The sign of the NGO Memorial in Moscow. Photograph :

The sign of the NGO Memorial in Moscow. Photograph :

The General Prosecutor’s Office of Russia sued the Supreme Court to liquidate the International Society “Memorial”. Following this, the Moscow Public Prosecutor’s Office filed a liquidation suit with the Moscow City Court against the Human Rights Center “Memorial”. Both these organizations are recognized by the Ministry of Justice as “foreign agents”. The lawsuits sent to court by prosecutors concern so-called systemic violations of the law on foreign agents, which Memorial’s representatives have allegedly committed.

Statement by PEN-Moscow and “Free Word” Association published by Desk Russie

We understand that the current state of the Russian judicial system does not leave much hope that the Moscow City Court and the Supreme Court will reject the prosecutors. We nevertheless believe that the liquidation of Russia’s most respected historical and educational and human rights organization is not simply another attack by the state on civil society.

It is a symbolic event.

The founding of Memorial in the late 1980s marked the dawn of a new era. Since then, Memorial has been tirelessly and consistently engaged in the study of political repression in the USSR and modern Russia. Its destruction signals a tragic reversal of the Soviet-era totalitarian mindset, even as the regime attempts to lend the political persecution of Memorial the appearance of legality, based on the essentially absurd, socially revolting law on foreign agents.

Memorial has long been a national treasure with enormous historical, legal, and moral value.

We believe that it is up to Russian society to prevent Memorial from being abolished. After all, we are all citizens of a country in which “half imprisoned and the other half served as guards”.

By destroying Memorial, the authorities are destroying our memory. Its liquidation will be followed by the liquidation of all the other institutions of civil society that remain independent of the state.

What can be done about it? How can we resist the “bulldozer” that is currently sweeping through Russia?

Do not keep silent!

We appeal to all citizens of Russia, to people of all professions, to those who are able to reach out to the authorities : this is not just the liquidation of a public organization, this is an attempt on the Memory of the Nation.

We stand in solidarity with Memorial and its staff, who continue the work of one of its founders, the great Russian human rights advocate Academician Andrei Sakharov.

The St. Petersburg PEN Club joins this statement

Membership card of Nina Braguinskaya from Memorial

Researcher, professor at the University of Human Sciences in Moscow, Nina Braguinskaya was one of the founders of Memorial. Here, his membership card #19, dated October 1987 and signed by academician Andrei Sakharov. On her Facebook account, she writes: “I joined and I will stay there”. Memorial can no longer be destroyed, despite all the actions of Putin’s power.

More to read