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Maria Razumovskaya

Maria Razumovskaya

Citizens Watch

Maria Razumovskaya is a deputy chairperson of human rights organisation Citizens Watch, established in 1992 in Saint Petersburg with the goal 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. According to the widely criticised 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 "Foreign Agents law", any NGO that receives funds from abroad must register as a “foreign agent” if it engages in any kind of vaguely defined political activity, including advocacy and human rights work. Since its enlistment as a “foreign agent”, the organisation has been trying to appeal this decision. In November 2015, Citizens Watch lodged a complaint with the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.


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).