Elena Popova is the head of the Russian Conscientious Objectors Movement. She lives in St. Petersburg. After the convulsive days of the crisis in Russia, she sent us this document prepared as the official position of the Movement, which is undergoing a very harsh attack by the Kremlin. It is a plea for help that we dutifully publish. It is even more important, therefore, to support the Campaign to Object to War.

Dear friends of the Nonviolent Movement,

We are sending you an urgent update on our organization. As of last Friday, June 23,[2023], the Conscientious Objectors Movement has been officially declared by the authorities a “foreign agent” in the Russian Federation.

The Ministry of Justice accuses us of disseminating information believed to be false about government actions, decisions, and policies, as well as of opposing Russia’s military actions in Ukraine. For the current government of the Russian Federation, these charges are sufficient to justify outlawing our organization.

This fact, while a demonstration of the effectiveness of our work, is also fundamentally a discriminatory application of the law that tramples on universally accepted human rights and freedoms.

Our team worked tirelessly over the weekend to take measures for the safety of the members of our Movement which is dedicated to the community we serve. A significant number of our volunteers and coordinators still live in Russia and now face an increased risk of state pressure and persecution. Despite these growing threats, we remain committed to supporting those who resist war and forced conscription.

We want to assure you that the Conscientious Objectors Movement will continue its mission. We remain steadfast in our principles and values, dedicated to educating people about their right to conscientious objection to military service.

This underscores the importance of our partnership with the global community. Starting this week, we will publish a monthly news summary to keep you informed, as well as all others who are interested in our ongoing work and upcoming challenges. Please feel free to forward this message to anyone who may be interested in following our work.

We take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of your continued support. Whether you amplify our voice, provide outreach opportunities, or assist with fundraising efforts, your contributions are invaluable in these challenging times.

Thank you for being with us.

We deeply appreciate your continued commitment and support.

Kind regards,

The Movement of Conscientious Objectors
Moscow-St. Petersburg,
June 26, 2023