2021 was a year of unprecedented political repressions and attacks on the remnants of independent media and civil society organisations in post-Soviet Russia. It culminated with two highly symbolic events. On December 28, 2021, Supreme Court of Russia ruled to liquidate International Memorial, the oldest Russian civil society organisation dedicated to preserving the memory of almost 4M victims of political repressions during the Soviet Red Terror. A day later, the Moscow court ruled to liquidate the human rights centre Memorial, an organisation that maintains the most authoritative record of political prisoners in modern Russia and provides them with legal and advocacy support.
The decision of the Russian state to liquidate these two authoritative civil society and human rights institutions was quickly condemned by the international community. Australia, Canada, USA, the United Kingdom and the EU issued a strongly-worded joint statement: https://www.dfat.gov.au/news/news/joint-statement-russian-court-decisions-liquidate-memorial
This Sunday, 16 January, we are holding rallies in many cities around Australia and New Zealand to demonstrate our solidarity with Memorial and make a statement to the Russian authorities:
We are Memorial!
Russian civil society at home and abroad is Memorial.
The Russian state might have the authority to dissolve legal entities but it has no power to liquidate all of us – people who honour the memory of the Red Terror victims and who support all political prisoners in Russia.
We will come out with posters in support of Memorial, Alexei Navalny, Liliya Chanysheva, Azat Miftakhov and many other victims of political repressions in Russia.
Times, locations and further details on the rallies on Sunday 16 January may be found https://fb.me/e/1lMLPfX5S.
Mr. Petr Kuzmin, President of the Svoboda Alliance VIC Inc. and lead coordinator of the rallies, is available for comment at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or 0448 726 436.
The rallies will be attended by well-known Australian academics, foreign policy advisors and human rights lawyers:
● Kyle Wilson, Visiting Fellow at ANU and former Senior Analyst for Russia and the Soviet Union at DFAT (2003-2013)
● Dr Elena Govor, Research Fellow at ANU and the leading academic expert on Russian emigration in the Oceania
● Tanya Smith, human rights lawyer at international NGOs and the United Nations
Tanya Smith has worked closely with Memorial for more than 30 years, since its inception. She is available for comment at: mailto:FriendsOfMemorialAustralia@gmail.com
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