According to the Prosecutor General's Office, the organization that has existed since 1987, of which Boris Yeltsin was a member, creates a false image of the USSR ”, it must be closed to protect the rights of citizens to access reliable information
The Supreme Court of Russia liquidated the international historical, educational, charitable and human rights society Memorial (recognized in Russia as an NGO-foreign agent), having satisfied the claim of the Prosecutor General's Office, the RBC correspondent reports. Since 1987, the organization has been researching repressions in the USSR and restoring the memory of their victims.
The representative of the Prosecutor General's Office Alexei Zhafyarov in the debate of the parties on Tuesday, December 28, argued that the organization poses a public threat, “ speculates on the topic of political repression, distorts the historical memory, including the Great Patriotic War, and creates a false image of the USSR as a terrorist state ''; , and also under the guise of restoring historical memory is trying to “ rehabilitate Nazi criminals and traitors to their homeland. '' For this, according to Zhafyarov, “ someone pays. ''
International Memorial & mdash; this is 33 years of labor of many people '', & mdash; Olena Zhemkova, the organization's executive director, objected in the debate, stressing that the Russian state, at least until recently, appreciated the work of perpetuating the memory of victims of political repression, and included the leaders of Memorial. to expert commissions under the government and supported the initiatives of the organization.
The hearings were attended by the chairman of the board of the organization Yan Rachinsky, interests of Memorial were represented by lawyers Maria Eismont, Mikhail Biryukov and Henry Reznik. The latter, in the debate of the parties, drew the court's attention to the Concept of State Policy to Perpetuate the Memory of Victims of Political Repression: “ Russia cannot fully become a rule-of-law state and take a leading role in the world community without perpetuating the memory of many millions of its citizens who have become victims of political repressions. '' , & mdash; said in this document.
What are the claims to the Memorial
Formally, the prosecutor's office substantiated its demand for the liquidation of the International Memorial. repeated violations of the legislation on non-profit organizations-foreign agents & mdash; including in terms of marking materials. The organization, which, according to the Prosecutor General's Office, was engaged in political activities with foreign money, was brought to administrative responsibility dozens of times and imposed on it with fines totaling 2.9 million rubles, which the Prosecutor General's Office considers to be a confirmation of “ malicious evasion '' from the law.
The demands of the Prosecutor General's Office in court were supported by the Ministry of Justice and Roskomnadzor.
The organization's lawyer, Tatyana Glushkova, pointed out in court on Tuesday that Memorial tries to comply with all labeling requirements, but this is not always possible: the requirements of the supervisory authorities change unpredictably, and the norms of the law are interpreted by them in different ways over time.
Violations of labeling rules cannot be grounds for liquidation: such a sanction is disproportionate to their scale, the defendants insisted. In addition, more than a year has passed since the last protocol for unmarking the material & mdash; Thus, there are no legal grounds for bringing the organization to justice, said lawyers Tatyana Glushkova and Georgy Vaypan.
The law itself on foreign agents, which, according to the leaders of Memorial, has become an instrument of reprisals against independent organizations, does not comply with the norms of international law & mdash; this was stated by five UN committees, Vaipan pointed out in court. “ The violator here is not Memorial, but the Russian Federation, which adopted such a law, '' & mdash; said the lawyer. Lawyer Mikhail Biryukov said that Memorial & mdash; an international organization with branches in the Czech Republic and France, and it cannot be liquidated in the manner that the Prosecutor General's Office is trying to involve.
Memorial was established as an organization in 1992 in Moscow. It was preceded by the Moscow public group Memorial, created in 1987. One of the organizers and the first honorary chairman of the Memorial was academician Andrei Sakharov. In 1989, the year of the actual creation of Memorial, the future first president of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, became a member of the organization, and later he entered the public council of Memorial.
The main task of the organization was to study political repression in the USSR … Now “ Memorial '' is a community of dozens of organizations in Russia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Italy, Czech Republic, Belgium, France, Ukraine, which conduct research, human rights and educational work.
Legal entity “ Memorial '' entered the register of non-profit foreign agents in 2014.
What else is happening with Memorial
The Moscow City Court in November began to consider another lawsuit & mdash; against the human rights center “ Memorial '' (also recognized in Russia as an NGO-foreign agent), it was filed by the metropolitan prosecutor's office. The debate of the parties on it will take place on December 29. Earlier in this process, a representative of the prosecutor's office substantiated the demand to liquidate the organization by the fact that the placement of materials from Memorial without foreign agent marking has grave consequences for Russians & mdash; including can cause them a “ depressive state. ''
Head of HRC Memorial; At this process, Alexander Cherkasov pointed out that the leaders of the organization, among other things, rescued servicemen from Chechen captivity, searched for those abducted and disappeared in the Caucasus and helped to release 1,500 hostages in the maternity hospital of Budennovsk.
< p> Reaction to the persecution of Memorial
The Presidential Human Rights Council (HRC) stated that they consider the liquidation of the oldest public organization in Russia as an emergency measure. They recalled that in more than 14 months at Memorial no violations were detected. At the same time, the Kremlin noted that with the “ Memorial '' “ There have been problems for a long time in terms of compliance with the norms of Russian legislation. ''
Memorial letter signed by more than 300 Russian and foreign cultural, scientific and public figures, in particular actor and writer Stephen Fry, playwright Tom Stoppard, actor Oleg Basilashvili, composer Leonid Desyatnikov, journalist Vladimir Pozner, musician Andrei Makarevich and writer Yevgeny Grishkovets. In Russia, the organization was supported by 62 academicians and corresponding members of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In an open letter, they named the liquidation of Memorial. an attempt to deprive the nation of its memory. In Defense of the Memorial Yeltsin Center spoke, his statement expressed the hope that the organization would continue to work.
We stood up for Memorial. Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mikhail Gorbachev and Dmitry Muratov. They called on the prosecutor's office to settle the case out of court and drop the claim. In protest against the lawsuit filed by the Prosecutor General's Office, writer and playwright Lyudmila Petrushevskaya renounced the title of laureate of the State Prize.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Twitter urged the Russian authorities to “ stop abusing the foreign agent law. '' Council of Europe Secretary General Maria Pejcinovic-Buric said the closure of the organization “ will deal a further devastating blow to civil society, which is an important pillar of any democracy. ''
The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said that the liquidation of the Memorial will become an irreparable loss for both Russia and Europe. He believes that the law on foreign agents in Russia is being used to create “ barriers to historical research and debate. ''
In defense of Memorial. Dunja Mijatovic, head of the Council of Europe Commission on Human Rights, made a speech. In her opinion, the liquidation of the organization will negatively affect the state of civil society and the situation with human rights in Russia.
In support of Memorial. the presidents of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland spoke at the meeting. In a joint statement published on the website of the Estonian leader, Alar Karis, Egils Levits, Gitanas Nauseda and Andrzej Duda noted their concern about the rewriting of Russian history. An open letter in support of Memorial employees signed by about 100 Polish scientists, historians, public figures and artists. “ This is not only an encroachment on a reputable independent Russian organization. This is a blow to the fundamental freedoms of everyone regardless of language and country '', & mdash; said in a letter published in the Polish newspaper Wyborcza.
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