On July 24, the Magistrate Court of the Belgorod Eastern District imposed a fine of 5 thousand rubles on two members of the Open Russia movement, Vladimir Chernyshev and Maksim Klimov, for their participation in the d“undesirable organization” activities, as reported by «7x7» journalist.
The court considered that Vladimir Chernyshev and Maksim Klimov participated in the work of the British Open Russia, recognized in 2017 as an undesirable organization. In April, Chernyshev rented a premise in a Belgorod hotel for a lecture by Mikhail Svetov and for a founding conference of the Open Russia movement in the region, and Klimov took part in it. The conference itself was visited by siloviki, who interviewed its participants. Later they made cases on Chernyshev and Klimov under the Article 20.33 of the Administrative Offenses Code (“Conducting the activities on the territory of the Russian Federation by a foreign or international non-governmental organization whose activities were recognized as undesirable on the territory of the Russian Federation”).
Activists denied their guilt in court. They explained that the organization Open Russia that was registered in Great Britain was recognized as undesirable. Both Chernyshev and Klimov assured that they had written applications for joining the Open Russia movement created on the territory of Russia. Klimov asked to attach to the case the extract from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities where organizations with similar names are indicated.
The judge did not listen to the arguments of the activists and fined them for 5 thousand rubles.
“This is the theater of the absurd! We are not members of an undesirable organization. No evidence was provided that we or our Russian organization are related to Open Russia registered in the UK. I will defend my innocence until the end and reach the European Court of Human Rights”, said Vladimir Chernyshev.
In April 2017, the Prosecutor General's Office recognized several British organizations associated with former Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky as undesirable, including Open Russia. The security forces assured that this would not affect the work of the Russian civil movement Open Russia.
Later on, the courts in several regions took administrative legal action against the activists for participating in the events of the Russian movement. In May this year, in Cheboksary, the regional office coordinator of Open Russia network was fined 6 thousand rubles.