The United States condemned this Tuesday the order of the Supreme Court of Russia to liquidate Memorial, the main human rights organization in that country, and asked that the “harassment” of independent voices by the authorities cease.
In a telephone press conference, State Department spokesman Ned Price referred to the decision taken by the Russian Supreme Court to close “by force” International Memorial, which it described as “one of the oldest and most respected human rights and historical organizations in Russia”.
In this context, Price urged the Russian authorities to “end their harassment of independent voices and human rights defenders.”
What’s more, expressed solidarity with those who have been “subjected to repression for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly”.
He considered that this decision comes after a year in which the space for independent civil society, the media and pro-democracy activists in that country has been reduced “rapidly”.
The ruling of the Russian high court satisfies the request of the Prosecutor’s Office, which He accused the NGO of creating “a false image of the Soviet Union as a terrorist state.”
For its part, The German government today expressed concern about the Russian Supreme Court’s order to liquidate Memorial.
“The decision of the Russian Supreme Court is incomprehensible and violates international commitments to protect civil rights, to which Russia is also subject,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through a statement.
Memorial plays “an inalienable role in investigating and documenting serious human rights violations”, the text continues, where it is recalled that these tasks are “essential”.
With the decision to liquidate the NGO, the victims of the repression are left “without a voice,” the statement concludes.
“It is a question of professional deformation, Putin, as a good agent of the secret services, does not believe in an independent civil society”, commented to the agency EFE Alexandr Cherkásov, director of Memorial.
It was useless that since the last Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, to the Nobel Peace Prize, Dmitri Muratov, or the European Commission will call on the Russian Prosecutor’s Office to withdraw the lawsuit against the oldest NGO in this country.
Memorial, who received the Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament in 2009 and has been a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize on several occasions, counts among its founders the Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, Nobel Peace Prize in 1975, father of the hydrogen bomb. and a forerunner in the defense of human rights in that country.
A COUNTRY WITHOUT MEMORY
Memorial accuses the Kremlin and state security organs, in particular the Federal Security Service (FSB, former KGB), to try to stop him from investigating the crimes committed during the USSR.
Putin and his supporters just want to draw a glorious superpower past. It is like a supreme value that does not admit of doubts. According to this way of thinking, the State is everything and the rights of the citizen, nothing ”, explained Cherkásov.
The Russian authorities, according to the head of Memorial, do not understand that there may be “Debates in Parliament, that the opposition criticizes the government, that a human rights activist asks questions or that the press investigates.”
“For them, the truth can only be secret, classified. What they do not understand is that if there is no interaction with society, the system is doomed to catastrophe, “he says.
Memorial, an organization formally founded in 1991, among others, by the dissident and scientist Andrei Sakharov, has a database with more than three million victims of Soviet repressions, out of a total of 12 million.
In addition, it has a museum dedicated to the GULAG o network of Soviet labor camps and a file with 41,000 executioners who worked for the NKVD, forerunner of KGB, during the Stalinist purges.
The activists also accuse Putin of trying to hide the state crimes perpetrated since he came to power (1999), starting with the Second Chechen War. “The repression will continue,” warns the activist.
(With information from EFE)
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The US condemned Moscow’s decision to close the NGO Memorial