On 28 February 2022, the Supreme Court of Russia confirmed the “liquidation” of the non-governmental organisation Memorial International in Moscow. This marks the beginning of the administrative process of the forced dissolution of Memorial International.
Memorial and the EVZ Foundation are united by their work oriented on historical facts, which is committed to recording the fate of survivors and a continuing, critical engagement with history. Memorial and the EVZ Foundation have worked together as partners for many years. Thus Memorial, through its interviews with former Russian forced labourers, has made an essential contribution to documenting their experiences and coming to terms with Nazi forced labour in Germany. Furthermore, the EVZ Foundation, together with the Körber Foundation, supported Memorial in the organisation of the history competition “The Individual in the History of Russia in the XXth Century”. Every year, over 1,000 young people from throughout Russia research concrete histories in their families or places where they live, discover new sources and report on them. The competition enables the young generation to pursue a self-determined engagement with Russia’s history.
The forced dissolution of one of Russia’s oldest NGOs and the war of aggression against Ukraine in violation of international law are an expression of a political system that tramples underfoot human rights. It fears and fights against a value-oriented, active civil society and distorts history to legitimise war.
We are determined to stand by those organisations and people in Russia and Belarus, too, who push back against this repression and propaganda and stand up for democracy and human rights. “Memorial is alive” says the Heinrich Böll Foundation in their statement, echoed by many other organisations. We wholeheartedly agree and set out to do everything in our power to ensure that the idea and work of Memorial lives on.
Dr. Andrea Despot & Dr. Petra Follmar-Otto
Board of Directors of the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (EVZ)