Again, the same “experts”
The charge sheet against Oleg Orlov reveals that the phoney experts used against Yury DMITRIEV in both his trials have once again been ‘consulted’ and offered their unprofessional opinions. Writing for the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Halya Coynash has this …
Concern that Oleg Orlov, Co-Chair of Memorial, could face imprisonment for his criticism of Russia’s war against Ukraine has escalated since it became known who has provided the supposed ‘expert assessments’ of Orlov’s words. The two individuals involved are already notorious for their role in getting the Memorial Human Rights Centre prohibited [January 2022], as well as other acts of religious or political persecution.
On 21 March 2023, Orlov learned that he was facing criminal charges for supposed “repeat discrediting of Russia’s armed forces” after a day in which the Russian enforcement bodies carried out searches of the Memorial office and of the homes of many Memorial employees. This is under Article 280.3 § 1 of Russia’s Criminal Code, one of the new charges quickly rushed into law within days of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Orlov had already faced two previous prosecutions under the analogous article of the Code of Administrative Offences, with this making it possible to initiate criminal proceedings.Continue reading
Memorial raided, Oleg Orlov charged (March 2023)
The Russian authorities have carried out mass raids and searches of the office of the Memorial Society and its members, writes Halya Coynash on the website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG).
Orlov protest in central Moscow (2022)
“A crazed Putin is pushing the world towards nuclear war”
Veteran activist and Memorial co-chairman Oleg ORLOV now faces criminal charges and a likely term of imprisonment for supposedly ‘discrediting’ the Russian armed forces. The move comes a little over a year after Russia forcibly dissolved International Memorial and the Memorial Human Rights Centre, and almost exactly three months after Memorial, together with Ukraine’s Centre for Civil Liberties and the Belarusian Viasna Human Rights Centre (and its leader Ales Bialiatski), became laureate of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.
The pretext for the heavy-handed methods used on 21 March was a criminal investigation initiated on 3 March 2023 over alleged ‘rehabilitation of Nazism’. This was supposedly based on a complaint from the Veterans of Russia NGO which claimed to have found around twenty names of those convicted of collaborating with Nazi Germany on Memorial’s massive “List of the Victims of Political Terror in the USSR”.
The current regime is using this charge in an attempt to discredit the internationally respected Memorial and the vital work it has done in studying the Soviet Terror and naming both its victims and the perpetrators. Although the offensive against Memorial began shortly before Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 and was doubtless prompted in part by Memorial’s stand on Russia’s aggression, the first complaints about names on the “List of Victims” came in //2021, around the time that the regime was seeking the organization’s dissolution. In December 2021, Memorial reacted to complaints, echoed by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, about three people on the List, by saying that the three had been removed. In a list containing over three million names, Memorial pointed out, mistakes of this nature were surely inevitable. The same clearly applies now.
Russia’s attack on historians of the Terror, and particularly Yury DMITRIEV, head of the Karelian branch of Memorial, used scurrilous and entirely fabricated ‘child pornography’ charges to try to discredit both Dmitriev and Memorial. The same method is now being used with this ‘rehabilitation of Nazism’ case, and the high-profile searches of a large number of members of Memorial.Continue reading
Reading the names: Sandarmokh 2022
For six hours on Friday, 5 August 2022, people around the world read out a seemingly endless list of those who were shot during Stalin’s Great Terror in 1937-1938.
Over six thousand men and women were executed at SANDARMOKH, one of Northwest Russia’s biggest killing fields. I was asked to read some names where I lived and on Friday I did so, standing next to our village sign in Geldeston.
“We shall survive” (Dmitriev)
A letter from Yury Dmitriev
Two days after being sentenced to 15 years in a strict-regime penal colony, Yury DMITRIEV wrote to veteran rights activist Lena Sannikova. Recently she published an excerpt on the Facebook page of his supporters:
“In my last words to the court I said I was proud to work with Memorial.
Then I quoted what Varvara Brusilova (1899-1937) said to the Moscow tribunal after being sentenced to death [she was shot on 10 September that year at Sandarmokh, L.S.]: ‘I regard your sentence calmly: according to my religious beliefs there is no death … and I shall not beg for pardon or mercy’.”
“Don’t worry! We shall survive. All of us are Memorial. We are a nation, and no nation can exist without memory.
“We’ve seen worse times in Russia. We shall overcome!”
from Prisoner Dmitriev (Hottabych)
29 December 2021