” focused on using innovative computer technologies to provide evidence of war crimes and human rights violations to governments, NGOs and the United Nations. Such technologies are currently used in Syria to predict airstrikes carried out from the Russian military air base Khmeimim. As one of the speakers, Serbian activist Srđa Popović, said at the end of the Forum: “Most important is knowing that you are not alone, which is one of the biggest values of things like the Oslo Freedom Forum. We are the family, the family of people who really care, and sticking to the family really helps.”

The Forum highlighted the work of activists and innovators, inspired actions through the exchange of ideas and connected participants with allies and supporters. By participating in the Forum, Free Russia Foundation has the privilege of joining the global resistance against authoritarianism.

By Dmitri Valuev

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.