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Russia: Closure of International Memorial is an insult to victims of the Russian Gulag

Reacting to the news that the Russian Supreme Court today ordered the closure of civil society organization International Memorial for allegedly violating “foreign agent” legislation, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Director, said:

“International Memorial is a highly respected human rights organization that has worked tirelessly to document the atrocities and political repression carried out under the rule of Joseph Stalin and other Soviet leaders. By closing down the organization, Russian authorities trample on the memory of millions of victims lost to the Gulag.

“The closure of International Memorial represents a direct assault on the rights to freedom of expression and association. The authorities’ use of the ‘foreign agents’ law to dissolve the organization is a blatant attack on civil society that seeks to blur the national memory of state repression. The decision to shut down International Memorial is a grave insult to victims of the Russian Gulag and must be immediately overturned.”

Background

Founded in 1989, International Memorial is one of Russia’s most respected civil society organizations. 

The prosecutors claimed that International Memorial repeatedly violated the “foreign agents” law by refusing to label their content as produced by a “foreign agent” or adding lengthy disclaimers stating the same.

A request to liquidate Human Rights Center Memorial, International Memorial’s sister organization, was also submitted to the Moscow City Court on the same day. The court is due to make a decision on this request in the coming days.