Prosecution of Alexandra Koroleva opens a new dimension in the repression of the Russian NGOs

Dr. Ellen Ueberschär, president of Heinrich Böll Foundation, commented on the prosecution of Alexandra Koroleva, who heads the environmental organization “Ecodefense” in Kaliningrad:

“Ecodefense is one of the most important Russian ecological organizations, which has been working hard in the sphere of environmental protection and ecological education for many years. Along with the Kaliningrad officials Alexandra Koroleva sat on the government environmental councils. Heinrich Böll Foundation has been collaborating with Ecodefense already for a long time — mostly on climate protection, coal mining and peaceful uses of atomic energy.

Russian Foreign Agent Law that stigmatizes internationally networked and supported from abroad NGOs branding them “foreign agents” (which in Russian understanding means “spies” and “turncoats”) demonstrates in the case of Ecodefense its total absurdity. It serves the interests of the Russian society that the country’s ecological problems will be taken into consideration and their solution will be supported by educational work. Environmental problems do not stop at the national borders, therefore, only the internationally networked and globally cooperated ecology movement can effectively deal with them. Russia can and should be proud of such professional environmental organizations as Ecodefense.

Our partner organization Ecodefense rightly stands up against forced registration as a “foreign agent” and together with other Russian NGOs filed a lawsuit against the “Foreign Agent Law” in the European Court of Human Rights. The fact that now not only the fines are imposed on them, but also the head of the Ecodefense office in Kaliningrad, Alexandra Koroleva, is prosecuted, opens up a new dimension in the repression against Russian NGOs.