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Vanessa Kogan, an American who brings Russian men to justice, expelled from the country

MOSCOW – The mother was desperate. In June, her daughter died in what her daughter’s husband described as an accident, but the mother suspected it was domestic violence so extreme that it led to the murder. The husband worked in the Russian security service and the authorities did not appear to be investigating.

Because she was a woman, said Vanessa Kogan, US director of the human rights group Justice Initiative, investigators place “less value” on the girl’s life.

Like thousands of other desperate or disillusioned Russian citizens – political prisoners, victims of torture or abuse or indifferent treatment by the police – the mother turned to the Justice Initiative for legal assistance, in a case that leads to an appeal to the European Court. human rights.

However, Kogan will likely not be in Russia again if that day arrives.

She is being forced to leave the country amid growing crackdown on non-governmental organizations and civil society groups. First, Russian authorities have called one of the Justice Initiative’s branches a “foreign agent,” a designation that makes it difficult to work with everyday Russians. Then, in March, without any explanation, the group was kicked out of its Moscow offices. In September, they were forced to leave another part of the city.

And now the director, Kogan, a New York-born American citizen, is being deported from Russia after being viewed as “a threat to state security.”

On December 2, Kogan’s Russian residence permit was revoked, giving her two weeks to leave the country with her Russian husband and children. “I guess they wanted to kill two birds with one stone,” Kogan told the Daily Beast, of the deportation which would prevent him from working in Russia and threatening to break up his family. Her husband, also a human rights lawyer, and their two children, aged 3 and 6, will leave together, she said.

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