Russia labels Sakharov Centre a ‘foreign agent’
Almost exactly 25 years after the death of Andrei Sakharov, physicist and Nobel peace laureate, the Sakharov Centre [officially the Public Commission for the Preservation of the Legacy of Andrei Sakharov] has been forcibly added to Russia’s notorious register of ‘foreign agents’. The Kaliningrad Human Rights Centre and Krasnodar Regional Organization of University Graduates have also been listed as ‘foreign agents’.
Alexander Cherkasov from Memorial called the move against the Sakharov Centre “symbolic in its madness”, and pointed out that the unscheduled ‘check’ on the Centre began on Dec 13, the 25th anniversary of Andrei Sakharov’s death.
His colleague from Memorial, Arseny Roginsky considers the Justice Ministry’s “blow to the Sakharov Centre to be a blow against intellectual freedom” Yet another blow, coming as it does after forcible registration as ‘foreign agents’ of Golos, the Memorial Human Rights Centre, Moscow School of Civic Education, Public Verdict, Soldiers Mothers, St. Petersburg and others.
The action, he says, is not merely an intentional insult to the Sakharov Centre, but an insult to the memory of Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov. It recalls the period when he was constantly being accused of ‘betraying the Motherland’ and ‘serving the interests of the West.’
There is scant information about the other two organizations, but it is probably significant that the move comes after attempts to hold peaceful protests / calls for greater autonomy were crushed (see Federalization as a terrorist act and texts below).