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Putin ends Russia’s last bastion of democratic dissent

The Russian Justice ended this Wednesday with the last bastion of dissent in this country, the Memorial Human Rights Center, a decision that reveals, according to activists, opponents and Western foreign ministries, the democratic involution that Russia has experienced in recent years.

This represents a turn of the regime of (President Vladimir) Putin towards a totalitarian state”, He commented Lev Ponomariov, one of the founders of Memorial.

Memorial, an organization created when the Soviet Union had not yet disappeared, had on its founding council (1987) the scientist and dissident, Andrei Sakharov; the Russian president, Boris Yeltsin; the thinker Dmitri Lijachov or the poet Yevgueni Yevtushenko.

Faced with the barrage of international condemnations, the authorities remain in their thirteen and accuse the United States and the European Union (EU) of interference in the internal affairs of Russia, which recently also questioned the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the patriarch of the free press in this country, Dmitri Murátov.

Assault on Human Rights

One day after the Supreme Court liquidated Memorial International, the voice of the Soviet reprisals, the Moscow urban court dissolved one of its branches, the Memorial Center for Human Rights.

The Prosecutor’s Office accused the NGO of failing to fulfill its obligations as “foreign agent”, Category to which it belongs since 2016; justify extremism and terrorism, and support “protest movements aimed at destabilizing the country”.

We consider the verdict on the liquidation totally disproportionate“, He said Mikhail Biriukov, defense attorney.

Memorial, who assured last night that he would find legal ways to continue exercising his work, announced that he will appeal the ruling, first before the Russian authorities and, if necessary, before the European Court of Human Rights.

The Soviet repressions are a tragic page in our history. Millions of people died, but their descendants will always remember them. Memorial, historical memory, is in Russian society itself. It will never be forgotten“, He said Ponomariov.

list of political prisoners

One of the triggers for its liquidation, according to the NGO, is the list of political prisoners it has drawn up since 2008, although it does not consider this to be a justification for extremist activities.

In the latest list of 79 names, Memorial It ranged from university students to activists or opponents such as Alexéi Navalni, who is serving two and a half years in prison.

This is a sign of the total degradation of the system that is held hostage by the supporters of the use of force. The system has forgotten how to create compromises. Whoever fights the past has no future. We have no future”Said the digital daily Meduza in an editorial.

The question posed by the opposition, which accuses Putin of trying to hide the crimes committed by the state since he came to power in 1999, is “how far the current repression will go”.

It will depend on the infighting within the regime. They can always declare foreign agents extremists and open criminal cases against them. That’s jail”Says Ponomariov.

At 80, the former secretary of Sakharov and Russia’s oldest activist, believes that the Federal Security Service (FSB, former KGB) is creating a “Czech Politburo”In which there is only room for members of the State security organs.

Happy New Year to the future victims of repression!“, Ponomariov pointed out on his blog, where he warns that what separates the detention of the main opponents of the regime from the” kick in the door “of each citizen is a purely technical question.

However, I still think that the restoration of the totalitarian regime will be something provisional”, He assured.

I go back to the USSR

The arguments of the prosecutors in this case bear a strong resemblance to the denunciations of organizations nostalgic for Soviet glory as Officers of Russia, which includes veterans of the Army and state security organs.

Officers of Russia, which already tried at the beginning of the year to return to the heart of Moscow the monument of the founder of the Cheka, Felix Dzerzhinski, accuse the oldest NGO of “speculating” on the issue of political repressions during the USSR.

Although the Kremlin has denied plans to revive the USSR on the occasion of the 30 years of its disintegration, activists see in the latest decisions against civil society an attempt to return to the communist state.

The USSR no longer exists territorially, but its main hydras, the KGB and the Gulag, remain. Nothing has changed. The KGB is now the FSB, which uses the same methods of repressing dissidents. Meanwhile, the Gulag is now the prison system, where torture is the norm.“Said Vladimir Osechkin, director of the organization exiled in France.

Osechkin, whose allegations of torture have led to the dismissal of the head and deputy head of the prison services, considers that the FSB’s sole objective is “retain power and control society”.

Russia is like the USSR. The difference is that at the helm, instead of the communist clumsy, we have two dozen millionaires.“, he pointed.


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