Some of the photos compiled over decades of work by the Russian organization Memorial International, which was ordered to be “liquidated” by the country’s Supreme Court on December 28.
This haunting 1990 photo of human remains near a Soviet labor camp is one of more than 800 images posted online by Memorial International, an organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the countless innocent people who were suppressed during the Soviet era.
On December 28, the Supreme Court of Russia ordered the closure of Memorial International, citing its alleged failure to mark several social media posts with official “foreign agent” status. In 2016, authorities reported that Memorial had received funds from abroad.
The move has sparked widespread anger in Russia over what many see as an attempt to silence those who speak out against atrocities committed during their country’s Soviet past.
The photographic archive began with the establishment of Memorial in 1989, when victims of the Soviet regime and their relatives began to donate images to the organization.
The stated purpose of the archives is “to preserve the memory of the tragic pages of our country’s history, to collect historical evidence of state terror and its victims, of resistance to the regime and of the difficult daily life. of the Soviet people. “
After Memorial’s order to shut down on December 28, the organization issued a statement promising to continue its work, stating, “Memorial is more than an organization, even more than a just public movement. Memorial is the felt need. by the Russians to know the truth about the tragic past of our country and the fate of millions of victims, no one is able to meet this need.
Memorial International is the parent organization of Memorial Human Rights Center. On December 29, a Moscow court also ordered its closure, again due to alleged violations of the âforeign agentsâ legislation.