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Kremlin Censures Planned Russian Protests, Outlaws Khodorkovsky NGOs - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Kremlin said on Thursday that an opposition protest planned for Saturday was illegal and police would deal with anyone who showed up accordingly.

The Open Russia foundation, an organization set up by Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has called for big anti-government protests on Saturday ahead of a presidential election next year.

“We are still hearing calls for illegal action,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
“This will naturally lead to an absolutely lawful reaction from the authorities in accordance with current legislation.”

Open Russia hopes the protest will put pressure on Vladimir Putin, who is expected to run for what would be a fourth presidential term next year, to leave politics.

In a statement on Wednesday, the General Prosecutor’s Office said it had decided that the activity of the Open Russia foundation, which it called a British organization, was “undesirable” in Russia.

More so, Russia on Wednesday banned three organizations associated with former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, branding them “undesirable” for allegedly seeking to stir unrest and discredit elections.

OR (Otkrytaya Rossia), the Institute of Modern Russia and the Open Russia Civic Movement have been recognized as “undesirable” by the Prosecutor General in line with a controversial Russian law that targets foreign groups accused of political meddling.

Entities put on the “undesirable” list are banned from issuing any publications in Russia and risk having their bank accounts blocked, while people cooperating with them could be hit with fines, jail time and Russian entry bans.

Khodorkovsky, who owned Yukos oil giant before he was convicted in two controversial cases, now lives abroad but Open Russia maintains an office and a popular website in Russia.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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