Russia, increasingly ostracized and isolated from the outside world, suffered yet another setback in January when the Munich Security Conference’s organizers said that Russian defense officials would not be invited to attend. The soft non-invite turned into a strong rejection of Russia’s official government on Wednesday, when organizers decided to invite Garry Kasparov and Mikhail Khodorkovsky to the event in place of the official Russian Government
In an interview published on Wednesday by MDR Aktuell, Christoph Heusgen, the event’s organizer, said that in light of the fact that Vladimir Putin has not given any signs that “Russia will retreat even one iota from what Putin has declared to be the goal of the war, namely, the destruction of Ukraine,” Moscow could not be invited to attend or to speak at the event which is to be held in two weeks.
Heusgen, a career German diplomat who at one point had served at Germany’s UN mission in New York, indicated that the security forum’s organizers wished to keep Russian officials from using the event to platform their views, which are so contrary to global security interests.
In 2016 Kasparov and Khodorkovsky teamed up to form the Democratic Solidarity Movement and currently work together on the Free Russia Forum, which is based in Vilnius, Lithuania. Both organizations are outspoken in their opposition to the authoritarian Putin regime and have been clear in their strong support for Ukraine against Russian aggression.
On Thursday, the day after the Munich Security Forum’s announcement about their plans to invite the Russian opposition to their event, Mikhail Khodorkovsky wrote on his English-language Twitter account that the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office had recognized the Lithuanian-based Free Russia Forum as “an undesirable organization,” and that Russia would recognize it as a “threat to the constitutional order and security.”
The Putin Regime has continued to crack down on human rights and democracy advocates since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2023.
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