Russia’s FSB, the Federal Security Service, has opened a criminal case for attempted smuggling of items of cultural value out of Russia against former head of Memorial, an organisation studying Soviet-era violations of human rights, Perm office Robert Latypov and chair of the Historical Memory Centre Alexander Chernyshov, RIA Novosti reports, citing the security service.
The service claims that Latypov and Chernyshov attempted to smuggle archive documents “of cultural and historical importance” from Russia into Germany.
The FSB did not name the persons of interest in the case but OVD-Info clarified that it is in fact Latypov and Chernyshov who were charged in the case.
Earlier on 19 May, security agents conducted searches in homes of at least seven people, including employees of Memorial’s Perm office, lawyers, human rights activists, members of the presidential Human Rights Council, and a female journalist.
Chernyshov was escorted out of the plane and detained in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on 5 May. He was later arrested for 15 days for “petty hooliganism”. He is currently held in Moscow, Mediazona notes.
In March, Chernyshov and other Memorial activists were targeted by searches and confiscations. Several people were detained.