Russia: Tribunal orders dissolution of Human Rights NGO

A Moscow tribunal ordered the closure of Memorial International, a human rights group, on 29 December, for failing to label its documents as drafted through “foreign agents”. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) in denouncing this excessive measure and renewed attack against freedoms in Russia.

Memorial International's logo

Memorial International, the oldest human rights NGO in Russia, was investigating the millions of deaths that occurred under Stalin at the time of the ruling. The NGO is expected to appeal the decision.

Russian authorities increasingly use the “foreign agent” label to charge independent journalists, media organisations, and foreign-funded NGOs. In April and May 2021, the independent online media Meduza and VTimes were also declared "foreign agents”. Such designation, in addition to having a strong negative connotation, implies increased government control threatening their independence. Following this decision, VTimes had ceased its journalistic activity.


IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “This ruling sets a dangerous precedent in an increasingly repressive environment. We extend our support to the independent voices facing this continuous crackdown.” 

The RUJ is a member of Memorial’s Human Rights Centre.

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