The international public organization Memorial, recognized by the foreign agent, has not yet been liquidated. The Supreme Court postponed the hearing of the case until December 14. The General Prosecutor’s Office filed a lawsuit against the organization, which considered that human rights defenders systematically violated the requirements for marking their materials with the mark “foreign agent”. On November 25, about 300 people gathered near the walls of the Supreme Court, not without arrests. At one of the entrances of the building, a woman stood up with a placard condemning the plans to liquidate Memorial, reports TASS. Later, several more picketers were sent to the paddy wagon.
The defense called the postponement of the meeting “a small victory,” Kommersant correspondent Roman Dorofeev said: “The defense filed a motion and spoke on them, but after some time the Supreme Court announced that the meeting was postponed until December 14. Yelena Zhemkova, executive director of the international Memorial, said that the decision had not been made – this is her interpretation – so they postponed everything until December 14.
The main thesis of the lawyers’ speech boiled down to the fact that they formally find fault with them regarding the non-fulfillment in 2019 of markings by a foreign agency, the requirement of Roskomnadzor, and this is a completely disproportionate demand from the Prosecutor General’s Office to liquidate one of the oldest human rights organizations in Russia. For more than five hours, people stood, watched what was happening in Telegram chats, monitored the media, waited for the decision to be made by the Supreme Court. Initially, there were about 300-400 people here, towards the end of the meeting there were about 100 of them.
The activist Konstantin Kotov was detained, he was put in a paddy wagon, the reason for the arrest is unknown. People say that this is a political decision, and the reason is formal ”.
Memorial was one of the first to be included in the list of NPO-foreign agents in 2014. The lawsuit of the prosecutor’s office says that for the lack of marking, the organization received 20 protocols. The prosecutor said that Memorial “poses a public threat” and called its liquidation proportionate punishment. Why hasn’t the court made a decision? Andrei Kolesnikov, a political scientist and head of the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, does not see this as an optimistic signal for a human rights organization:
“It was clear that it would not work to find out all the circumstances of the case in one session, even if there was an obvious desire to liquidate Memorial, it would be necessary to put at least some arguments on the table.
The prosecutor’s office, since it had no legal arguments, looked extremely weak, and the judge in such a situation, of course, would hardly have taken the liberty of making a decision on November 25.
They need to consult with each other, with higher comrades, with related organizations.
The public background is very serious, many authoritative people stood up for Memorial. Even under their own law, the fines have been paid, all the publications and sites of Memorial are marked – Elena Zhemkova’s arguments are quite logical. It is necessary to look at the essence of the organization’s work: “Memorial” helped 3.5 million: the repressed, unjustifiably convicted, imprisoned people, they were able to regain their good name. This is the preservation of national memory not only in a biological, physiological sense, but also in a political one, because the state has committed crimes. It is the most important organization in the country that preserves the national memory and conscience. “
The organization was defended by Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mikhail Gorbachev and Dmitry Muratov, as well as several dozen academicians of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The meeting on November 25 was followed by foreign representatives, including diplomats from the United States and Great Britain.