Protest in front of the Russian Justice Ministry. Photo:

The human rights organization that studies Stalin horrors is fined 21 times for violations of foreign agent law

Independent organization Memorial must pay the state 4.1 million rubles.
January 10, 2020


Since the late 1980s, Memorial has engaged in investigations of Soviet political repression. That work is getting increasingly complicated.

The organization has been repeatedly fined by Russian authorities for violations of the so-called foreign agent law. The latest fine was issued on 9th December 2019 as Memorial lost a case in the local Tverskoy court in Moscow.

A total of 300.000 rubles (€4.100) will now have to be paid to the Russian treasury. That comes in addition to another 20 previous fines. The total sum of the fines amounts to 4.2 million rubles (€61.700), Memorial informs.

According to Roskomnadzor, the Russian state media watchdog, Memorial had failed to add a «foreign agent» label to a web project site about members of the Soviet secret service.

The web portal  includes information about the members of the NKVD, the predecessor of the KGB, and their engagement in repressions.

It is representatives of the FSB that has filed complaints about the project portal, Memorial argues.


The label «foreign agent» is considered highly discrediting for the organizations affected and significantly troubles their daily operations and economy.

The organization’s lawyerTamilla Imanova requested the court to reduce the fine, arguing that the violation inflicts insignificant harm of society. That plea was rejected by the court, 7x7-journal reports.

Memorial was added to the «foreign agent» list in 2013 following an inspection by the Russian General Prosecutor. Since its adoption in 2012, organizations risk being put on a “foreign agent” list if they receive funding from abroad and involves in so-called political activity.

Memorial has over the years been divided in several units and regional organizations. Among them has been the human rights commission Memorial in the Komi Republic. That regional organization was officially closed down in late 2019, four years after its was put on the foreign agent list, 7x7-journal reports.

Also in Karelia, pressure against regional members of Memorial has increased. In December 2016, police arrested Yuri Dmitriev, the regional Memorial leader, for allegedely having made pornographic pictures of his adopted daughter. On April 5, 2018, the Petrozavodsk court acquitted him. Then, on July 14, the Karelian court cancelled this decision, and all cases against Dmitriev are now combined into one. He remain behind bars in Petrozavodsk.




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