This week on the podcast we discuss the situation surrounding Memorial following moves by proecutors to close down two organisations: the International Memorial Society and Memorial Human Rights Centre. Our guests are Sergei Davidis and Jens Siegert. Sergei Davidis is head of the programme in support of political prisoners at the Memorial Human Rights Centre, an organisation of which he is also a board member. Jens Siegert is a German journalist, writer, and political scientist who has lived in Moscow for many years, was formerly head of the Böll Foundation office in Russia, and is a great friend and supporter of International Memorial.
The questions discussed in the podcast include: What has happened to Memorial? Is there a connection with the recent physical attack on Memorial’s offices? What is the significance of this attack on Russia’s most prominent civil society and human rights organization? What is the prognosis for the future? What will happen to Memorial? What will happen to the human rights movement in Russia?
As well as here on our website, you can also listen to the podcast on SoundCloud, Podcasts.com, Spotify, iTunes and Anchor. The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.
This podcast is in Russian. You can listen to it in full here:
Given the length of the podcast, for your convenience we have also divided it into five parts that you can listen to separately.
Part One: What has happened to Memorial – on the two suits brought by prosecutors against the International Memorial Society and the Memorial Human Rights Centre:
Part Two: The October attack on Memorial’s premises and whethere there is a link between this event and the latest developments:
Part Three: Public reaction to the moves against Memorial within Russia and abroad:
Part Four: The significance of this attack on the most prominent civil society and human rights organizations in Russia:
Part Five: Prognosis for the future: what will happen to Memorial? What does this mean for the future of civil society and the human rights movement more broadly in Russia:?
Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: “The scale and intensity of recent repression is so great that each new episode of repression competes for public attention,” Sergei Davidis told us during the podcast. “Each of these events individually should be enough to outrage society. But when several such events happen on the same day, society simply does not have the strength and resources to react. It should be remembered that the possibility of street protests due to coronavirus bans is also ruled out. Nevertheless, many people have spoken out. On the level of public statements, support is strong.” As well as Sergei, Jens Siegert also took part in the podcast. He told us that at first in Germany the news about the prosecutors’ moves against Memorial were a big shock. “Few people thought the wave of repression that has been going on in Russia for a year now could reach organizations like International Memorial. It’s too big an organization, too important. Many people thought they would probably not touch it. We see a lot of solidarity with Memorial, and I think it will continue to grow. There were protests in front of the Russian embassy in Germany and there will be more. People who are not indifferent see this attack on Memorial as the return of the Chekist state.” Sergei Davidis said: “We will fight to the last.” I’m sure that many, many people will sign up to these words.