The dissolution of Memorial International


On 28 February 2022, the Russian Supreme Court confirmed the forced dissolution of the human rights organisation Memorial International. This is a step we utterly condemn. We at ZOiS have cooperated with Memorial, most recently in the context of our thematic focus on #30PostSovietYears in 2021. Now more than ever, we stand by this venerable organisation, which like no other has been an advocate for an unsparing appraisal of Soviet history, and a champion of human rights and the rule of law. The liquidation is a bitter blow to civil society in Russia and its international partners. It highlights once again the repression of critical voices in Russia, which had plumbed new depths even before the outrageous war of aggression against Ukraine. We are currently observing a further hardening of the system of repression in Russia. At the same time, voices of protest against the war and thus against the Russian government are growing louder in Russian society, academia, the media and the arts.
The world is currently waking up to the fact that the Russian regime’s politics of history is a cornerstone of its politics of war. Putin has justified the war of aggression against Ukraine with a ‘history lecture’ riddled with lies and distortions, in which he denies Ukraine its sovereignty. For over thirty years, Memorial has been supporting a process of coming to terms with the Soviet past and courageously taking a stand against this militarisation of historiography.