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Statement by Transparency International Russia’s founder Elena Panfilova

For 23 years, the team of Transparency International Russia has been promoting the values of transparency, accountability, rule of law and, after all, human decency in Russia. A long time, isn’t it? 

After we were declared ‘foreign agents’ in 2015, our legal professionals pored other additional reports for the Ministry of Justice, and our editors worked hard on choosing the right wording and marking every text with the mandated ‘foreign agent’ labels. But we carried on with our work without stopping for a single moment.

Yesterday the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation decided that the Transparency International movement is an ‘undesirable organization’. And it may seem that now is the time to give up and admit that 23 years of our work went down the drain. The news stunned us indeed, because in terms of events and facts nothing foreshadowed it, but it would perhaps be naive from our side to hope for a miracle and suggest that our adherence to the Russian law would keep our foreign colleagues from unprompted and unmotivated designation with toxic markers, such as ‘undesired organization’, in 2023. And although from a legal standpoint we are a completely different organization, we get the message of the Russian authorities.

We were transparent and demanded the same from the power, business and society, but the government has made it clear that it is not interested in our efforts. To carry on our fight against corruption, we will have to adapt to the new reality.

We and our colleagues have 10 to 14 days before Transparency International’s main office in Berlin will be included in the registry of ‘undesirable organizations’, and during this short period we will share with you the investigations we have prepared, as well as find the way to continue the work of our team in this new circumstances. We are delighted to know that we are not alone on this path – we thank you all, journalists and scholars, grassroots activists and our readers. We have one vision, a world free of corruption, and we don’t stop believing that we can achieve it together.

We are determined to continue our work, and since it is not yet forbidden to follow us in Russia, please do so to stay up to date.

07.03.2023 12:00

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