Putin wants to criminalize those who expose Stalin’s crimes

Russian President Vladimir Putin / ep

Memorial is a Russian non-governmental organization born to expose the crimes of the communist dictator and that now the Kremlin wants to dissolve

Memorial is a Russian non-governmental organization born in 1988 to unmask the crimes of the communist dictator, Iósif Stalin, prevent them from being forgotten, achieve the rehabilitation of his victims, pay homage to them and prevent them from falling into oblivion. Among its founders is the Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov. Thanks to Memorial, the brutal Stalinist repression, summary executions and prison sentences in the Gulag, the terrible prison camps from which it was impossible to escape, have been documented. Over time, it incorporated into its activity the assistance to political prisoners and the defense of Human Rights in general.

But, on November 11, the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office filed a lawsuit before the Municipal Court of the Russian capital against the Human Rights section of Memorial and the General Prosecutor’s Office against the organization as a whole, which groups 50 entities and receives international funding. , for allegedly violating the Foreign Agent Law “systematically and repeatedly.” The Russian NGO is also accused of “justifying terrorists and extremists” for worrying about the prison conditions of members of radical Islamic organizations.

Memorial, listed as a “foreign agent” since 2016 and therefore obliged to present itself as such in its publications and events, denies having breached the law, considers the accusations “absurd” and emphasizes that ensuring humane treatment, including terrorists, does not mean agreeing with their activities. But the judicial process has already begun. On November 23, the first hearing took place at the Moscow Municipal Court to examine the case and on November 25 at the Supreme Court.

Asked what they think in the Kremlin of the persecution unleashed against the most famous organization for the defense of Human Rights, emblematic of Russia, the spokesman for the Presidency, Dmitri Peskov, limited himself to saying that “he has accumulated many problems for a long time for breaking the legislation Russian, in particular, the law of foreign agent “, a term that recalls the” traitors and enemies of the people “of Soviet times.

The norm obliges to carry out innumerable and frequent bureaucratic formalities, audits and declarations that must be presented before the corresponding bodies in a certain manner and deadlines. Otherwise, they are exposed to fines or the dissolution of the entity in question. Russian opponents believe that the “foreign agent” law was created with the aim of creating the necessary breeding ground to prosecute nuisance organizations when there is no real and convincing motivation to silence them.

But the general outcry against the harassment of Memorial is growing louder. The UN, the EU, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, Amnesty International and the Russian Nobel laureates, Mikhail Gorbachev and Dmitry Murátov, have already asked for their demands to be withdrawn. In the opinion of the deputy of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg, Boris Vishnevski, “the heirs of Stalin’s executioners want to destroy one of the main human rights organizations in Russia because it prevents their crimes from being forgotten.”

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Putin wants to criminalize those who expose Stalin’s crimes