ASEEES Expresses Grave Concern on Russian Government's Assault on Memorial
Published November 16, 2021
The Memorial Society, Russia’s most venerable human rights organization, faces the possibility of liquidation by the Russian state. Since its founding in 1989, Memorial has pursued a dual mission: to document and increase public awareness of mass repression during the Soviet era, and to promote human rights and civil society in contemporary Russia. Its staff has done pioneering research on the arrest, imprisonment, and execution of millions of innocent Soviet citizens, on the extraction of slave labor by Nazi occupiers during the Second World War, and on the history of the Soviet dissident movement. It has amassed priceless expertise on these and other topics along with a unique archive of historical documents that have become an invaluable resource for scholars in Russia and around the world, including members of ASEEES. The Russian procurator’s accusations that Memorial has failed to perform certain tasks associated with its having been branded a “foreign agent,” even if proven true, cannot by any reasonable standard justify its destruction by the Russian state. The gratuitous charges that Memorial has somehow condoned “terrorism” and “extremism” are simply spurious. We urge the Russian government to end its assault on Memorial’s work, which has made a fundamental contribution to historical memory of the twentieth century and beyond.
Signed: Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Executive Committee