Memorial in Wonderland: What They Talked About in the Supreme Court

The series “Liquidation of Memorials” – “International Memorial” and the Human Rights Center “Memorial” (both organizations are recognized as foreign agents in the Russian Federation) – is approaching a denouement. On Thursday, the first meeting of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation was held on the claim of the Prosecutor General’s Office on the liquidation of International Memorial. First impression: beating of babies – oil painting. Plaintiffs and representatives of interested departments, the Ministry of Justice and Roskomnadzor are playing the role of helpless ignoramuses. But the impression can be deceiving.

“The repressions spared neither talent, nor services to the Motherland, nor sincere devotion to it, everyone could be faced with far-fetched and absolutely absurd accusations. Millions of people were declared “enemies of the people”, were shot or crippled … This terrible past cannot be erased from national memory, and even more so it is impossible to justify anything, no higher so-called blessings of the people. “

Vladimir Putin at the opening of a memorial to the victims of political repression.

October 30, 2017.

The sense of the superiority of Memorial and its defense was reinforced by the civic solidarity campaign. It is quite powerful even in an offline format, given the current covid times: several hundred people came to support the organization at the Armed Forces building. Several people holding posters with the words “We are Memorial”, “Thank you,” Memorial! ” and others like them, were detained by law enforcement officers and escorted to a prudently fitted paddy wagon.

The virtual support is impressive too. The petition on the website “Hands off Memorial” was signed by more than one hundred thousand people. 770 citizens sent personal requests not to liquidate International Memorial. In addition, many Russian and foreign politicians and public figures have spoken out in defense of Memorial, including two Nobel Peace Prize winners, Mikhail Gorbachev and Dmitry Muratov.

It is still difficult to say what impression the voice of the outraged public made on the judge of the Supreme Court Alla Nazarova, who is in charge of the liquidation case of Memorial. It is quite possible that none. As recently as two years ago, in 2019, Judge Nazarova, for example, without batting an eye, liquidated the public movement For Human Rights, previously recognized as a foreign agent.

But even if we take out of the brackets all the seething of public passions and leave only the legal component of the dispute, the positions of Memorial look more than solid. The plaintiffs, representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office, and their comrades in the prosecution department, envoys of the Ministry of Justice and Roskomnadzor, tormented by Memorial’s lawyers, by the end of the meeting looked, to put it mildly, rather pitiful.

Dozens of people came to the Supreme Court building in Povarsky Lane to support Memorial.

Photo: Natalia Muschinkina

The only reason for the liquidation of International Memorial, which the General Prosecutor’s Office puts forward in its lawsuit, is several cases when the organization did not mark its information materials with an indication of foreign agent status. This is qualified as a malicious and systematic violation of the law.

“The demand to liquidate the organization is disproportionate to the violation,” argued Memorial’s lawyer Grigory Vaipan in his speech to the Supreme Court. – We have 35 sites and 21 accounts. We have thousands of pages! And all these materials are marked. What is imputed to us now is an insignificant share of our information resources … Further. The law did not provide an exhaustive list of materials to be labeled. After its adoption, for several years, no claims were made that some resources were not marked. In 2016, there was an inspection by the Ministry of Justice, and it did not find any violations in the labeling. Until 2019, Memorial International conscientiously assumed that it was marking everything that was needed. When in 2019 we received claims about non-marking, we immediately marked them according to the new requirements. Since then, there have been no new violations. “

In total, we are talking about 10 episodes. In all these cases, Fines were imposed on Memorial International, despite the immediate rectification of the violations identified by the officials. Which in all cases were paid regularly. In total, the organization transferred 4.5 million “penalty” rubles to the treasury. “You can’t punish twice for one violation,” Vaypan said indignantly.

Considering that for more than a year there have been no complaints from the regulatory authorities against International Memorial, their current feverish activity, the defense hints, looks more than strange. The principle “better late than never” does not work here. The statute of limitations for eight out of 10 alleged violations of the organization – according to the Code of Administrative Offenses is one year – has passed. Legally, they no longer exist at all.

But especially, of course, strange – more precisely, even absurd – looks like the statement of the prosecutor’s office that by not marking several of its materials with a foreign agency “label”, “Memorial” violated a number of international documents. Including, for example, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For your information, such an accusation, from the point of view of its form, is a legal nonsense: only states can comply or not comply with international conventions – neither individuals nor organizations are the subjects of violation here. Not to mention the content.

The answer to the question of protection from what kind of information disseminated by “Memorial”, the prosecutor’s office intends to protect children, was at first confused silence. However, then the plaintiff’s representative decided to answer: from any, they say, information not accompanied by the appropriate labeling.

In general, the further, the more and more miraculous, as the famous literary heroine would say. Watch and listen to the continuation of the tragicomedy of the absurd on December 14: the next court hearing in the case of the liquidation of International Memorial is scheduled for that day.

Dozens of people came to the Supreme Court building in Povarsky Lane to support Memorial.

Photo: Natalia Muschinkina

Published in the newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomolets” No. 28674 of November 26, 2021

Newspaper headline:
Memorial in Wonderland


The article from the source


Related Articles

Back to top button