Criminal case on ‘discrediting’ Russian army opened against Chairman of Memorial Oleg Orlov; he is not allowed to leave the country

A criminal case on “discreditation” of Russia’s Armed Forces has been initiated against Chairman of Human Rights Centre Memorial Oleg Orlov, Telegram channel Society Memorial reports.


In a video posted by journalist Vasily Polonsky, Oleg Orlov says that he has been charged with “discrediting” the Russian army. He was released under the condition that he would not leave the country.

According to Orlov, the grounds for the initiation of a criminal case against him was a Facebook post in which he shared his own article, titled They wanted fascism. They got it. The article was published by French outlet Mediapart on 14 November 2022.

The maximum punishment under this article is three years of imprisonment.

Orlov was previously found guilty of two administrative wrongdoings under the “discreditation” article for anti-war pickets.

Earlier in the day, law enforcement officers raided the homes of employees of Memorial. In particular, the raids were carried out at the homes of Oleg Orlov, Deputy Chairman of the centre Nikita Petrov, Alexandra Polivanova and her mother, and head of the management of society Memorial Yan Rachinsky, as well as historian Alexander Guryanov, and Memorial’s employees Galina Iordanskaya, Alyona Kozlova, and Irina Ostrovskaya. Furthermore, the human right centre’s offices were also searched.

On 16 March, the homes of ex-employees of Memorial in the city of Perm were raided as well. Several people’s personal belongings were seized, while the people themselves were taken in for questioning.

At the beginning of March, a criminal case on “rehabilitation of Nazism” was opened against the employees of Memorial. Russia’s state news agency TASS reported back then that the grounds for the case was the fact that Memorial allegedly added people who collaborated with the fascist occupants during the Great Patriotic War to the list of repressed persons.

On 28 February 2022, the Supreme Court of Russia liquidated the Memorial organisation. The decisions on liquidation of both the organisation and its human rights centre, also called Memorial, were made by the Supreme Court after a motion filed by the Prosecutor General’s Office. The grounds for the motion indicated by the state body was the systematic absence of the “foreign agent” label on the organisation’s materials. Due to the organisation’s “foreign agent” status, all of their posts and publications have to be marked with the label.

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