• Tue. Oct 26th, 2021

Russia, with new Memorial activity laws at risk

Byeditorial

May 16, 2021

The Memorial organization for the defense of civil rights and the recovery of the memory of the repressions risks not being able to work in Russia anymore, not being able to teach courses in schools on the tragic history of the twentieth century in the Soviet Union and running the library and archives, Irina Scerbakova, historian, in the Council of Memorial International and head of youth education programs, of the organization of which she was one of the founders, denounces in an interview with Adnkronos due to the new laws recently introduced by the Kremlin. “We are discussing how to carry out the educational programs,” he points out. Read also Among the various measures passed in recent months in Russia, there is a law that extends to individuals, and not just organizations, the possibility of being considered as a ‘foreign agent’, with heavy penalties and penalties of up to five years. of prison for those who do not register as such. Another recent law punishes those who spread information about ‘foreign agents’ and the material they produce without indicating their status.Memorial, considered a ‘foreign agent’ since 2016, was born in full Perestroika from the discussions of a group of activists and dissidents who, in 1987, it had given itself the name of “Pamiatnik” (memorial in Russian, which was later replaced by the more recognizable term even abroad of Memorial) and the goal of creating a memorial for the victims of Soviet terror. the animators of the discussions, the historian Arseny Roginsky, who had already begun to collect the names and stories of the victims of the gulags in 1975 and who, at the beginning of the 1980s, was sentenced to prison, and Andrei Sakharov who, in June 1988, he attended the massive demonstration organized in Moscow to remember the victims of political repression. Then the conviction began to emerge that the struggle for rights is linked to that for historical truth.I knew of the victims, but in my subconscious there was a long time the thought that cruelty was inevitable in certain circumstances, and I had created a illusory peace but it took me years to understand that it was a mise-en-scène, he recalled the Nobel Peace Prize, whose centenary on May 21, was the proponent, at that time, of the extension of the recovery work of history beyond Stalinism, and that he was honorary president of the association. Among the various events organized by Memorial on the occasion of this centenary, there is also the exhibition “The last year. Memorial and Sakharov”.

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