Putin wants to leave Russians with no memory of Soviet repressions

This content was published on 20 November 2021 – 09:34

Ignacio Ortega

Moscow, Nov 20 (EFE) .- Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin 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 victims of this country, is threatened with disappearance.

“They want us to cease to exist. The Russian authorities want to inherit only past glories and 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 happens? 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.

“The 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 explained to Efe. , another veteran activist.

According to the indictment, Memorial violated said 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 (1975) Andrei Sakharov, considers that publicly criticizing judicial decisions cannot be illegal, just 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 Alexéi Navalni.

ERASE THE FOOTPRINTS 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, 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 the current civil servants and officers are responsible, do not want to be investigated either. But they 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.

GORBACHOV 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 yet finished.

“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 inadmissible for him. He would surely also be appointed a foreign agent,” Orlov said. EFE

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Putin wants to leave Russians with no memory of Soviet repressions