Russia-Ukraine war: Vladimir Putin’s government seized the office of the NGO winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

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A few hours after the Russian NGO Memorial won the Nobel Peace Prize, a Moscow court ordered the seizure of his office in that city on Friday. “They became state property.“Tverskoy court told Interfax news agency after a trial against the NGO.

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The Tverskoy Court in Moscow issued this ruling at the request of the Russian Prosecutor General. In December 2021, the NGO was declared illegal by Russia. Memorial was founded in 1987, struggling with the Soviet regime, by human rights activists who wanted the millions of victims of that regime never to be forgotten.

According to the Nobel Committee, in an explanation that could resonate in countries with a repressive past like Argentina, Memorial “is based on the idea that addressing past crimes is essential to prevent new crimes.”

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The organization, which has spent the past 30 years investigating both Soviet political repression until 1991 and exposing human rights violations in Russia since the fall of the USSR, has decided to donate the property to the Memorial Research and Production Center.

The court ruled on Friday that this donation is invalid and also noted this 11 million rubles (182,611 euros or 176,913 dollars) will be “recovered” for the state coffers at the Research and Production Center.

When the NGO won the Nobel Peace Prize this Friday, the entity recalled that during the wars in Chechnya, the Memorial organization collected and verified information on abuses and war crimes perpetrated against the civilian population by the forces. Russian. Their leader in ChechnyaNatalia Estemirova, was murdered to silence her work.

Founded in 1987 by Soviet dissidents, including the Nobel Peace Prize Andrei Sakharovthe organization was respected for its rigorous investigations into Stalinist crimes and abuses in Chechnya.

In 2009, the European Parliament awarded her the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after its illustrious co-founder.

In one of its latest works, in March last year, the NGO identified and paramilitaries of the “Wagner” organization denounced for war crimes in Syria. According to its detractors and random countries, this group acts on behalf of the Kremlin.

At the same time, Memorial also compiled a list of political prisoners to whom it offered assistance, as well as migrants and persons belonging to sexual minorities.

It was above all his work in Chechnya, a Russian republic in the Caucasus, the scene of two wars, that made the NGO known in the West, where it enjoys great prestige. In those two conflicts in the 1990s and 2000s, Memorial collaborators were in the field, documenting the abuses of Russian soldiers and their local reinforcements.

“Power has always hated him,” historian Irina Shcherbakova, one of the founders, said in November. In 2009, the head of the NGO in Chechnya, Natalia Estemirova, was kidnapped in broad daylight and shot in the head in Grozny.

Already in 2016 they declared the NGO “foreign agent”

Memorial was declared a “foreign agent” in 2016, a label that entails further government scrutiny and has strong pejorative connotations that can discredit the designated organization.

In their lawsuit to shut it down, prosecutors say the group has repeatedly violated regulations requiring identification as a foreign agent and tried to hide the designation.

Memorial and his supporters have argued that the allegations are politically motivated and that the organization’s leaders have promised to continue their work, even if the court closes it.

The pressure on the group sparked public outrage, with many prominent figures expressing their support this month. Several people were arrested on Tuesday for protesting near the courthouse.

With information from agencies


Source: Clarin

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