Russian authorities still consider Memorial to be a threat

We, members of the International Memorial Association, consider it vital to draw attention to the new instances of persecution of our colleagues that have occurred in the recent weeks.

Human rights activist and former member of the Memorial Human Rights Center Bakhrom Khamroev, who was sentenced to almost 14 years, was beaten in prison on January 23 and later placed in solitary confinement after he attempted to file a complaint about the conditions of his detention.
On February 8, it was reported that a retrial of the case of the co-chairman of the Memorial Human Rights Center Oleg Orlov had begun. The first court hearing is scheduled for February 16. Orlov’s previous sentence which imposed a fine for the so-called “discrediting of the armed forces of the Russian Federation” (during which he was in fact prosecuted for his human rights work and anti-war position), was overturned. Aggravating circumstances have now been added to his case – the motives of “ideological hostility against traditional values” and “hatred of Russian servicemen”. Orlov faces a three-year prison sentence.
Alexander Chernyshov, one of our Perm colleagues, has been imprisoned for 9 months, while the investigation of the absurd criminal case of smuggling against him and our colleagues continues. This January, after a series of interrogations and police searches in 2023, several people received summonses for repeated interrogations.
Mikhail Krieger, civil activist and member of the Moscow Region Memorial has been in prison since November 2022, being sentenced to 7 years on charges of “public justification of terrorism” and “ incitement of hatred,” but essentially — for anti-war beliefs.
On January 28, the 68-year-old head of the Karelian branch of Memorial, Yuri Dmitriev, celebrated his birthday in prison for the seventh time. During this time, his two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for false accusations increased to fifteen years. In January the European Court of Human Rights communicated Dmitriev’s case and sent questions about it to the Russian government.
On December 15, 2023, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation added our Memorial colleague Grigory Shvedov to the registry of “foreign agents”.
Finally, on February 2, the Ministry of Justice declared Memorial members Mikhail Chimarov, Sergei Stepanov, Nikita Sokolov and Oleg Orlov “foreign agents.”
All these illegal actions are only a small fraction of the wave of political repression that covered Russia after February 24, 2022. Today’s Russian authorities still consider Memorial in particular and any professional work to preserve historical memory and protect human rights in general to be a threat.

We express support for our colleagues and demand an end to their persecution!