Russia Liquids Memorial

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Russia on Tuesday turned its back on its dark Soviet past by liquidate the main human rights organization of this country, Memorial, considered the voice of the reprisals of the USSR, the scourge of Stalinism and a headache for the head of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin.

“It is a question of professional deformation, Putin, as a good agent of the secret services, does not believe in an independent civil society,” Alexandr Cherkásov, director of Memorial, told EFE.

It was useless that, from the last Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, to the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dmitry Murátov, or the European Commission called on the Russian Prosecutor’s Office to withdraw the lawsuit against the oldest NGO in this country.

Journalists following the session of the Supreme Court of Russia

Distorted image of the USSR

At the request of the Prosecutor’s Office, which accused Memorial of violating the law of foreign agents, the modern version of the “enemy of the people” of the USSR, the Supreme Court today ordered the fulminating liquidation of Memorial.

The ruling, which satisfies the request of the Prosecutor’s Office that accused the NGO of creating “a false image of the Soviet Union as a terrorist state”, dissolves both the organization that is in charge of preserving historical memory and the one that is in charge of defense of the human rights that make up Memorial Internacional.

The prosecutor, Alexei Zhafiárov, charged Memorial for “distorting” the victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War (1941-45) and rehabilitating Nazi criminals “on whose hands is the blood of Soviet citizens.”

“Why now we, the descendants of the victors, must observe the attempts to rehabilitate the traitors to the homeland and the Nazi accomplices? (…) Surely, because someone pays for it,” he said.

According to Cherkasov, “the USSR under Lenin and Stalin used the terminology of terrorist dictatorship and its leaders were not ashamed of it.”

“The ruling is clearly a political commission. The difficulties for human rights organizations began fifteen years ago, our life became even more complicated after the annexation of Crimea (2014), but since the constitutional reform (2020), with the creating a new political landscape, there is no place for NGOs in Russia, “he said.

“Shame!” Was the shout that could be heard in front of the Supreme Court building, where about a hundred people gathered to support Memorial.

They paint on Navalny's face
OLGA MALTSEVA (AFP). A worker paints on a graffiti with the portrait of Russian opposition Alexei Navalni, on April 28 in Saint Petersburg.

A country without memory

Memorial accuses the Kremlin and the state security organs, in particular the Federal Security Service (FSB, former KGB), of trying to prevent it from further investigating crimes committed during the USSR.

“Putin and those who support him just want to draw a glorious superpower past. It is like a supreme value that does not admit doubts. According to this way of thinking, the State is everything and the rights of the citizen, nothing,” explained Cherkásov.

The Russian authorities, according to the head of Memorial, do not understand that there may be “debates in Parliament, that the opposition criticizes the government, that a human rights activist asks questions or that the press investigates.”

“For them, the truth can only be secret, classified. What they do not understand is that if there is no interaction with society, the system is doomed to catastrophe,” he says.

Memorial, an organization formally founded in 1991, among others, by dissident and scientist Andrei Sakharov, has a database with more than three million victims of Soviet repressions, out of a total of 12 million.

In addition, it has a museum dedicated to the GULAG or network of Soviet labor camps and an archive with 41,000 executioners who worked for the NKVD, precursor of the KGB, during the Stalinist purges.

The activists also accuse Putin of trying to hide the state crimes perpetrated since he came to power (1999), starting with the Second Chechen War. “The repression will continue,” warns the activist.

Memorial closure protest
Arrested for protesting the liquidation of the Russian NGO Memorial

Memorial, all is not lost

Before knowing the ruling, the defender of Memorial, the veteran lawyer Guenri Reznik, warned that the trial is “a test of the values ​​that determine life in a rule of law”, after which he anticipated that he will appeal the sentence, if he does Failure to do so before the European Court of Human Rights.

“Close, liquidate, suspend, prohibit. They will not be able to do it with Memorial, since there is a popular demand for historical memory. The trend is evident, but we must not go into exile. The spirit of protest is still alive. It is too early to consider us buried. “Cherkasov noted.

In this regard, the director of Memorial International, Yan Rachinski, assured that the ruling does not imply the cessation of the activities of the NGO, since there are many organizations attached to it that are not registered or do not appear as legal entities.

“Suspending the activities of Memorial is not within the possibilities of the Prosecutor’s Office,” he stressed.

The closure of Memorial is an attempt to “cloud the national memory of state repression” and is “an insult to the victims of GULAG”, according to Amnesty International.

Usama Younus

Usama Younus is the owner and super admin of the site he's is an expert in news editing, tech and entertainment magazine management, and articles editing E.T.C.

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