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International Memorial Society: ‘Once again Russia is being pushed down a familiar and tragic path’

31 October 2012 


Source: HRO.org (info)

On 30 October 2012, the day commemorating victims of political repression, the International Memorial Society issued a special statement.

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Thirty-eight years ago, on 30 October 1974, prisoners from camps in Mordovia and Perm regions, along with those from Vladimir Prison, for the first time marked a 'Day of the Soviet Political Prisoner' with hunger strikes and other acts of protest.

Today, as we mark the 30 October, we are observing not only the 'Day of Remembrance for Victims of Political Repression' from the Soviet era, but also a 'Day of the Political Prisoner' for those imprisoned in Russia today.

The events of the last few weeks have shown that, in their dialogue with the opposition, the Russian authorities are determined to use the language of repression; arrests, trials, camps. Once again, as in the 1920s and 1930s, fabricated political trials are taking place. Invocations of 'foreign agents' are again circulating. And the recent 'Caucasian' practice of abductions and secret prisons also turns out to be useful.

Once again Russia is being pushed down a familiar and tragic path.

We are not appealing to our political leaders' sense of historical responsibility: it is evident that they lack such a feeling. We are not even calling upon the Russian political elite's sense of self-preservation: in order for such a sense to play a part, there should at least be an approximate understanding of reality, and the current elite lacks this entirely.

We call on society, relying on its sense of civic responsibility. We have no immediate answer as to how to prevent Russia from slipping into a new cycle of revolution and state terror.

Together we must look for ways to resist the wild and suicidal steps being taken by the authorities.

The one thing to which we believe it necessary to call all social groups, regardless of their political orientation, is the unconditional rejection of violence in all its forms. Above all, we need calm, wisdom and tenacity.

We can protect freedom by relying on the law, and not on force.

Board of the International Memorial Society
30 October 2012 

A translation of this text by Memorial can also be found here.
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