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June 17, 2014

RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT DECLARES ECODEFENSE A “FOREIGN AGENT” FOR RESISTING CONSTRUCTION OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANT NEAR KALININGRAD

Ecodefense has never been involved in political activities and has
never served any "foreign interests." Our goal is to protect the
environment and people and we intend to use all legal avenues at our
disposal to defend our honest name in court.

Today Ecodefense received an inspection report from the Ministry of
Justice of Russia which declared our organization  a "foreign agent."
This decision is unjustified: Throughout its entire history,

Ecodefense has never been involved in political activities and has
never served any "foreign interests." Our goal is to protect the
environment and people and we intend to use all legal avenues at our
disposal to defend our honest name in court.

Today Ecodefense received an inspection report from the Ministry of
Justice of Russia which declared our organization  a "foreign agent."
This decision is unjustified: Throughout its entire history,
Ecodefense has made and continues to make decisions by a council
consisting of Russian citizens, and never in the interests of any
foreign entities. As a matter of principle, Ecodefense has never
participated in politics, which we understand as efforts aimed to get
access to political power.

The decision by the Ministry of Justice is based on the fact that
Ecodefense actively campaigned for many years against the construction
of a nuclear power plant near the city of Kaliningrad.  The campaign
was ongoing since 2007 and we at Ecodefense were happy when the
construction was stopped last year. At the same time, we have been
running other projects and campaigns focused, among other issues, on
coal, nuclear waste, as well as environmental education and
information/media activities, etc. For some reason, however, the
Ministry of Justice was interested specifically in one campaign
against that nuclear power plant construction.

Notably, a previous inspection by the Russian authorities – undertaken
in April 2013 by the Office of Prosecutor General -did not find any
problems with Ecodefense's activities. Two months later, the
construction of the Baltic Nuclear Power Plant near Kaliningrad was
finally abandoned. During the time between the two inspections
Ecodefense did not practice any new methods or approaches in this
campaign. This is why we understand today's action by the Ministry of
Justice against us to be an act of revenge for our campaign, a
campaign that helped to stop nuclear construction.

We at Ecodefense insist that public actions and speeches in opposition
to the construction of the Baltic Nuclear Power Plant – a sentiment
shared by a vast majority of citizens in Kaliningrad Region – are not
political activity that may qualify us as "foreign agents." Our
actions were and remain to be aimed at protecting the right of Russian
citizens to a favorable environment as guaranteed by the Russian
Constitution. We regret that the Russian authorities have opted to use
this act of repression and we are prepared to protect our reputation
in court if needed.

Additional information

Ecodefense is a Russian environmental group founded in 1989 in
Kaliningrad; it runs its activities mostly in Russia through
coordinators in Moscow, Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg, and other cities.
For the past 25 years, Ecodefense has successfully campaigned against
import of nuclear waste into Russia from other countries, as well as
against a variety of other environmental risks related to nuclear,
coal, oil drilling, and other industrial activities  that are
hazardous to people and the environment. Ecodefense has also been
involved in activities relating to climate issues and promoting
renewable energy. Hundreds of teachers and thousands of schoolkids
have taken part in Ecodefense's programs on environmental education in
the past two decades.

For more information, please contact:
In Moscow, Vladimir Slivyak — phone +79032997584, e-mail: ecodefense@gmail.com
In Kaliningrad, Alexandra Koroleva — phone +79114663458, e-mail:
ecosasha@gmail.com

www.ecodefense.ru (website in Russian)

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