Named after human rights activist and nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov, the Sakharov Centre was set up in 1996 as a centre of public discussion and outreach programmes in Moscow. It contains a museum, archive materials on the Soviet 20th century, and frequently holds exhibitions, theatre performances, documentary film showings and public lectures on matters of historical, political and social interest.
If you care about what the Centre does, please consider sharing this message from Lena Kaluzhskaya at the Sakharov Centre. Alternatively, write to your representatives.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I would like to inform you that the Sakharov Centre in Moscow very much needs your help. When it comes to the Law on Foreign Agents, everything is more or less clear if you are an NGO. And when the law first came into force, they just tried to scare us with it; and inspections didn’t harm us at all. But now, following the unscheduled inspection on 17 December of our office and activities, there is clearly a threat of closure or registration on the list of ‘Foreign Agents.’
On 4 December, the Sakharov Centre received notification of an impending inspection of our documents, from 12 December to 19 January by the Main Administration of the Ministry of Justice, Moscow. In addition, we were also informed that this inspection is being carried out ‘with the aim of checking information received on 1 December 2014 from an anonymous citizen.’
The last unplanned inspection of the Sakharov Centre finished only in September, and didn’t give anything of any import to the inspecting ministries. Since the Centre's establishment in 1996, it has conducted public outreach programmes, and fostered free and open public discussion. We do not work for state institutions and we do not participate in electoral campaigns.
Even conversations about political problems are nowadays considered a form of ‘political activity.’
In this sense, our activities cannot be considered ‘political.’ But recent decisions taken by the Ministry of Justice (i.e. in relation to the Moscow School of Civil Enlightenment) indicate an increased tendency nowadays to consider even conversations about political problems a form of ‘political activity.’ Accordingly, this has led to these threats being made, to brand the Sakharov Centre with a label incompatible with what we do.
On the 25th anniversary of Andrei Sakharov’s death, the Sakharov Centre’s registration as a ‘Foreign Agent’ by the Russian government would symbolise the final chapter in the 25-year history of post-communist Russia.
Director of Discussion Programmes, Sakharov Centre
Standfist image via Facebook.