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Russian justice completes dissolving the Memorial NGO

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The courtyard decided to accede to the prosecutor’s request to dissolve the Memorial rights organization and all attached entitiessaid Judge Mikhail Kazakov, according to an AFP correspondent at the Moscow City Court.

This ruling applies to the body documenting human rights violations in contemporary Russia, including political prosecutions against Vladimir Putin’s opponents. The day before, the Supreme Court had banned its parent company, Memorial International, and its structures investigating the Soviet purges.

The Memorial Human Rights Center was dissolved for breaking a controversial human rights law. foreign agents and having made the apology for terrorism andextremism, accusations that the NGO rejects.

Its director, Alexander Cherkassov, denounced a decision Politics and swore that the organization would continue to work in one way or another.

Alexander Cherkassov in an interview in front of large libraries.

Alexandre Tcherkassov, director of Memorial.

Photo: TurnedNews.com

We do not indulge in any illusions, said one of the group’s lawyers, Ilia Novikov, believing, however, that he was very important that the ship sinks without having brought the flag.

Despite the freezing cold, dozens of people gathered in front of the tribunal to express their support for this organization, which is emblematic of contemporary Russian history.

Its dissolution is a shameful decision which illustrates thecollapse of the entire judicial system, indignant Elena Ponomariova, one of the sympathizers present.

A pillar of civil society

Founded in 1989 by Soviet dissidents wanting to save the memory of the victims of Stalinist crimes, the Memorial NGO then established itself as a pillar of civil society, drawing the wrath of the Kremlin for its commitment to the defense of public freedoms. .

The dissolutions pronounced Tuesday and Wednesday come against a backdrop of all-out repression of critical voices from the Kremlin.

The year 2021 was marked by the imprisonment of the main opponent of the Kremlin, Alexei Navalny, then the ban on his movement for extremism, but also the designation of many NGOs, independent media or individuals under the name offoreign agents.

Alexei Navalny raises his hand.

Alexeï Navalny has been imprisoned since the start of 2021 in a fraud case and faces several other charges.

Photo: Getty Images / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV

This qualification, which recalls that ofenemy of the people in the Stalinist era, forced the persons or entities concerned to submit to tedious administrative procedures and to mention this status in each of their publications.

It is precisely because they criticized Memorial and its Human Rights Center for having failed in this last obligation in certain publications that the Russian authorities obtained their dissolution.

The Center was also accused of having defended the terrorism andextremism by publishing a list of prisoners containing the names of members of religious or political groups banned in Russia.

Indignant reactions

The dissolution of Memorial International on Tuesday sparked outrage around the world, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denouncing a persecution.

The Memorial ban deals another blow to civil society in Russia, lamented Wednesday Marie Struthers, director of Amnesty International for Europe and Central Asia, who underlines that the accusations against the NGO are can.

The United Nations Human Rights Office has for its part declared regret deeply Russian court decisions against Memorial and its Human Rights Center, which result in the dissolution of two of Russia’s most respected human rights groups and further weaken the country’s declining human rights community.

Soviet era documents.

The Memorial databases contain some 3.5 million names of victims of the persecution of the Stalinist regime.

Photo: CBC / Dave St-Amant

Founded by Soviet dissidents, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov, Memorial’s mission was to shed light on the crimes of the Soviet Union against its people. After the end of the USSR, she also became involved in the defense of human rights.

During the two Chechen wars, she distinguished herself by documenting the abuses of Russian forces and their Chechen allies.

In 2009, Natalia Estemirova, the head of the NGO in this region of the Caucasus, was assassinated. The crime has never been elucidated.

Supporters of the NGO consider that the government wants to suppress Memorial to put an end to any denunciation of its own abuses, but also to pass over in silence the history of the Soviet repressions and their millions of victims for the benefit of the exclusive celebration of the victory. of the Stalinist USSR in World War II.

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