The Russian Justice Ministry has labeled well-known civil rights activist Oleg Orlov a ‘foreign agent’. The 70-year-old, like five other people, has been blacklisted, partly because he criticized the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Russia uses the term “foreign agent” to brand opposition activists and critics. Anyone who is classified as such in Russia must take into account all kinds of disadvantages.
The organizations, media and individuals on that list will face stricter supervision of their finances. The aim is to stoke distrust towards them and make their work in Russia more difficult. NGOs complain that Russians are turning away for fear of being accused of collaborating with “foreign agents.”
Orlov has been an employee of the Russian NGO Memorial since the 1980s. For years he headed the human rights department there. As a mediator during the wars in Chechnya, he organized prisoner exchanges.
Memorial was dissolved by the Russian justice system at the end of 2021. In 2022, the NGO received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Orlov has already been sentenced to a fine of 150,000 rubles (1,500 euros) at the end of 2023 for allegedly discrediting the army. However, the public prosecutor’s office appealed.
The human rights activist is accused of denouncing the Russian offensive in Ukraine. He also signed an article railing against the Russian authorities.
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