Supreme Court of Russia shuts down Human Rights group ‘Memorial’


Shivani Gadhavi

Published On: December 29, 2021 at 15:30 IST

The Supreme Court of Russia on December 28, 2021 ordered a ban on the working of the Memorial International, which is said to be the nation’s most prominent and oldest activists’ group. The ruling of the Russian Supreme Court sparks a huge and controversial moment in Russia.

The Supreme Court Judge Alla Nazarova ordered the ban whilst stating that Memorial International has ‘repeatedly’ violated the Foreign Agent Laws of Russia. The Court passed the judgment while keeping in mind the accusations of the Prosecutors, who stated that the Group failed to label its publications as ‘foreign agent’ as the group is funded from overseas.

Alexei Zhafyarov, one of the Russian Prosecutors argued, “It is obvious that, by cashing in on the subject of political reprisals of the 20th century, Memorial is mendaciously portraying the USSR as a terrorist state and whitewashing and vindicating Nazi criminals having the blood of Soviet citizens on their hands.”

Alexie Zhafyarov while accusing the Group of betrayal stated, “Why should we, the descendants of the victors, have to see the vindication of traitors to their homeland and Nazi henchmen? … Perhaps because someone pays for that. And this is the true reason why Memorial is so fiercely trying to disown its foreign agent status.”

The Judge in the ruling banned all the branches working for the Group, such as “Memorial International Historical, Educational, Charitable, and Human Rights Society, its regional branches and other structural units.”

Memorial International issued a statement reading, “Memorial is not an organization, it is not even a social movement, “Memorial is the need of the citizens of Russia to know the truth about its tragic past, about the fate of many millions of people.”

On December 28, 2021, the day the closure of the Organization was ordered, there were hundreds of supporters of Memorial condemning the decision and shouting “Disgrace! Disgrace!”, outside the Supreme Court.

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