Perm-36 NGO to close, but vows to carry on work

posted 4 Mar 2015, 14:42 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 4 Mar 2015, 14:46 ]
2 March 2015

Source: (info

All attempts to negotiate with the Perm Region administration about saving Perm-36 as a genuine museum of political repression in the Soviet Union and as a unique historical monument have proven fruitless. All opportunities for the Perm-36 NGO to create a partnership with the authorities and the public on this issue have been exhausted.

Back on 30 September 2014 during a scheduled round of talks, at a meeting with the head of the governor's administration, who has since retired, the management of the Perm-36 NGO said that it was ready for any development of events, including a complete curtailing of their activities at the museum complex. To all intents and purpose the autonomous non-commercial organisation was excluded from the museum it founded almost a year ago. Since then the situation has not changed.

Without the possibility to fulfil its stated aims and realising the futility of further discussions, the board of the Perm-36 NGO has taken the decision to cease the NGO's activities and has begun proceedings for its liquidation.

We would like to express our gratitude for the support and continuous help of our partners from the Perm and International Memorial societies, Human Rights Ombudsman for Perm Region Tatyana Margolina, head of the Presidential Council on Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov, former Federal Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, and President of the Glasnost Defence Foundation and Chair of the Board of the Perm-36 NGO Aleksei Simonov. We thank the dozens of honest journalists and staff at the presidential administration who initiated many negotiations, which were unfortunately not destined to be completed.

But most of all we thank the thousands of people, both friends and strangers, who left their signatures and statements in defence of the museum. A heartfelt thank you to you all. Your support gives us the strength to continue our activities to understand the tragic experience of our country's history. From now on this work will take on a more academic and scholarly character, but we will carry on with it.

The Board and Staff of the Perm-36 NGO


More than twenty years ago the non-governmental organisation, with the support of the administration and government of Perm Region, began work to preserve the unique complex of prison camp buildings from the Gulag era on the site of the former VS-389/36 institution, better known as the Perm-36 prison camp, and to create within it the Perm-36 Memorial Museum of the History of Political Repression.

In this time nearly all the buildings and facilities on the site of the memorial complex were restored and refurbished. The complex was included in the World Monuments Watch by the independent expert organisation World Monuments Fund and was nominated for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

During these years the Perm-36 Memorial Museum of the History of Political Repression received widespread recognition and acclaim both in Russia and abroad, and was included as one of three memorial museum complexes of national significance in the Concept of the Federal Programme and State Policy to Perpetuate the Memory of the Victims of Political Repression.

From 2012 the attitude of the regional authorities towards the memorial and museum changed dramatically. All funding for restoration and reconstruction work was stopped, as was its promotion for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The development programme for the museum was discontinued, which was necessary for it to be included in the Concept of State Policy to Perpetuate the Memory of the Victims of Political Repression as one of the three museum memorial centres of national significance.

Using the fact that most of the building assets in the complex were state property, in 2014 the regional authorities founded the state institution the Memorial Complex of the Victims of Political Repression, which not only took over the former Gulag camp, but also seized property belonging to the Perm-36 NGO. The NGO was completely excluded from the museum.

In response to public pressure, between 2013-2015 the regional authorities repeatedly declared their readiness to cooperate on continuing the development of the museum, but each time practical discussions came to nothing. On several occasions the conditions changed. The Perm Region Ministry of Culture, Youth Policy and Mass Communications and several of its structural subdivisions, contrary to previously reached agreements to settle disputes out of court, lodged several arbitration proceedings against the Perm-36 NGO.

Source: Perm-36 Memorial Centre of the History of Political Repression

Translated by Natascha Kearsey