Closing the Memorial has “possibilities”: what the authorities' intentions are

Not all experts believe that they are really serious about human rights defenders at the top

On Monday, November 29, at a meeting of the Moscow City Court, the story was going to continue the liquidation of one of the oldest Memorial (recognized as a foreign agent). The first sessions, at which two relevant cases were opened before the Moscow City Court and the Supreme Court, had already taken place, but it was not clear about the prospects of the proceedings or the reasons for initiating them in the second. mid-November.

Ilya Novikov, Memorial's lawyer in charge of the case at Moscow City Court, was one of the first to point out the synchronization of lawsuits filed by the city and the Attorney General's Office over the closure of the International Memorial and Human Rights. center of the same name. Novikov and his colleagues also noted that the plaintiffs requesting the closure of the organization's two divisions refer primarily to violations related to the incorrect labeling of certain materials on the organization's website the year before. the last one, which was then repaired. That is, there is no reason, say, not to postpone the case for another month or two.

However, both the lawyers we interviewed who took part in the trial and political scientists refuse to seriously discuss any assumptions and conjectures.

Mikhail Biryukov, who participates in both trials as one of the lawyers, for understandable reasons refused to discuss the prospects of assessing the cases in an interview with us, stressing that the defense believes that neither of the two requests for closure is justified. however, only the court can draw conclusions here. He also refused to talk about whether the proceedings in the two courts could be synchronized: “Court with the Memorial Human Rights Center (in MGU – auth. Their position on the prosecutor's office. The process with the international” Memorial ” “recognized as a foreign agent) is ongoing and I regret to say that the court rejected many of our proposals, I think, without sufficient motivation. I can hardly judge how the trial will take place on 14 December and whether it will end that day.” However, political scientists who do not refuse to predict based on court results see no reason to discuss various coincidences and mysteries.

Yevgeny Minchenko, president of the communications holding company Minchenko Consulting, believes that if the proceedings have already begun, Memorial will most likely be closed. At the same time, he sees no reason to seriously discuss the timing of the trials – for example against the high-ranking communist Rashkin and Memorial: “This is a general framework for tightening the political regime. It goes in different directions – the boundaries where there are friends and where there are enemies are gradually shifting. I don't think it's a balanced story that we come across one side here, the other. No, it's just that the criteria of disloyalty are getting stricter. And that's all. ”

On the contrary, the head of the political expert group Konstantin Kalachev believes that the prospects of Memorial may not be so bleak: “I am not sure that it will be closed, I assume that there are possibilities. The first round has so far remained with Memorial's lawyers. Moreover, given all the possible costs, I do not rule out that this issue will be hampered and not ultimately closed. Everyone will immediately talk about liberalization, melting and the triumph of freedom and democracy. And everyone will have happy faces. “

As for the synchronicity of the commencement of the Communist Party's trouble processes, the expert considers it a coincidence and has no special significance:” I don't think anyone deals with positioning in these matters. Rashkin could have killed an elk, but he couldn't have killed, he wouldn't have to go hunting at all. Who knows what will happen when radicals, supporters of the unsystematic opposition, take the lead? If the Communist Party of the Russian Federation itself excluded people like Rashkin or Samsonov, then there would be no pressure.


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