The Sova Center gave versions of its liquidation

The Sova Center for Information and Analysis will lose its registration. The Center deals with such topics as radical nationalism, interaction between religion and society, and the application of anti-extremist legislation in Russia. It was registered in 2002 as a Moscow regional NGO. On April 27, the Moscow City Court decided to cancel the registration. The Center republished a column by the Sova Center director from The Moscow Times.
In court, a representative of the prosecutor’s office said: her colleagues “in the course of monitoring” discovered that Sova employees were organizing events outside “their” region and participating in such events. That’s why the Prosecutor’s Office demanded an inspection of the Sova. The prosecutor’s demand to the Ministry of Justice says that this information was found directly on the Sova Center’s website.
The head of Sova, Alexander Verkhovsky, who was appointed to the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights in 2012 and removed from it by President Vladimir Putin in November 2022, gave the following answers to the question “Why?”.
In the first place, it could have been an almost accidental choice to try out a new method. But it could also have been the Sova to which the complaints could well have been piled up. Most expected is dislike for criticism of anti-extremist law enforcement and many legal innovations in this area. Moreover, over the past year there has been more criticism, as well as more reasons for criticism, and the authorities’ tolerance for criticism in general has clearly decreased.
It may be that now it has become more irritating to defend those who do not fit into the idea of “traditionalism”, for example, religious: “traditionalism” is becoming more and more important in the propaganda complex.
Or maybe it’s something else entirely: it is often difficult to understand the motivations of people whose idea of reality has long been shaped almost exclusively by memos emanating primarily from law enforcement agencies.
It is easy to predict that the number of problems for human rights organizations, as well as for any other groups and people seeking to maintain independence, will only increase, but it is only good in the short term. And what will happen next is still difficult to predict.
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