The European Union has called on the Russian authorities to “end the unreasonable persecution and police persecution” of the human rights organization Memorial* and its employees. Relevant statement published in the telegram channel of the EU Delegation in Russia.
The European Union also expressed its solidarity with Memorial* in the context of the searches and criminal proceedings “unjustly brought against its representatives” this week.
“Memorial* plays an invaluable role in Russia in the protection of human rights and in the fight against attempts to manipulate the historical memory of political repressions in Russia in the 20th century. The latest actions by the Russian authorities are a further step in the ongoing process of intimidation and harassment of independent and critical voices in Russian society,” the statement read.
The report notes that as the winner of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, the Russian Memorial Society* plays a unique role for the Russian people and for all of Europe.
Memorial* was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2022. The Nobel Committee’s statement listed the Russian organization as one of “outstanding fighters for human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence.”
The day before, the Norwegian Nobel Committee had condemned the searches at the home of Yan Rachinsky, chairman of the board of directors of the human rights organization International Memorial*, and employees of the Memorial Center*.
“The charges against them (Memorial* employees) are baseless and should be dropped,” said committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen.
On Tuesday, March 21, the security forces searched the homes of several employees of the human rights association, including Yan Rachinsky, chairman of the board of directors of Memorial international*, Nikita Petrov, vice-president of Memorial* , and Oleg Orlov, member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Human Rights. Investigative actions also took place in the Moscow office of the organization.
The searches were linked to a criminal case on “rehabilitation from Nazism” against “unidentified employees” of a human rights organization. As reported by Memorial* in reference to the investigator’s decision, the reason for opening the case was the inclusion on the list of victims of political terror of a man sentenced to the camps for having worked in a German police detachment, and two others “for treason by military personnel.”
On the day of the searches, a criminal case was opened against Oleg Orlov for repeated “discrediting” of the Russian army, he was released on bail. The human rights activist said the reason for opening the case was the publication on social networks of his article on the situation in Ukraine. In addition, the organization reported that Orlov and Rachinsky became witnesses in the case of “rehabilitation from Nazism”.
Memorial* rejects charges of “rehabilitation from Nazism” against the employees and considers the investigative actions “a fabrication of a dossier from scratch”.
- registered by the Ministry of Justice of Russia in the register of foreign agents and liquidated by decision of the Supreme Court of Russia