Russian court orders shutdown of memorial

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 12/30/2021 1:17:19 PM

NEW DELHI, Dec 29: Russia's Supreme Court has ordered the liquidation of Memorial International, Russia’s most prominent human rights organizations and a symbol of the country’s democratization after the collapse of the Soviet Union, reports The New York Times.

The decision comes after a year of crackdowns on opposition in Russia and more than three decades after the group was founded to preserve the memory of the thousands of Russians who died or were persecuted in forced labor camps during the Stalin era.

The hearing drew dozens of protesters outside the courthouse.

Over the past year, the Kremlin has stifled dissent online, especially among activists, hundreds of whom have been harassed, jailed or forced into exile. Shutting down Memorial is another step in President Vladimir Putin’s effort to soften the image of an often brutal regime during the Soviet era.

Quotable: Memorial’s closure represents “a new step downward,” said Ilya Miklashevsky, 65, whose father and grandfather were jailed in the gulag. “The country is sleepily moving downhill.”

Details: The court cited repeated violations of the foreign agents law, a measure requiring groups with foreign funding or loosely defined political activity to register as “foreign agents.”

More to come: In a separate hearing scheduled for today, the Moscow City Court will rule on whether to shut down Memorial’s Human Rights Center, which compiles a list of current political prisoners in Russia. The center is accused of “justifying terrorist activities” by including members of banned religious organizations on this list.
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