New movie about Boris Nemtsov launches crowdfunding campaign
Lucy Egisserian, has been working on a documentary to share the story of Boris Nemtsov. A man who knew that continuing to speak the truth would likely lead to his death, but refused to hide or bow down. Please support this important work by donating at the link below, or sharing: https://www.seedandspark.com/fund/notyouraveragecitizen#story
Lucy Egisserian, diector: “We are starting this crowdfunding with the completed film’s storyboard, a trial-run for the finished film. The total budget for the film is $450K. The funds raised in this campaign will be used to produce the first 10 minutes of the film in full production value. These first 10 minutes will allow us to seek the remaining funds to complete the entire film.”
Many prominent people have expressed their support of the documentary – a journalist David Satter, a popular Russia satirist Victor Shenderovich, a famous Russian writer Dmity Bykov and others.
Among them was the Board Chairman of Free Russia Foundation David Kramer:
David Kramer: “This documentary is about the story of a man who was much more than an average citizen. Boris Nemtsov was a courageous and principled leader who wanted a better future for his country. For that, he was gunned down in cold blood, but his memory and his heroic cause will live on, including through this documentary.”
PRESS-RELEASE: the launch of the Coalition to Free the Kremlin’s Political Prisoners
Moscow, Russia; Washington, D.C.; Ottawa, Canada; Kyiv, Ukraine; Berlin, Germany; Tallinn, Estonia
We are pleased to announce the creation of the Coalition to Free the Kremlin’s Political Prisoners.
The Coalition is currently comprised of a dozen Russian domestic and international civil society organizations from around the world. We expect other organizations to join over time.
The purpose of the Coalition is to organize and coordinate collective actions among its members to press for the release of the Kremlin’s political prisoners. According to the Memorial Human Rights Center, which applies the Council of Europe’s definition, Russian authorities currently hold 235 political prisoners, with some of the most commonly targeted groups including human rights defenders, business opponents, journalists, bloggers, critics of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, religious and ethnic minorities, and anyone who dares to express political dissent.
The Kremlin’s political prisoners include:
– Alexey Pichugin, Russia’s longest-serving political prisoner, having served more than 15 years in prison of a life sentence after being framed for several murders and attempted murders. The European Court of Human Rights found multiple fair trial and presumption of innocence violations in two separate trials, and ordered new trials, but these orders have been ignored by the Kremlin. In reality, his was the first arrest in the Yukos case, and he remains in prison because he refuses to implicate its major shareholders for crimes neither they nor he committed.
– Oleg Sentsov, a Crimean film-maker and activist who was sentenced in 2015 to 20 years’ imprisonment on false terrorism and weapons charges. One of the key witnesses recanted his prior statement implicating Sentsov, insisting that it had been made under duress and underscoring the unfair and politically motivated nature of the charges against him. Despite being a Ukrainian citizen who was arrested in Crimea, Sentsov was transferred to and faced trial in Russia, in clear violation of international law. Sentsov gained worldwide attention through a 145-day hunger strike demanding the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners held by the Kremlin.
– Anastasia Shevchenko, a human rights activist and Coordinator with the Open Russia movement, who was charged on January 21, 2019 with “repeated participation in the activities of an undesirable organization” (Criminal Code Article 284.1) and subsequently placed under house arrest. Shevchenko is the first person to be criminally prosecuted under this provision, which allows Russian authorities to restrict the work of foreign organizations deemed “undesirable.” While detained, she was denied access to her daughter, who had been hospitalized. Shevchenko was only granted permission to see her hours before she passed away. The persecution against her inspired a “March of Mothers’ Fury,” in which thousands of supporters demanded the liberation of political prisoners. She faces up to six years in prison.
– Dennis Christensen, a Danish citizen and Jehovah’s Witness who has been detained since May 25, 2017. He is accused of organizing an “extremist” group – a local chapter of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Christensen was one of first victims of the government’s increasing persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which has only intensified since the Supreme Court designated the religion’s Administrative Center in Russia as an “extremist organization” in 2017. There currently are at least 62 Jehovah’s Witnesses being prosecuted on extremism charges in Russia.
– Oyub Titiev, a human rights activist and the head of Memorial Human Rights Centre in Chechnya. He was arrested in January 2018 when marijuana was allegedly found during a search of his car. However, Titiev insists – and leading human rights organization agree – that the drugs were planted in retaliation for his (and Memorial’s) human rights work.
