Press release

Russia Targets Human Rights Activist with Criminal Charges, ‘Foreign Agents’ Law

Russia launched criminal proceedings against the head of human rights non profit organizations "Women of the Don” for alleged violation of Russia’s “foreign agents” law.


In response to Russian authorities filing criminal charges against Valentina Cherevatenko, head of the human rights organization “Women of the Don,” for alleged violation of Russia’s “foreign agents” law, Freedom House issued the following statement: 

“Bringing criminal procedures against an activist under a law designed to stop the work of human rights organizations shows Russia’s determination to criminalize efforts even by individuals to protect fundamental rights,” said Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president. “The government uses the ‘foreign agents’ law to make the preposterous claim that human rights activists work against Russia’s interests.”

On June 27, 2016, Russian authorities notified Valentina Cherevatenko, head of the nonprofit “Women of the Don,” that criminal proceedings were being launched for alleged noncompliance with the “foreign agents” law, which requires organizations receiving foreign funding to register as foreign agents. Violations are punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment.

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2015, and receives a democracy score of 6.5 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2016.