Memorial has not yet been “liquidated”

Until the rulings issued on 28-29 December 2021 come into force, neither International Memorial nor the Memorial Human Rights Centre (HRC) has been dissolved. The interval between the verdict and its implementation allows, as always, an opportunity for the accused to appeal.

In Petrozavodsk, for instance, the City Court announced on 10 January that it had received Victor Anufriev’s appeal against the way in which his client Yury DMITRIEV was convicted on 27 December and sentenced to 15 years in a strict-regime penal colony.

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There have been international protests over the threatened closure of Memorial.

On 29 December, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, acting with uncharacteristic speed, applied an emergency interim measure, ordering the Russian government (since 1998 a co-signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights) to halt the abolition of the two organisations.

At 11 pm on 31 December 2021, the foreign ministry of the European Union released a statement supported by the United States, the 27-member European Union, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom calling on Russia “to uphold its international human rights obligations and commitments“.

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Now is the time to support the petition!

Sign if you have not already done so

if you have, circulate it to all your friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

As of mid-January 2022, the “Hands off Memorial!” petition had attracted 141,415 signatories worldwide. The text is presently available in 13 languages: Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Polish, Estonian, Latvian, Czech and Hebrew; English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

“The main thing is to pass on what we know”

On 26 December 2021, the day before the hearing, I wrote to Yury DMITRIEV (says Olga Nosenko on Facebook today). I had my doubts. Wasn’t this a silly thing to do? But I posted my letter with no great expectations, sending him New Year’s greetings and the tale of my forbears.

And this is what I received today after DMITRIEV had already heard the new sentence. I’ll quote two excerpts:

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Dmitriev: “It’s normal to be persecuted” (December 2021)

Before sentence was again passed in Petrozavodsk, and demands for the closure of Memorial were heard in Moscow, Yury DMITRIEV replied to questions from Anna Yarovaya, who published some of the earliest articles about the Karelian researcher.

They communicated via the Letters service of the Federal Penal Agency; she did not receive replies to many of her questions.

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HOW I JOINED MEMORIAL

In 1988, interested citizens formed an action group to set up a Popular Front of Karelia (PFK). I was invited to join the Front after it had existed for 6-7 months:[1] Vova B. came to see me at work and asked me to attend their meeting. I went and gave them some practical advice. Without noticing I became an active PFK member.

Yury A. Dmitriev, 1998

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A “demonstratively unlawful” decision

Interviewed this morning on Echo Moskvy radio station, DMITRIEV’s defence attorney Victor Anufriev since December 2016 said he would appeal against the new sentence.

… this sentence, in my view, is demonstratively unlawful. This is the THIRD time there has been a judicial hearing, and it’s the only occasion on which the court totally ignored every one of my petitions, including those aimed at securing evidence which proved Yury Dmitriev’s innocence.

One hundred per cent (100%) of my petitions were rejected. In other words, the court moved towards a predefined goal and clearly favoured the prosecution.”

Echo Moskvy, 28 December 2021
(10.38 am Moscow Time)

“I’m a tough old fellow …

I know a thing or two …” said DMITRIEV in a letter (see below) the day before the new sentence was announced.

DMITRIEV chats briefly with his lawyers Victor Anufriev and Roman Masalyov; video taken by Nikita Girin for Novaya gazeta.

Dmitriev’s words quoted above come from a letter he wrote to journalist Zoya Svetova. She received it on 26 December 2021. There he also said that in his Last Words to the court he declared he was proud to be a member of Memorial.