Russia – Searches targeting the organization Memorial (21 March 2023)


France denounces the new pressure being exerted by the Russian authorities on the organization Memorial, joint winner of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. On 21 March, Memorial’s long-standing premises and the homes of several of its leaders and their family members, absurdly accused by the authorities of “rehabilitating Nazism”, were searched. They were also questioned by the Russian authorities.

This campaign of intimidation follows the searches targeting Memorial’s regional branch in Perm from 11 to 13 March. The measures come in the general context of the crackdown on Russian civil society organizations and of Russia’s exploitation of the history of the Second World War and the Soviet period to justify its war of aggression against Ukraine.

France has repeatedly paid tribute to Memorial’s efforts. Its outstanding scientific work to promote better awareness of the mass crimes of the 20th century by collecting archives, testimony and studies by historians is an essential contribution to contemporary history, to the rehabilitation of the victims of repression and, more broadly, to collective memory. It is essential to preserve this organization, which is unique in its scope and its work of historical research into past tragedies, access to Russian historical heritage, European collective memory and the defence of human rights.