Press release on the Russian author­i­ties’ decision to list the Center for Liberal Modernity as an “unde­sir­able foreign organization”

Statement by Ralf Fücks und Marieluise Beck:

The Russian Pros­e­cutor General’s decision to brandmark the Center for Liberal Modernity together with the German-Russian Exchange (DRA) and a Russian exile orga­ni­za­tion as “unde­sir­able foreign orga­ni­za­tions” is an act of political lawlessness.

Its aim is to terminate our coop­er­a­tion with Russian partners with the stroke of a pen. As a conse­quence, any Russian citizen working with us in any capacity risks criminal persecution.

Our by far biggest German-Russian project is “Climate change and eco­nomic mod­ern­iza­tion of Russia”, which com­prises numer­ous experts from both coun­tries. In addition, we are running a German-Russian dialogue project about the impor­tance of Andrei Sakharov. We also host the website and the annual inter­na­tional confer­ence “Russia and the West”. Our Russia-related activ­i­ties are partially funded by the German Foreign Ministry.

We never disguised our critical position versus the Putin-Regime which made us focus on coop­er­a­tion with Russian civil society and engaging in the debate about adequate policies vis a vis Russia in both Germany and the EU. Our dream (for the future) is a demo­c­ratic and European Russia.

The Kremlin aims to divide German NGOs, foun­da­tions and think tanks into desirable and unde­sir­able orga­ni­za­tions. Among those already listed as unde­sir­able are European Platform for Demo­c­ratic Elections, the German Marshall Fund, the Prague Civil Society Center, the Open Society Foun­da­tion, the National Endowment for Democracy, the foun­da­tions of the Democrat and Repub­lican parties in the US, the Atlantic Council and the Council of Europe’s Asso­ci­a­tion of Schools of Political Studies.

Those who criticize the Kremlin risk being forced out of the country. An intended conse­quence of this is the infringe­ment of free speech in the West with regard to critical reporting and debate about Russia. At the same time Russian civil society is deprived of political and financial support from the West. More than 160 Russian orga­ni­za­tions have already been clas­si­fied as “foreign agents”.

We hope that the German govern­ment and all friends of Russia will not accept this divide and rule policy and will press Russian author­i­ties to revoke their decision. We thank Foreign Minister Heiko Maas for his clear words.

Dialogue with a gag order is a farcical dialogue.