The Kremlin of Vladimir Putin wants to leave the Russians without memory of the Soviet repressions. The oldest human rights organization in Russia, Memorial, which is dedicated to the rehabilitation of the millions of reprisals in this country, is threatened with disappearance. “They want us to cease to exist. The Russian authorities they want to inherit only past glories and to do with the investigation of (State) crimes the same as they did in Argentina at the time: ‘full stop. Enough! ‘”, He commented to Efe Alexandr Cherkasov, director of Memorial.
Next week, the Justice will process the petition for the dissolution of the Prosecutor’s Office, which accuses said organization of violating the law of foreign agents, the modern version of the “enemy of the people” of the former USSR. “What happen? Should we be retaliated a second time? First they repressed our grandparents and parents, and now they persecute us for joining an organization, which is our constitutional right, “said the granddaughter of a victim.
Enemy of the people
Memorial is considered “a link” in a campaign that began to take shape ten years ago with the enactment of the law on foreign agents by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who wants to take control of civil society at all costs to minimize its influence on political and social life. “NGOs that do not submit to state control must disappear. That is what bothers the authorities that we are a strong and independent institution. We combine the historical vision with the defense of human rights, “Oleg Orlov, another veteran activist, explained to Efe.
According to the indictment, Memorial violated that law – it has been a foreign agent since 2016 -, instigated the failure to comply with court rulings and justified extremism and terrorism. The organization, which was founded in 1991 among others by the scientist and Nobel Peace Prize winner (1975) Andrei Sakharov, consider that publicly criticizing court decisions cannot be illegalJust as creating a list of political prisoners since 2008 cannot be considered a justification for extremist activities. In the latest list of 79 names, which some consider the trigger for the current process, Memorial included from university students to activists or opponents such as Alexei Navalni.
Erase the traces of crime
Instead, Cherkasov considers the list to be an “excuse” and the real purpose is to erase all traces of the crimes committed during the USSR, but also those perpetrated since 1991, in order to grant historical immunity to the main culprit: the Russian state. . “We have a very complicated past, but the present is no less so. In Russia’s past there are no less horrible secrets than in the Latin American countries that lived under a dictatorship. That is to say, terror, disappearance of people and summary executions, “he highlights.
Furthermore, he adds, “in recent years, for example in the first war in Chechnya (1994-96), death squads were guilty of the disappearance of thousands of civilians.” Cherkasov recalls that Putin came to power while “massive crimes” were being committed in the Second Chechen war, which he declared when he was prime minister. “The most recent crimes, for which current civil servants and officers are responsible, do not want to be investigated either.. But these do not prescribe, “he warned.
In his opinion, behind all this repressive campaign is, in addition to the Federal Security Service (FSB, former KGB) Putin himself, “with his past, his environment, his complexes and his vision of life.” “In Russia everything is related to a single person, who made a career in the last years of the USSR. Now, we are in a mediocre third world dictatorship“stressed the head of Memorial.
Gorbachev and international condemnation
Memorial recalls that the official number of Soviet reprisals stands at 12 million, when its activists have only identified 3.5 million, to which must be added some 40,000 executioners, so their work has not finished yet. “Even if they kill us, we will continue working. In Chechnya, which is a totalitarian enclave, we also closed the office, but we continue to investigate. Memorial will continue to exist,” Orlov said. The two Russians awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – the last Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev (1990), and the recently awarded Dmitri Murátov, director of the newspaper Nóvaya Gazeta – asked the Prosecutor’s Office to withdraw the lawsuit.
Gorbachev, whose grandparents were also retaliated, were joined by the widow of the Nobel Prize for Literature Alexandr Solzhenitsin (“Gulag Archipelago”), Natalia; the Yeltsin Center; Russian writer Ludmila Petrushévskaya, who gave up an award she received from Putin in 2002; the UN, Amnesty International, the US and the European Union. “If Sakharov were alive he would be a dissident like in the USSR. What is happening now in Russia would be unacceptable for him. They would surely also appoint him a foreign agent, “Orlov said.
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Putin wants to leave Russians with no memory of Soviet repressions