On February 20, the Moscow office of the major human rights research and advocacy organization Memorial International held a discussion of the recent comedy film Holiday, which offers a controversial take on the Siege of Leningrad that caused hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties during World War II. According to social media posts by Memorial representatives, a group of people interrupted the discussion shortly after it began. Many of them were wearing the Ribbon of Saint George, a symbol that memorializes Soviet participation in World War II but has also been adopted by Russian nationalists and Kremlin loyalists.
The group of about 20 protesters claimed that Memorial was screening excerpts of the film, which premiered publicly on YouTube, without the proper certification and that they had sold tickets to the event. The protestors also shouted “Shame!” and “Why are you betraying our motherland?” Memorial representatives believe that the activists were associated with the SERB movement, a radical pro-Kremlin group with a record of attacking civic activists and interrupting events.
The organizers of the discussion called the police, and officers arrived an hour later to escort the activists from the building. MBK Media reported that, according to sources at Memorial, the protestors were not arrested. After the activists’ departure, the event at Memorial continued.