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Reactions on the listing of EPDE as an “undesirable” organisation in the Russian Federation

(March 20, 2018)



On 13 March 2018, the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), a civil society network of independent election observation organizations, and its Lithuanian member International Elections Study Center (IESC) were classified as “undesirable organizations” by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation. Several key international media reported on the topic.

EPDE’s protest against this decision is supported by a number of organisations and international actors.


15 March 2018

The European External Action Service (EEAS) has called on Russia to remove EPDE’s listing as an “undesirable organization”, which “further reduces the space for civil society and restricts the exercise of fundamental freedoms in Russia just ahead of the presidential elections of 18 March”. See the full statement here.


14 March 2018

The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Bärbel Kofler, has also criticized this decision and urged the Russian government to reverse it, since “the threat of prosecution hanging over Russian partner organisations as a result of the listing just a few days before the presidential elections casts an extremely critical light on the Russian Government’s approach to its international obligation to conduct free and fair elections” and “it is also a worrying signal for German-Russian relations”.


15 March 2018

Rebecca Harms, Member of the European Parliament and Co-President of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, and Othmar Karas, Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, also criticized the listing in a open letter.


19 March 2018

The Board of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum expresses its outrage about the inclusion of the two civil society initiatives into the list and calls on the Russian authorities to reverse not only this decision but also to repeal the entire notorious Federal Law FZ-129 “On the Introduction of Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation” of 23 May 2015, breaching fundamental principles of international law and international obligations of the Russian Federation.


14 March 2018

The German-Russian Exchange (DRA) also declares its solidarity with EPDE and IESC and protests against the prohibition of the organisations in Russia. DRA asserts in its statement that the activities of EPDE and its member organisations must be ensured in Russia as well as in all European countries. It is also calling on the media to publicize this repression of the NGO network, so that it receives international coverage. Please read more here.


5 April 2018

Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors (GNDEM) stated that EPDE’s listing “seeks to severely restrict civil society’s activities and limit cross-border cooperation between democratic organizations”. The network also stands with  citizen observers conducting credible election observation and encourages countries to allow citizen observers the means to effectively oversee electoral processes.

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