– Yan Sidorov, a college student who has been detained since November 2017. He is accused of attempting to organize “mass riots” after he and a friend merely tried to organize a small group demanding the resignation of the regional government. They made two posters and about 30 flyers and purchased one megaphone. Their attempts to engage in political speech – clearly protected under international human rights law – could be punished with over a decade in prison if convicted.
– Svyatoslav Bobyshev, a former professor who is currently serving a 12-year sentence for treason for allegedly giving information about a missile system to China during an academic collaboration in 2009. The allegedly secret information was not secret at the time when he handed it over, however, but was classified as secret retroactively.
The work of the Coalition will supplement and enhance the work of individual Coalition members and is aimed at raising the profile of the Kremlin’s political prisoners and placing increasing pressure on the current Russian authorities to release them.
The Coalition arose from the need for sustained and consistent international pressure on the Kremlin to free its political prisoners. In recent years, the Kremlin has waged a brutal and systematic campaign to crush civil society in Russia and stifle dissent both within its borders and beyond. One of its preferred methods of repression is to arrest and detain political opponents on spurious criminal charges.
Domestic and international organizations and advocates have worked tirelessly to secure the release of the Kremlin’s political prisoners, but so far these efforts have had only limited success. The Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed, downplayed, or ignored calls by international organizations, governments, and non-governmental organizations to release political prisoners.
In light of the Kremlin’s resistance to advocacy on behalf of political prisoners, a common and coordinated advocacy strategy on political prisoners is needed now more than ever. The Coalition aims to fill this need by speaking with one voice and urging concerted action.
The members of the Coalition to Free the Kremlin’s Political Prisoners are:
- Action for Post-Soviet Jewry (United States)
- Activatica.org (Estonia)
- Article 20 (Russia)
- Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
- Euromaidan SOS (Ukraine)
- Free Russia Foundation (United States, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia)
- Human Rights Foundation (United States)
- Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice (United States)
- McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University (United States)
- Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (Canada)
- Solidarus (Germany)
- Union of Council for Jews in the Former Soviet Union (United States)
The Coalition is being facilitated by Vladimir Kara-Murza, Chairman, Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom; David J. Kramer, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State and current Senior Fellow, Václav Havel Program on Human Rights and Diplomacy, Florida International University; Natalia Arno, President of Free Russia Foundation; and Oleksandra Matviichuk, Center for Civil Liberties and Euromaidan SOS.
There will be much more presented by the new Coalition in the coming weeks and months ahead. For further information, please contact:
Spokesperson for the Coalition to Free the Kremlin’s Political Prisoners
+1 202 549 2417
Free Russia Foundation Opens Office in Tbilisi, Georgia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Natalia Arno, President
Phone: +1 202.549.2417
FREE RUSSIA FOUNDATION OPENS OFFICE IN TBILISI, GEORGIA
WASHINGTON, DC, February 11, 2019. Free Russia Foundation (FRF), a 501(c) 3 non-profit defending freedom and human rights and working to restore Russia’s path to democracy, announces a new chapter in Tbilisi, Georgia.
FRF Georgia office will work to foster dialogue and cooperation among pro-democracy forces in Russia, Georgia and the entire South Caucasus region and strengthen ties between civil society groups from these areas. FRF Georgia will support and publish research on critical issues related to Georgian and Russian relations, such as the Kremlin’s influence in South Caucasus and possible approaches to solving regional conflicts.
“We are thrilled to have this new platform for connecting pro-democracy forces in Georgia and to expand our programs to the South Caucasus region,” Natalia Arno, FRF’s President said.
The official launch of the FRF branch took place on February 7, 2019. This will be the fourth regional center for FRF that already maintains offices in Washington, DC, Silicon Valley, CA, and Kyiv, Ukraine.
Mr. Greg Frolov, FRF Vice President and Head of FRF Ukraine Chapter, in his keynote address at the launch said “our office in Kyiv has successfully operated for two years. And now, with opening the new office in Tbilisi, we’ll be able to offer our services in Georgia and also to establish educational and analytical programs to counter the Kremlin’s disinformation on a regional level, and bolster our expertise in security of the Black Sea region.”
Egor Kuroptev will head the FRF Georgia Office. A native of Russia, Mr. Kupotev moved to Georgia in 2012. He is the founder and host of a TV program Border Area (Pogranichnaya Zona).
