Russia recently placed the Berlin-based think tank Center for Liberal Modernity on a các mục of "undesirable organizations." spoke khổng lồ co-founder Ralf Fücks about Moscow"s motives và the implications of the ban.

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By stopping the work of NGOs, the Kremlin is also attacking the German government, Fücks said

At the over of May, the Russian Prosecutor General"s Office labeled three German NGOs "undesirable organizations."Itincluded the Berlin-based Center for Liberal Modernity (LibMod).

"This is also aimed at the German governmentbecause it has financed our previous cooperation projects with Russian partners," said Ralf Fücks, co-founder of the independent think tank. He spoke about Moscow"s thinking & the ramifications of the ban for the bilateral research project "Climate Change & Russia"s Economic Modernization." Why did the Kremlin ban the Center for Liberal Modernism? Was it revenge for the rejection of the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream-2? Was LibMod punished for scientific studies that are supposed to prove that Russia"s current business mã sản phẩm has no future because it is based on fossil fuels?

Ralf Fücks: Those reasons certainlyplayed a role, but there were other factors as well. The Center for Liberal Modernity is a very noticeablycritical voice in the German debate on Russia, which is about whether cooperation with the Kremlin should continue at all costs or whether we have lớn defend principles & values when they are violated by Russian policy. This decision is also part of an overall hardening of German-Russian relations, something that became apparent, most recently, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel demonstratively took the side of Alexei Navalny after he was poisonedand refused lớn accept the Russian narrative that the FSB had nothing to vì chưng with it. Since then, there has been a sense that the tone has changed, that the Kremlin may no longer be banking on a special German-Russian relationshipbut is more confrontational.


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However, probably no other German NGO has focused as intensively on the Russian economy and specifically the Russian fossil energy sector as LibMod. In the last six months, five studies on this topic have been published on your website. Why is a Berlin-based NGO so interested in the Russian energy industry?

For our institute, & for me personally, environmental issues play a central role. I have been involved in environmental politics for more than 30 years. Climate change is arguably the key global challenge today, and Russia is the world"s largest exporter of fossil fuels if you take oil, natural gas và coal together. As a result, Russia continues lớn fuel climate change. It also generates high greenhouse gas emissions at home —it is responsible for about 5%of global CO2 emissions.

In my former capacity as a board thành viên of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, I also worked for many years with environmental initiatives và institutes in Russia. In this respect, it was only logical for us to deal intensively with this topic. From the outset, we took a constructive approach. Our aim was not khổng lồ put Russia in the dock but to lớn point to lớn alternatives to the current economic model, which is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, and to develop scenarios for its successful ecological modernization.

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But in Russia, even the intellectual elite is skeptical about decarbonizing the economy, as shown by a study published in May by the Russian opinion research institute Levada Center on behalf of LibMod.

There is obviously a clear discrepancy between international và Russian climate policy discussions. There are still significantly more skeptical voices in Russia, including those who simply deny scientific findings or brand them as a malicious plot against Russia"s economic interests. But I am sure that even Russia will not be able khổng lồ close its eyes to lớn climate policy insights & consequences in the long run. The country itself will be massively affected by climate change. Just think of the thawing of the permafrost, increasing drought periods in the southern regions of Russia or the gigantic forest fires.

LibMod was planning in June to launch a series of at least six studies with Russian experts on various aspects of Russia"s economic và ecological modernization. What will become of this project now?

We cannot continue this project because any cooperation with LibMod would be a criminal offense for Russian citizens. If Moscow declares us an undesirable foreign organization and, in effect, makes it impossible for us lớn cooperate with long-standing friends và partners in Russia, then this is also aimed at the German governmentbecause it has financed these cooperation projects.


Ralf Fücks co-founded the Center for Liberal Modernity along with his wife, Marieluise Beck

Will LibMod withdraw from issues in Russia và possibly focus on other post-Soviet countries, such as Ukraine?

We are very involved in Ukraine already. We see the country as a testing ground for the democratic transformation of post-Soviet societies. But we will certainly not turn our backs on Russia but will focus more on analyses on Russia and on the debate around an appropriate Russia policy for the West. We are not saying goodbye to lớn international expert networks.

Ralf Fücks heads the Center for Liberal Modernity in Berlin, which he founded with his wife, Marieluise Beck, in 2017. Before that, both were among the leading figures in Germany"s Green party for several decades. LibMod sees itself as an independent và cross-party think tank.

The interview was conducted by Andrey Gurkov and has been translated from German.