Socialists and Democrats condemn the decision by Russian authorities to include the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), in their list of ‘undesirable organisations’, making this independent grant-making organisation the 20th foreign group facing limitations for its work in the country.
S&D vice-president responsible for foreign affairs, Kati Piri, stated:
“The decision taken by the Russian authorities to ban activities financed by the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) on their territory, less than a week after the proposed constitutional amendment allowing President Putin to stay in power until 2036, is yet another blow to any hope of democracy in the Russian Federation as it continues to slide on its path towards outright authoritarianism. We stand in solidarity with all those voices working tirelessly for democracy, rule of law and human rights in the Russian Federation and we urge the Russian authorities to abide to their international commitments and obligations and to review without delay their decision to include the European Endowment for Democracy on their list of undesirable organisations.”
Isabel Santos, S&D MEP and spokesperson on human rights, added:
“We have condemned the Russian legislation on ‘undesirable organisations’ and ‘foreign agents’ on several occasions as it is a clear limitation to freedom and democracy. It further contributes to restricting civil society, independent media and opposition parties.”
Note to editors:
The European Union founded the Brussels-based EED in 2013 to support pro-democracy movements and independent media outside its borders.
The decision to ban EED on Russian territory adds to the 2015 law which allows Russian prosecutors to limit or halt the work of ‘undesirable’ foreign groups, punishing violators with fines or prison terms of up to six years. It also expands on Russia’s 2012 ban on ‘foreign agents’, which includes a 2017 amendment to include foreign-funded news, and a 2019 expansion including individual journalists and bloggers.