DISINFO: The Memorial systematically violated Russian law, discrediting the USSR and Russia
  • Outlet: pl.sputniknews.com (archived)*
  • Date of publication: December 30, 2021
  • Article language(s): Polish
  • Reported in: Issue 269
  • Countries / regions discussed: Russia, Poland
NGO Repression Totalitarianism USSR Red Army Destabilising Russia Anti-Russian

DISINFO: The Memorial systematically violated Russian law, discrediting the USSR and Russia


The [NGO} Memorial systematically violated Russian law. There is no doubt in the legality of the Russian court judgment on this organisation. Any self-respecting state, including Poland, would have banned this organisation long ago. The decision of the Russian court is not political but purely judicial. The activists of the Memorial (there are practically no historians among them) focused only on discrediting the Soviet history and contemporary policy of Russia, diminishing the heroism of Soviet soldiers. Any normal country would have reacted to the actions similar to activities of the Memorial.


Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about alleged foreign interference in Russian politics through NGOs and human rights organisations. The claim that the Memorial somehow violated Russian law or discredited Soviet and Russian history is ungrounded.

The Memorial is the oldest Russian human rights group focused on documenting the crimes against humanity committed by the Soviet authorities. This organisation has studied political repressions in the USSR and in present-day Russia and promoted the moral and legal rehabilitation of persons subjected to political repressions.

On 28 and 29 December 2021, the Russian authorities (Supreme Court and Moscow City Court) ordered the closure of Memorial International as well as Memorial Human Rights Centre. The main charges were alleged violations for failing to properly declare themselves as "foreign agents".

The Russian historians and human rights activists call these decisions “a grave insult to victims of the Gulag”. The European Union, the UK, USA, Australia and Canada deplored the forced closure of Memorial:

The unconscionable decision to silence Memorial follows many months of deepening and systematic repression in Russia against human rights defenders, independent media and journalists, political opposition members and critical voices, as well as religious minority groups and other marginalized groups. This further harms Russia’s international reputation, as respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law constitute one of the foundations of the rules-based international order.

During recent years, the Memorial faced increasing political pressure from Russian authorities, being labelled as a “foreign agent”. In 2020, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) called on the Russian authorities “to revisit the law and to ensure a safe and enabling space for civil society organisations, allowing them to continue their important work.” Read more about the developments around the Russian Memorial here.

See similar messages about the work of independent NGOs: Washington constantly meddles in Russian politics with NGOs and criticsthe West uses Russian protest movements as a fifth column to destabilise Russia and the West is waging a hybrid war against Russia using NGO’s and activists.


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Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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