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Russia’s Supreme Court dissolves historical research branch of prominent group Memorial
In a ruling on Tuesday, Russia’s Supreme Court dissolved the “Memorial” International Historical Educational Charitable and Human Rights Society, granting a petition by the Attorney General’s Office, which argues that the organization repeatedly violated Russia’s laws on “foreign agents” by failing to disclose its “agent” status in content shared on social media.
In closing statements, prosecutors also accused Memorial of “creating a false image of the USSR as a terrorist state” and said the group “whitewashes and rehabilitates Nazi criminals.”
During a recent meeting with the Presidential Human Rights Council, Vladimir Putin responded to a question about the federal case against International Memorial by pointing out that the group accidentally listed three Nazi combatants among the victims of the Stalinist Terror. Memorial’s executives say the group’s shortage of resources makes such errors possible, and researchers do their best to correct any inaccuracies as quickly as possible.
Memorial’s attorneys deny the Attorney General’s allegations, insisting that there are no legal grounds for the dissolution order. After the verdict was announced on Tuesday, defense lawyers vowed to appeal the decision and to turn to the European Court of Human Rights, if necessary.
The Moscow City Court is scheduled to hear a similar lawsuit against Memorial’s human rights branch tomorrow, on December 29.
In recent weeks, dozens of organizations from across Russia and around the world, as well as politicians, scientists, and cultural figures, have expressed their support for Memorial. The group’s defenders include former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov.
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