Free Russia Foundation Launches #NoToWar Campaign

Silencing Voices of Russian Opposition

Mar 18 2016

Putin’s Administration uses a variety of methods to silence those who disagree with the Kremlin’s policies, including political assassinations. Many Kremlin critics have been silenced by murder and the list is growing – Starovoitova, Yushenkov, Shchekochikhin, Politkovskaya, Litvinenko, Nemtsov and others.

Alexander Litvinenko, a former FSB officer, died when he was poisoned with the radioactive isotope Polonium-210 (P-210) in the first ever nuclear terrorist attack in November 2006 in London. In 2014, the British Government established an official inquiry to investigate Mr. Litvinenko’s death. The inquiry established that Litvinenko was probably murdered on the personal orders of Vladimir Putin by two Russian agents, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun. The full verdict can be found here.

The case aroused widespread suspicion as Litvinenko said this before his death: “You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr. Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life. May God forgive you for what you have done, not only to me but to beloved Russia and its people.”

Free Russia Foundation organized a visit of Marina Litvinenko, the widow of Alexander Litvinenko, to Washington, DC on March 14-15 to inform U.S. officials and policy-makers about the results of the inquiry and to seek for specific actions from the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration.

On Tuesday the 15th, the Atlantic Council hosted a panel discussion put together by the McCain Institute and the Free Russia Foundation regarding the Kremlin’s silencing of Russian opposition. Featured at the panel besides the wife of the murdered Aleksander Litvinenko, were Dr. Alex Goldfarb of the Litvinenko Justice Foundation, and Vladimir Kara-Murza, a member of Open Russia and the political party Parnas.

Kara-Murza recently survived a mysterious poisoning of his own. Although he survived, his case, as well as Litvinenko’s and many others, have become emblematic of the increasingly repressive and dangerous situation facing Russian opposition activists.

David Kramer of the McCain Institute moderated the event. He noted that repression of dissidents is not a new phenomenon under Vladimir Putin’s administration, but it was made clear at the opening of the panel that today it is “no longer an anomaly, but part and parcel of the Kremlin’s strategies.”

First to speak at the panel was Marina Litvinenko. She reminded that her husband’s murder was “the first ever act of nuclear terrorism on the streets of a major city.” Mrs. Litvinenko informed that at the time of Alexander’s poisoning her husband worked with British and Spanish authorities investigating connections between Mr. Putin and his circle with organized crime – these links were confirmed by Spanish investigators after his death. She believes that this work was the main motive for his murder.

Dr. Alex Goldfarb, Litvinenko s close friend was next to speak. Litvinenko’s poisoning in London sent a grave message; even western cities like London were no longer safe. Polonium was utilized since it would be difficult to detect, but it was detected, which Dr. Goldfarb explained makes the chances of something like this happening in the west again unlikely.

Poison made another appearance more recently in the Russian dissident community when Vladimir Kara-Murza suddenly fell violently ill in a meeting in Moscow. He was lucky to be rushed to a hospital and cured, but the poison had taken a toll on him as he walked with a cane and explained that heavy metals were found in his blood. Nevertheless, Kara-Murza pledged that he would return to Moscow. “They want us to run but I won’t give them that pleasure”, he thundered to some applause. He insists: “We must practice what we preach: democracy, anti-corruption are not just ideas, they’re practices”.

Kara-Murza was one of many opposition figures who was also openly threatened by thugs likely tied to Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen firebrand. He was asked what could be done from Washington, and his answer was simple. Let the opposition know they are not alone, but it is the Russian opposition’s job to bring democracy to Russia and no-one else’s. He did, however, praise the Magnitsky Act and his meetings with American politicians even taking the time to point out that the European Union had yet to pass anything like it, though he stated that the implementation of that “pro-Russian” law as he described was “feeble”.

Kara-Murza has spoke that West should include Russian propagandists which spread hatred in our country to the list of banned government figures as part of the sanctions. Russian politicians and propagandists like to criticize western values, but they will turn around and buy property and real estate in the West as well as send their children to American and European universities. “Russian governmentt officials who use media to create an environment of hate must be added to sanctions list…Russian authorities oppress citizens of Russia but invest stolen money in the West and educate their kids in the West”.

Kara-Murza also was keen to bring up the corruption that is pervasive in the Kremlin today. “Back in Soviet times there was an ideology to follow. Now the only ideology is money.”

