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Searches in the apartments of members of the Memorial Association

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The Memorial Association, liquidated by the Russian authorities and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022, announced on Tuesday that the apartments of its employees in Moscow had been searched. It is known that the officers came, among others, to the chairman of the association, Jan Raczyński, and his deputy, historian Nikita Petrov.

A search was also carried out in the apartment of Oleg Orlov, the chairman of the centre human rights Memorial, Irina Ostrowska, Galina Jordanska and Aliona Kozlova, as well as Marina Poliwanova, the mother of one of the employees of the organization. The search took place in Moscow.

According to the information provided by the association, the searches are carried out as part of the procedure for the “rehabilitation of Nazism”.

Memorial EPA

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On March 5, unofficial information appeared in the media about the initiation of a criminal case against Memorial employees regarding the “rehabilitation of Nazism”, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.

In January, human rights activists warned that Jan Raczyński, head of Memorial, could be accused of “justifying Nazism” in connection with a comment two years ago about Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler’s co-responsibility for the outbreak of World War II.

In February, the investigating authorities initiated a screening procedure at the request of Veterani Russia, accusing Memorial of “denying the crimes committed by Nazi accomplices.” The point was, among other things, to include three people recognized as collaborators on the lists of those repressed in the times of the USSR.

Kirill Koroteyev, a former lawyer for Memorial, told the BBC that the provisions on penalties for “rehabilitation of Nazism” are applied in practice in Russia for “any criticism of (actions) of the Soviet authorities during the Second World War.”

The association was recognized as a “foreign agent” and then liquidated

Memorial was founded in 1987 as an association of independent organizations. It is one of the oldest and most distinguished Russian non-governmental organizations. It is made up of independent structures, 10 of which operate outside Russia. For 30 years, the organization has been studying political repression in the USSR, including against Poles. In December 2021, he was recognized by the authorities as the so-called foreign agent and then liquidated.

On June 17, 2022, its former members and supporters decided to create a social organization called the Center for the Defense of Human Rights “Memorial”, but without granting it legal personality. Its task is to document and disseminate information about significant human rights violations, as well as to support the defense of the rights of victims, including political prisoners.

READ ALSO: China instead of condemning Russian atrocities, prefers to give Russia a diplomatic cover

In October 2022 Memorial was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with the head of the Belarusian Viasna Center for Human Rights Ales Bialiatski and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties.

Main photo source: EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

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