10 Dec 2021 11:31

Memorial attributes Nazi collaborators to Soviet political repression victims - Putin

MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) - Memorial, which is designated as a foreign-agent NGO in Russia, should demonstrate commitment to the ideals of humanism and should not attribute people involved in murders to repression victims, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"You have said that Memorial is the principal bearer of the memory of political repression victims in the Soviet Union. This is how I always felt. Yet there is research conducted by Israeli specialists. They found the lists of people named as Soviet political repression victims by Memorial," Putin said at a meeting of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights.

The lists include people who served in the police under the Nazi and who arrested and transported Jewish prisoners to the place of their execution, thus acting as accomplices to the killings of Jews, Putin said.

"Clearly, Memorial should fully comply with the humane goals declared as the primary area of its activity and do nothing of the sort I have just mentioned," he said.

Nikolai Svanidze, a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, described Memorial International as "the main bearer of memory about Soviet repressions, which deals with archives and exhibitions and helps people find information about family members killed in the period of Soviet state terror."

The Memorial human rights center is one of the oldest human rights organizations in Russia, Svanidze said.

"The president cannot influence court rulings or decisions of the prosecution service but it is important for me to inform you as the constitution guarantor that we are concerned about arguments of the prosecution," he said.

Memorial has paid fines for a failure to label its materials as those of a foreign agent; "every violation was fixed long ago, all fines were paid, and everything was labeled," Svanidze said.

It was reported in November that the prosecution service filed for liquidation of two Memorial entities. The Prosecutor General's Office lodged a motion for liquidation of Memorial International with the Russian Supreme Court, while the Moscow prosecution service filed for liquidation of the Memorial human rights center with the Moscow City Court

According to the Prosecutor General's Office, both Memorial International and the same-name human rights center "pursue their activities in violation of the Russian Constitution and with other repeat or grave violations of the law and other legal acts."

Since the organizations have concealed that "they fulfill foreign agent functions," these NGOs themselves and their officials have repeatedly faced administrative sanctions since 2019 for breaching the rules regulating a foreign agent's activities, it said.

The Memorial society and the Memorial human rights center deny all accusations. On November 25, the Russian Supreme Court postponed the hearing on liquidation of Memorial International until the middle of December.