Russia bans EU-Russia Civil Society Forum as ‘undesirable’ organization

Russian authorities on Tuesday banned the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum (CSF), an organization created to foster cooperation between Russian and European NGOs, as an “undesirable” organisation.

The attorney general’s office said the Berlin-based organization’s activities, which include the conferences it organizes and the information it publishes, have the common goal of “discrediting the leadership of the Russian Federation”.

He accused the EU-Russia FSC of “gathering information on internal processes” in Russia and “establishing contacts with Russian political émigrés” in order to “undermine Russia’s interests”.

Tuesday’s decision, according to the attorney general’s office, was also influenced by the organization’s continued cooperation with individuals designated as “foreign agents” by Russian authorities and other “undesirable” organizations.

The EU-Russia CSC has yet to comment on the designation.

Organizations labeled as “undesirable” must disband in Russia, and people who cooperate with “undesirable” groups face felony charges.

The number of NGOs and media organizations labeled “undesirable” by Russia has increased since the invasion of Ukraine led to a sweeping crackdown on dissent, independent media and civil society.

Recent additions to the “unwanted” list include Transparency International Russia and the popular independent Russian language Meduza news site.

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