Russian media watchdog starts blocking websites of ‘undesirable organisations’

Russian media watchdog starts blocking websites of 'undesirable organisations'
Mikhail Khodorkovsky

12 December 2017

Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor has blocked the website of pro-democracy group Open Russia as an “undesirable organization.”

Russia’s Prosecutor General blacklisted the group in April this year. He accused Open Russia activists of “inciting protests and destabilising the domestic political situation, presenting a threat to the Russian constitution and national security.”

The group is the first of 11 “undesirable organisations” to see their website blocked after the Russian parliament passed new legislation speeding up the process in November this year.

The amendments mean that authorities no longer require a court order to block the websites.

The group’s founder, exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, vowed on Twitter that Open Russia would “not be silenced.”

“We will continue to work and continue to tell the truth even when to do so is considered ‘undesirable’ by certain people”, he wrote.

“We ask our followers to support us in this and help keep us up and running.”

Russia’s law on “undesirable organisations” came into force in 2015. The legislation allows prosecutors to stop or limit the activities of groups deemed to be harmful to Russian society, with steep jail terms for those which fail to comply.