The Russian authorities’ fight against the Russian civil society now threatens the country's oldest non-governmental organization: On 11 November, the International MEMORIAL Society in Moscow has received a court summons that aims at the organisation’s liquidation under the “foreign agents” act. MEMORIAL is one of the founding members of EUSTORY and thus a long-standing partner of Körber-Stiftung.
“What is happening now is the political decision to destroy MEMORAL, an organisation that studies the history of political repression and is dedicated to the protection of human rights today”, a spokesperson of MEMORIAL stated on Thursday.
Together with the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (evz) and other partners of MEMORIAL in Germany such as the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Körber-Stiftung is deeply concerned about the escalation of the persecution of MEMORIAL and the renewed attempt to destroy the organisation.
”We express our solidarity with our Russian colleagues from the International MEMORIAL Society. Together with our many partners of the EUSTORY Network we will continue to support an open and democratic way of coping with our common European past and to foster a cross-border European dialogue about our past and present”, Thomas Paulsen, member of the Executive Board of Körber-Stiftung, said.
The non-governmental organisation MEMORIAL was founded in the late 1980s by, among others, Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrej Sakharov. The Civil Rights Organisation’s activities include the running of a highly successful history competition that encourages Russian students to conduct historical research, “from below”. The competition “Man in History – Russia in the 20th Century” was launched in 1999 and has received more than 45,000 students’ research entries since then, representing Russian history from a local and family perspective from all different regions of Russia. The competition is one of the elements of MEMORIAL’s activities to shed light especially on the repressions of the Stalinist era and the terror within the Gulag system.