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The ECHR demands that Russia suspend Memorial’s* annihilation

Ekaterina Lobanovskaya
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The European Court of Human Rights has demanded suspending the enforcement of decisions on International Memorial's* and the Memorial Human Rights Center's* annihilation. Representatives of the organization reported this in their Telegram channel.

The ECHR demanded that the Russian authorities suspend the enforcement of decisions on the annihilation of International Memorial* and the Memorial Human Rights Center* until a ruling is issued on the application against the law on foreign agents.

It was filed with the ECHR by 11 Russian non-profit-making organizations, including the human rights center* and International Memorial*, in 2013. Social activists complained that the law on foreign agents violated Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to freedom of assembly and expression). The European Court of Human Rights communicated the complaint in 2017.

At the same time, the ECHR raised issues before Russia about how clear the term "foreign agent" was, in which cases this status was assigned, whether the law interpreted the definition of "political activity" clearly enough, etc. According to the Russian authorities, the status of a foreign agent is not discriminatory, and inclusion in the register is aimed at ensuring organizations' transparency. In particular, Russia referred to the fact that both the European Union and the United States have laws restricting the status and activities of NPOs that receive funding from abroad.

On December 28, 2021, the Supreme Court of Russia annihilated International Memorial* on the Prosecutor General's Office’s claim due to repeated violations of the law on foreign agents. The next day, the Moscow City Court delivered the same judgment in relation to the Memorial Human Rights Center*. The lawyers are going to appeal both decisions.

International Memorial* is a network of organizations including regional branches in Russia, the Memorial Human Rights Center*, offices in Germany, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, and Ukraine. The structure of International Memorial* in Moscow includes an archive, a museum, a library and a public space. The organization was repeatedly fined for the lack of the foreign agent label.


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