Moscow: searches conducted at homes of Memorial’s employees

Law enforcement officers have conducted searches at homes of employees of Memorial, the human rights organisation’s lawyer Arseny Levinson tells Novaya-Europe.

According to him, the searches were conducted, in particular, at the homes of chair of the board of Memorial’s human rights centre Oleg Orlov, deputy chair of the centre Nikita Petrov, Alexandra Polivanova’s 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.

“They were refusing to let a lawyer enter [the home] of at least one employee,” Levinson adds, however, eventually the lawyer was allowed to enter. According to the copy of the order, the searches were conducted in connection to a case on “rehabilitation of Nazism” which had been initiated on 3 March 2023, Levinson says.

Russia’s Investigative Committee is conducting the searches, with the help of employees of the General Administration for Combating Extremism. After the searches, the people are brought in for questioning, Memorial reports.

On 16 March, the homes of ex-employees of Memorial in the city of Perm were also searched. 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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