Unprecedented official crackdown on dissent has seen opposition dismantled and scores of independent media and rights groups branded as ‘foreign agents’ or banned outright
MOSCOW (AFP) — Russia has blocked the website of a rights monitor tracking political persecution, saying it promoted terrorism and extremism, amid an unprecedented official crackdown on dissent.
The move comes in a year that has seen the opposition dismantled and scores of independent media and rights groups branded as “foreign agents” or banned outright.
OVD-Info, which tracks opposition protests and also provides legal support to victims of political persecution, said the Roskomnadzor media regulator had blocked its website earlier this week.
“At the moment, we have not received a notice and do not know the reason for being blocked,” the group tweeted.
A Roskomnadzor registry of blocked websites showed that a Moscow region court had issued a ruling dated December 20 to “limit” access to the site.
The website was not accessible by AFP journalists in Russia on Saturday.
Later Saturday, Russian news agencies cited Roskomnadzor as confirming that it had blocked OVD-Info’s website because the Moscow region court had ruled that the group’s activities were aimed at promoting “terrorism and extremism” in Russia.
Roskomnadzor added that it had sent “demands” to social media networks to “delete the organization’s accounts.”