Ambassador Ian C. Kelly, a member of Free Russia Foundation Board and former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, commented: “I was very pleased to see FRF open a representation In Tbilisi. Democratic Georgia and free Russians should work together to realize a democratic and free Russia. I know Egor Kuroptev well from my time in Tbilisi, and am convinced he is the right person to lead the FRF’s office in Georgia.”
Free Russia Foundation Condemns Russian Government Whose Unconstitutional Actions Led to the Death of an Activist’s Child
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Natalia Arno, President
Phone: +1 202.549.2417
FREE RUSSIA FOUNDATION CONDEMNS RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT WHOSE UNCONSTITUTIONAL ACTIONS LED TO THE DEATH OF AN ACTIVIST’S CHILD
Washington DC, January 31, 2019 – Free Russia Foundation expresses an outrage and condemns in the strongest terms the illegal arrest and detention of a peaceful Russian pro-democracy activist Anastasia Shevchenko which separated her from her three children, and directly led to the death of her daughter. The authorities not only prevented Anastasia from providing care to her special needs child, failed to ensure proper treatment for her daughter while in the custody of authorities, but callously denied her an opportunity to see her child as she was dying in the emergency room. We mourn the tragic loss of Alina, the latest innocent victim of the Putin’s criminal regime.
Charges against Anastasia that led to her detention are based on her serving as a debate coordinator; coordinating educational lectures for voters; participating in pro-democracy meetings; and taking part in a demonstration carrying a sign “We Are Fed Up”. All of these activities are not only internationally guaranteed rights, but are articulated by the Russian Constitution itself.
We call on the U.S. Congress, the State Department and the White House to join us in the condemnation of this horrific crime.
Free Russia Foundation releases a translation of a report on the Kremlin’s hybrid warfare
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Natalia Arno, President
Phone: +1 202.549.2417
FREE RUSSIA FOUNDATION RELEASES A TRANSLATION OF A REPORT ON THE KREMLIN’S HYBRID WARFARE
The report by British Member of Parliament Bob Seely discusses how Russia engages in a broad campaign against the West and how to combat these new challenges.
Washington, DC, January 18, 2019. Free Russia Foundation has released a Russian translation of a report by British Member of Parliament Bob Seely (Isle of Wight, UK) A Definition of Contemporary Russian Conflict: How does the Kremlin Wage War? (Russian translation is available at Дом Свободной России website)
The original report is available at Henry Jackson Society website.
“Too often, Russian citizens remain unaware of the geopolitical implications of Putin’s dangerous brinkmanship,” said Free Russia Foundation founder Natalia Arno. “We hope, that once this important report is published in Russian, it reaches a wider Russian speaking audience, and people in my native Russia, perhaps for the first time, will realize the political risks incurred on their behalf by Putin, as well as enormous budgets expended — the funds that could have been better spent on building schools, fixing roads and paying for pensions.”
Mr. Seely’s report defines the characteristics of a new style of the Kremlin’s hybrid war against the West. It discusses various tools and elements used by the Kremlin and examines the reasons why Russia is using them in its dealings with the West.
“The West faces a new kind of conflict where Russia combines the full range of its military and non-military tools in a dynamic, efficient and integrated way to achieve political aims,” writes Seely. “It is important that both Western but also Russian citizens understand the current and future nature of a form of aggressive competition/low-level conflict that goes by a variety of names such as non-conventional warfare, political warfare, grey zone war, and in the Cold War was known as Active Measures or, more vaguely, the Ideological Struggle.”
Mr. Seely who has previously conducted research at the Changing Character of War Programme at the University of Oxford (2017) and covered former Soviet Republics and Eastern Europe for The Times newspaper (1990-1994), sees strong links between the Kremlin’s current development of its ‘political warfare’ techniques and those of the old Soviet Union, and in particular the KGB’s active measures. Through his extensive interaction with the Russian people and studies of the Russian history, he has come to the conclusion that such confrontation with the West is a strategic mistake made by the Russian leadership and is not in the interest of the Russian people.
The study, originally published in English this past summer by the Henry Jackson Society’s Russia Studies Centre, has been translated by Free Russia Foundation and is now available in the Russian language.
Free Russia Foundation will host Mr. Seely for a discussion of his report at the U.S. Congress in Spring 2019.
For more information, please visit Free Russia Foundation’s website, www.4freerussia.org, or contact Natalia Arno at +1 202.549.2417 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.