Press release

Russia: Closure of Country’s Oldest Human Rights Organization is a Disgrace

The forced liquidation of Memorial International by Russia's Supreme Court follows a year of broad crackdown on opposition.

In response to the Russian Supreme Court ordering the liquidation of Memorial International, the country’s oldest human rights organization and respected chronicler of political repression, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The forced closure of Memorial International is chilling evidence of the authorities’ intolerance of criticism and their disrespect for the millions of victims of repression whose stories Memorial has painstakingly documented over the past 30 years,” said Freedom House president Michael J. Abramowitz. “Memorial survived years of attacks on Russia’s human rights community and was a clarion voice calling for accountability around rights violations. Its liquidation, by way of the notorious Foreign Agents Law, deprives Russian citizens of one of their greatest advocates.”

Background

Russia’s Supreme Court ruled on December 28th that Memorial International, the nation’s most prominent human rights organization, must close. Memorial chronicled the repression and persecution of Stalin-era labor camps in an effort to preserve the memory of its victims. The group was founded by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov and other dissidents more than 30 years ago. The decision comes after a year of crackdown on political opposition and human rights activists in Russia.