IDFI’s Partner Organization in Russia Remains Under Pressure

Statements | Memory and Disinformation Studies 1 May 2021

On April 30, in Russia, Ivan Pavlov, a lawyer who heads IDFI's partner human rights organization Team 29 (Команда 29) was arrested. Pavlov is also an opponent of the Kremlin, and a lawyer for Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. He has been charged with leaking classified information related to the protracted investigation. According to a representative of Team 29, members of Russia’s Federal Security Service raided Pavlov’s room in one of Moscow’s hotels, the Saint Petersburg office of the organization, as well as the house of its Technical Manager. 


Ivan Pavlov is one of the most successful lawyers in Russia, frequently coming to the defense of the rights of persons who are embroiled in legal disputes with the Russian Federal Security Service. It should be noted that Team 29 is representing Ivan Safronov, who has been accused of spying for NATO against Russia. The investigation against Ivan Pavlov was initiated specifically in relation with the Safronovcase, as Pavlov is being accused of allegedly disclosing classified details of the Safronov case to the news media. Crucially, however, the arrest of Ivan Pavlov and the raids on the Team 24 offices took place four days after the organization’s announcement that it would be defending the rights of Navalny’s organization, which the Russian prosecutors have accused of extremist behavior, with a call to outlaw activities on the territory of Russia. 


Notably, this is not the first case where Team 29 has encountered persecution from the Russian government. The organization was formed with its current name after the Freedom of Information Foundation, founded by Team 29’s members in 2004, was charged with “spying for a foreign country” in 2014 by the Russian prosecutors and was subsequently deprived of the right to continue its activities. As a result, the lawyers and journalists of the former Foundation united to create “Team 29” (Article 29 of the Russian Constitution regulates issues of freedom of information and access to it), thereby continuing their work on protecting freedom of information and strengthening democratic principles in Russia to this day.  


The Freedom of Information Foundation was one of IDFI’s first partner organizations, and IDFI is currently actively involved in cooperation and partnership with Team 29. 


IDFI would like to once again express support for its colleagues and partners. IDFI calls on international human rights organizations to utilize all available means and resources to guarantee the safety and freedom of Ivan Pavlov.

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