Free Russia Foundation Launches #NoToWar Campaign

#PutinKills Sandy Booker

Sep 24 2015

As a part of the #PutinKIlls awareness campaign, we would like to tell you about ordinary people who became victims of Putin’s regime in Russia. One of the tragedies that happened during Putin’s presidency was the terrorist attack on the Nord-Ost opera in Moscow. Here is the story of one of the victims – Sandy Booker.

Sandy Alan Booker, 49, of Oklahoma City was born 28 December 1952 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sandy was in Moscow attending the musical Nord-Ost when he died in the theatre siege tragedy, October 26, 2002.

Sandy was an Electrical Engineer with General Motors for 18 years.

He loved his daughter, Deborah, very much and they enjoyed many activities together. He excelled in Judo, which he taught her, and they both loved to ski.

His marriage didn’t work out and for many years Sandy was a bachelor. One day Sandy decided to find his love. In 2002 he found Svetlana Gubareva from Moscow online and started his email and began to communicate through email and cell phones  with her and her 13-year-old daughter. Finally Svetlana agreed to get married to Sandy and move to the U.S., but destiny had other plans.

Before their departure from Russia, Sandy, Svetlana and her daughter Sasha went to the theatre to watch the ‘Nord-Ost’ musical. Two of them died there. Only Svetlana survived that night.

The Moscow Nord-Ord theatre siege was the seizure of the crowded Dubrovka theatre on October 23, 2002 by around 40-50 armed Chechen terrorists who claimed allegiance to the Islamic militant movement in Chechnya. They took around 800-900 hostages and demanded the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya and the end of the Second Chechen War. The Nord-Ost siege was let by Movsar Barayev.

After a two-and-a-half day siege and the execution of two female hostages, Spetsnaz from Federal Security Service Alpha and Vega Groups, supported by a Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs SOBR unit, pumped an undisclosed chemical agent into the building’s ventilation system and raided. All attackers were executed; over 130 hostages died including nine foreigners, due to adverse reactions to the gas.

Some estimates have put the civilian death toll at more than 200 names on the list. Some former hostages and relatives of the victims claim that the death toll from the chemical agent is still being kept secret.

#PutinKills – because the rescue operation wasn’t properly carried out and caused so many deaths, the authorities didn’t provide medical assistance in a timely manner and didn’t conduct a proper investigation of that terror attack, and as usual Putin’s regime lied and spread disinformation and used the tragedy to curtail civil rights covering it with the war with terrorism.

Act now! Join our campaign to tell people that #PutinKills!

Sandy Alan Booker, 49, of Oklahoma City was born 28 December 1952 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sandy was in Moscow attending the musical Nord-Ost when he died in the theatre siege tragedy, October 26, 2002.

Sandy was an Electrical Engineer with General Motors for 18 years.

He loved his daughter, Deborah, very much and they enjoyed many activities together. He excelled in Judo, which he taught her, and they both loved to ski.

His marriage didn’t work out and for many years Sandy was a bachelor. One day Sandy decided to find his love. In 2002 he found Svetlana Gubareva from Moscow online and started his email and began to communicate through email and cell phones  with her and her 13-year-old daughter. Finally Svetlana agreed to get married to Sandy and move to the U.S., but destiny had other plans.

Before their departure from Russia, Sandy, Svetlana and her daughter Sasha went to the theatre to watch the ‘Nord-Ost’ musical. Two of them died there. Only Svetlana survived that night.

The Moscow Nord-Ord theatre siege was the seizure of the crowded Dubrovka theatre on October 23, 2002 by around 40-50 armed Chechen terrorists who claimed allegiance to the Islamic militant movement in Chechnya. They took around 800-900 hostages and demanded the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya and the end of the Second Chechen War. The Nord-Ost siege was let by Movsar Barayev.

After a two-and-a-half day siege and the execution of two female hostages, Spetsnaz from Federal Security Service Alpha and Vega Groups, supported by a Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs SOBR unit, pumped an undisclosed chemical agent into the building’s ventilation system and raided. All attackers were executed; over 130 hostages died including nine foreigners, due to adverse reactions to the gas.

Some estimates have put the civilian death toll at more than 200 names on the list. Some former hostages and relatives of the victims claim that the death toll from the chemical agent is still being kept secret.

#PutinKills – because the rescue operation wasn’t properly carried out and caused so many deaths, the authorities didn’t provide medical assistance in a timely manner and didn’t conduct a proper investigation of that terror attack, and as usual Putin’s regime lied and spread disinformation and used the tragedy to curtail civil rights covering it with the war with terrorism.

Act now! Join our campaign to tell people that #PutinKills!

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.

Free Russia Foundation is starting to document cases of abduction by the Russian army of Ukrainians for the International Criminal Court

Jul 13 2022

In the temporarily occupied territories of the Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, in addition to the killing of civilians and horrific destructions carried out by the Russian army: a severe violation of the norms of international law in the form of abduction of Ukrainians into the territory of Russia has been taking place.

Prior to being interned, Ukrainians are placed in so-called “filtration camps” where they are subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.

All these actions violate the Hague Conventions and constitute an international crime.

We plan to collect information about such abduction cases, put it in written pleadings, and submit them to the International Criminal Court.

If you have been subject to abduction (internment), please, fill in the form via the link.