By banning the work of German political foundations, the Russian leadership is purposefully trying to block an essential, independent channel of communication between our societies. We deeply regret this further escalation by the Russian authorities. We will maintain contact with all those who are working courageously, creatively, steadfastly and with conviction for a different, peaceful and democratic Russia.
On 8 April 2022, the Russian Ministry of Justice withdrew the registration of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung and the other German political foundations, as well as other international organisations in Russia, thus categorically banning their work in Russia.
This marks the end of the Foundation's more than 30 years of engagement in Russia for the time being. During these three decades, we have built a dense network of partners within Russian civil society and worked together on the analysis of, and dealing with, European contemporary history, on environmental and climate policy issues, on independent social research and on the emancipation of women and disadvantaged groups. Together with our partners, we have held fast to the vision of a free, democratic Russia that lives in peace with its neighbours and finds its place in the "common European house". Dialogue and common understanding between Russian and German/European actors has been at the core of this work.
Unfortunately, the Russian leadership under President Putin has steered the country into the opposite direction for many years. For over ten years, independent media and research institutions have been obstructed, independent civil society organisations harassed and more and more of them have been declared "foreign agents". The brutal Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, which we, as well as our partners, condemn in the strongest possible terms, made the connection between unrestrained internal repression and uninhibited external aggression obvious, even to the very last remaining sceptics.
The decision of the Russian authorities hence comes as no surprise. Since the ban of four German non-governmental organisations last year and the forced dissolution of our most important and long-standing partner organisation Memorial in December 2021, we as well had to expect this ban. Since the prohibition of a foreign organisation is associated with severe threats of punishment for Russian citizens, we have taken appropriate precautions to protect our staff and partners.
By banning the work of German political foundations, the Russian leadership is purposefully trying to block an essential, independent channel of communication between our societies. Additionally, salient matters such as tackling the climate crisis, the green transformation of our economies and the future of our cities, can no longer be dealt with together. We deeply regret this further escalation by the Russian authorities.
We will do our utmost to keep this channel of communication open. We will maintain contact with all those who are working courageously, creatively, steadfastly and with conviction for a different, peaceful and democratic Russia.
On behalf of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung:
Ellen Ueberschär, Imme Scholz, Antonie Nord, Walter Kaufmann, Stefanie Harter
Michael Alvarez Kalverkamp
T +49 (0)30 285 34-202