US Secretary of State condemned arrests at forum in Moscow

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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Saturday, March 13, condemned the detention of participants in the United Democrats forum in Moscow. The head of the American foreign policy department announced this in his Twitter

“Today, the Russian authorities on dubious grounds detained almost 200 municipal leaders and politicians, including activists Vladimir Kara-Murza and Yulia Galyamin,” he wrote.

In his message, Blinken called for an “end to the persecution” of the so-called “independent voices”.

According to the lawyers of the detainees, including the municipal deputy Ilya Yashin, public figure Vladimir Kara-Murza, the former mayor of Yekaterinburg Yevgeny Roizman, the St. Petersburg deputy Maxim Reznik and the municipal deputy of the Timiryazevsky district Yulia Galyamina, they are accused of participation in the activities of an undesirable organization (Article 20.33 of the Administrative Code RF – the implementation of activities on the territory of the Russian Federation by a foreign non-governmental organization, in respect of which a decision was made to recognize it as undesirable). According to the law, under this article, the violator faces an administrative fine in the amount of 5,000 to 15,000 rubles.

Earlier, on March 13, police officers came to the forum “Municipal Russia”, which was held in Moscow by an organization recognized as undesirable in the Russian Federation. Law enforcers explained to the forum participants the reason for the detention, indicating that the event would be terminated.

United Democrats is a project of the recognized undesirable organization Open Russia. In 2017, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office included the British organizations OR Otkrytaya Rossia and Open Russia Civic Movement in the list of “undesirable”.