The Russian Prosecutor General's Office has labeled independent news outlet Novaya Gazeta Europe an “undesirable” organization.
The Prosecutor General's Office accused the media outlet, established by journalists from Novaya Gazeta, which was previously banned in Russia, of “engaging in activities that involve creating and disseminating disseminates tendentious information to Russia’s detriment.”
The media outlet was also accused of spreading “false information” about the mass violations of rights and freedoms of citizens in Russia, as well as “fakes” about the war in Ukraine, which the Russian government insists on referring to as a “special military operation.”
Ilya Azar, one of the publication's journalists, commented on the decision to news outlet Sota:
“I don't give a damn about the decisions of the Prosecutor General's Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Constitutional Court, and other so-called official bodies of the Russian Federation. All of their employees are headed for jail or lustration. I’m proud to work with Novaya Gazeta Europe and will continue to do so. No to war, freedom for political prisoners, and a speedy trial for war criminals!”
Novaya Gazeta Europe responded to the decision with a manifesto titled “We’re not going anywhere.”
“Having failed to completely stamp out every independent voice and outlet in the country or force us to stay silent, the Kremlin has now labeled us as criminals. On 28 June 2023, Russia designated Novaya Gazeta Europe as an ‘undesirable organization.’ A day earlier, the Russian authorities launched a missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, killing 11 people, among them children, and injuring 61 more. The Russian authorities are persecuting journalists because they do not want ordinary Russians to know about this crime and many others. [...]
Novaya-Europe’s journalists are essentially branded criminals for telling it like it is. And we will continue to do so,” read the collective statement.
Providing financial support to Novaya Gazeta Europe or circulating its articles can now be considered as involvement in the activities of a designated “undesirable organization” in Russia. A first offense may result in administrative penalties, while a repeated offense could lead to criminal charges.
The General Prosecutor's Office previously recognized activities of multiple independent opposition media outlets — such as The Insider, Meduza, Important Stories, and Proekt — as “undesirable.”
On May 19, the environmental activist organization Greenpeace was also declared “undesirable” in Russia.