Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC

Smith-Ferri, David

Publisher:  Counterpunch
Date Written:  20/02/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20396

An account of the current climate for political dissent in Russia, describing the activities of and challenges faced by the Memorial Human Rights Centre, a Russian NGO.




Here in the U.S., we tend to believe our right to peaceable assembly and redress is founded surely on a First Amendment bedrock, and on the surface that night in the restaurant the differences between Russian and U.S. protections of free speech seemed both stark and gaping. But the reality is something more muted and narrow. The violent treatment of protesters at Standing Rock, ND by police was a clear violation of their first amendment rights, and it creates an atmosphere that forcefully discourages peaceful dissent.


"Presently, in Russia, the State has created a bad atmosphere. Toward NGOs and toward foreigners, especially Americans." Because it is listed as a "foreign agent," Elena told us, Memorial must comply with a great deal of bureaucratic requirements. They have, for example, to report on every event and activity held, not just the content, but who attended and many other details. Given the number of activities it organizes, from exhibits to seminars to demonstrations, this is a "great deal of extra work" that has forced Memorial to hire a full-time employee dedicated to reporting to the State.

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