On November 25, 2021 today, the Russian Supreme Court hears the case against Memorial. An archives and museum preserving the memory of the political victims of the Soviet Union and especially of the Gulag, and at the same time a human rights group documenting and protesting human rights violations to this day, Memorial is facing false accusations. The Moscow Prosecutor’s Office at the Moscow City Court accuses the Human Rights Center Memorial of “justifying terrorist activities” when releasing a list of political prisoners in today’s Russia. Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General’s Office at the Supreme Court accuses the International Memorial of violating citizens’ right to information by failing to mark older publications with the label “foreign agent” as required by the law. The aim of these allegations is to impede the activities of Memorial.
Blinken OSA endorsed the Guiding Principles for Safe Havens for Archives at Risk. The document’s preamble states that archives serve as irreplaceable materials in “addressing the rights of victims and societies as a whole to truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence in the aftermath of grave human rights violations. . . . Such archives/records are often at risk of destruction or alteration for a number of reasons, including conscious and unconscious acts, neglect, or storage in inappropriate conditions.”
Joining, among others, the Wilson Center, the Sakharov Center, and the Research Centre for East European Studies (University of Bremen), the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Transparency International, and the foreign ministers of the Czech Republic and Germany, as well as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives objects to the attempts at closing Memorial, and condemns historical revisionism concealing the crimes of the past.