Kara-Murza is right. The responsibility to bring democracy to Russia lies solely with the Russian people and those who strive for liberty within Russia. It’s time to turn away from the fear and hatred and mistrust of the present and look towards a brighter future that is out there for our country. Kara-Murza is also right that the Western measures against Russian corrupt officials have a very pro-Russian character, because the Russians who are involved in the fight against corruption, falsifications of elections and the illegitimate parliament are Russian patriots. They struggle for independent media, a media that informs rather than spreading propaganda. They are for dialogue and cooperation instead of threats, poisoning and murders.

by Kyle Menyhert

Alexander Litvinenko, a former FSB officer, died when he was poisoned with the radioactive isotope Polonium-210 (P-210) in the first ever nuclear terrorist attack in November 2006 in London. In 2014, the British Government established an official inquiry to investigate Mr. Litvinenko’s death. The inquiry established that Litvinenko was probably murdered on the personal orders of Vladimir Putin by two Russian agents, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun. The full verdict can be found here.

The case aroused widespread suspicion as Litvinenko said this before his death: “You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr. Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life. May God forgive you for what you have done, not only to me but to beloved Russia and its people.”

Free Russia Foundation organized a visit of Marina Litvinenko, the widow of Alexander Litvinenko, to Washington, DC on March 14-15 to inform U.S. officials and policy-makers about the results of the inquiry and to seek for specific actions from the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration.

On Tuesday the 15th, the Atlantic Council hosted a panel discussion put together by the McCain Institute and the Free Russia Foundation regarding the Kremlin’s silencing of Russian opposition. Featured at the panel besides the wife of the murdered Aleksander Litvinenko, were Dr. Alex Goldfarb of the Litvinenko Justice Foundation, and Vladimir Kara-Murza, a member of Open Russia and the political party Parnas.

Kara-Murza recently survived a mysterious poisoning of his own. Although he survived, his case, as well as Litvinenko’s and many others, have become emblematic of the increasingly repressive and dangerous situation facing Russian opposition activists.

David Kramer of the McCain Institute moderated the event. He noted that repression of dissidents is not a new phenomenon under Vladimir Putin’s administration, but it was made clear at the opening of the panel that today it is “no longer an anomaly, but part and parcel of the Kremlin’s strategies.”

First to speak at the panel was Marina Litvinenko. She reminded that her husband’s murder was “the first ever act of nuclear terrorism on the streets of a major city.” Mrs. Litvinenko informed that at the time of Alexander’s poisoning her husband worked with British and Spanish authorities investigating connections between Mr. Putin and his circle with organized crime – these links were confirmed by Spanish investigators after his death. She believes that this work was the main motive for his murder.

Dr. Alex Goldfarb, Litvinenko s close friend was next to speak. Litvinenko’s poisoning in London sent a grave message; even western cities like London were no longer safe. Polonium was utilized since it would be difficult to detect, but it was detected, which Dr. Goldfarb explained makes the chances of something like this happening in the west again unlikely.

Poison made another appearance more recently in the Russian dissident community when Vladimir Kara-Murza suddenly fell violently ill in a meeting in Moscow. He was lucky to be rushed to a hospital and cured, but the poison had taken a toll on him as he walked with a cane and explained that heavy metals were found in his blood. Nevertheless, Kara-Murza pledged that he would return to Moscow. “They want us to run but I won’t give them that pleasure”, he thundered to some applause. He insists: “We must practice what we preach: democracy, anti-corruption are not just ideas, they’re practices”.

Kara-Murza was one of many opposition figures who was also openly threatened by thugs likely tied to Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen firebrand. He was asked what could be done from Washington, and his answer was simple. Let the opposition know they are not alone, but it is the Russian opposition’s job to bring democracy to Russia and no-one else’s. He did, however, praise the Magnitsky Act and his meetings with American politicians even taking the time to point out that the European Union had yet to pass anything like it, though he stated that the implementation of that “pro-Russian” law as he described was “feeble”.

Kara-Murza has spoke that West should include Russian propagandists which spread hatred in our country to the list of banned government figures as part of the sanctions. Russian politicians and propagandists like to criticize western values, but they will turn around and buy property and real estate in the West as well as send their children to American and European universities. “Russian governmentt officials who use media to create an environment of hate must be added to sanctions list…Russian authorities oppress citizens of Russia but invest stolen money in the West and educate their kids in the West”.

Kara-Murza also was keen to bring up the corruption that is pervasive in the Kremlin today. “Back in Soviet times there was an ideology to follow. Now the only ideology is money.”

Kara-Murza is right. The responsibility to bring democracy to Russia lies solely with the Russian people and those who strive for liberty within Russia. It’s time to turn away from the fear and hatred and mistrust of the present and look towards a brighter future that is out there for our country. Kara-Murza is also right that the Western measures against Russian corrupt officials have a very pro-Russian character, because the Russians who are involved in the fight against corruption, falsifications of elections and the illegitimate parliament are Russian patriots. They struggle for independent media, a media that informs rather than spreading propaganda. They are for dialogue and cooperation instead of threats, poisoning and murders.

by Kyle Menyhert

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.