Today, when Amnesty International staff in Moscow got to their offices, they discovered they had been evicted. The offices were leased by the city government, which claims that Amnesty International had not paid rent, which they dispute, and are willing to counter with documentation.
Amnesty International has spoken out against Russia’s airstrikes on rebels in Syria. It is possible that this is the Kremlin’s way of retaliating against the group, or there may be other explanations as well, such as a clerical error.
This wouldn’t be Russia’s first publicized retaliation against a group. According to The New York Times,
“Kremlin officials have accused some foreign-backed civil society groups of working on behalf of Western governments to foment unrest and replicate the revolutions that forced out pro-Russian leaders in several ex-Soviet states.”
Due to this suspicion, Russia has labeled some of its country’s own NGOs as “‘foreign agents'” according to the article. This allows the government to place them under “intense scrutiny.”
Supposing the Kremlin intended to punish Amnesty International, would such a public show of force be beneficial to Russia, considering its negative public image abroad, owing to its domestic and international policy?
Read more here.