The United States condemns today’s decision by the Russian Supreme Court to forcibly close International Memorial, one of Russia’s oldest and most respected scholarly and human rights organizations. For three decades, International Memorial’s researchers have worked tirelessly to recover the names and stories of the millions of victims of Soviet repression, promoting historical justice. The closure of International Memorial follows a year of rapidly shrinking space for independent civil society, media, and pro-democracy activists in Russia. We stand in solidarity with those who have been targeted with repression for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.
During this holiday season, our thoughts are especially with those who remain behind bars in Russia for politically motivated reasons. We also continue to follow with concern Russia’s parallel efforts to close International Memorial’s sister organization, Memorial Human Rights Center. The persecution of International Memorial and Memorial Human Rights Center is an affront to their noble missions and to the cause of human rights everywhere. The people of Russia – and the memory of the millions who suffered from Soviet-era repression – deserve better.