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 Elena Shakhova

Elena Shakhova

HRD, Chairperson
Citizens Watch

Elena Shakhova is Chairperson of Citizens Watch, a human rights organisation in Saint Petersburg that was established in 1992 with the aim to assist in instituting parliamentary and civic control over the police, the security service, and armed forces, and to help prevent violations of the constitutional rights of people living in Russia by these governmental agencies. On 30 December 2014, Citizens Watch was registered as a “foreign agent” by decision of the Ministry of Justice, adopted in accordance with the requirements set forth by the Federal Law №121-FZ “On Introducing Changes to Certain Pieces of Legislation of the Russian Federation as Regards Regulation of Activities of Non-Commercial Organisations Performing the Functions of Foreign Agents”, otherwise known as the "Foreign Agents law".


Human rights defenders (HRDs) in the Russian Federation have been subjected to acts of harassment, surveillance, violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, violent attacks, raids and searches on their offices and homes, slander and smear campaigns, judicial harassment, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment. Among the HRDs who are particularly at risk are those involved on issues such as the situation in the North Caucasus (particularly Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan).