Russia Labels Khodorkovsky-Linked Groups ‘Undesirable’

Mikhail Khodorkovsky  

Russian authorities have taken further action against the network of exiled former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The State Prosecutor’s Office on June 30 labeled four organizations linked to the Kremlin critic as “undesirable,” effectively banning their activities in Russia.

The four nongovernmental organizations are the UK-registered Khodorkovsky Foundation, its subsidiary the Oxford Russia Fund, the London-based Future of Russia Foundation, and the French organization European Choice.

The organizations “pose a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation,” the Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.

The "undesirable" organization law, adopted in May 2015 and since updated, was part of a series of regulations pushed by the Kremlin that squeezed many nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations that received funding from foreign sources — mainly from Europe and the United States.

The Khodorkovsky Foundation supports educational projects in Russia, and the Oxford Russian Foundation distributes scholarships to students. The two other organizations are also involved in educational projects.

The former head of oil company Yukos, Khodorkovsky is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wealthiest opponents.

He currently lives in the Britain after spending 10 years in prison in Russia on charges widely seen as political revenge for challenging Putin’s rule.

Several Khodorkovsky-linked organizations have been banned or otherwise targeted in recent years under so-called “foreign agent” laws, including the pro-democracy Open Russia movement.

On June 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill that expands the scope of the “undesirable” law to include criminalizing participation in the activities of foreign nongovernmental organizations recognized as such in Russia.

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