Management of non-profit Perm-36 denied access to own archives

posted 12 Apr 2015, 12:35 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Apr 2015, 12:41 ]
9 April 2015

Source: (info)
On 8th April representatives of the autonomous non-profit organisation “Perm-36” were yet again denied access to the organisation’s archives located on the territory of the Memorial Museum of Political Repression (MMPR) in the village of Kuchino in the Chukovsky district of Perm region. Employees of Perm-36 have not been able to access their own archive since summer 2014.

Back on 24th June 2014, on the orders of Natalya Semakova, the new director of the government body, “The Memorial Museum of Political Repression”, all premises on the Memorial complex were sealed.

The locations sealed included those places where museum collections were held, the research library, archive documentation connected with the activity of the organisation Perm-36, and personal items belonging to the employees .

Despite repeated affirmations by the management of MMPR that it has absolutely nothing to do with the moveable assets of the autonomous non-profit organisation, the representatives of the state body have given no real answers when questioned, and have provided confusing explanations.

The vice-director of the non-profit Perm-36, Tatyana Kursina, has repeatedly demanded that Natalya Semakova permit them to remove the organization’s property. However, she has not been allowed to do this. From the start the MMPR declared that all the property of the complex is sealed and, furthermore, no longer belongs to the autonomous non-profit organisation. They subsequently gave a number of other reasons.

In December 2014 Tatyana Kursina came to a verbal agreement with Nataly Semakova about the removal of parts of the archive. But on a day agreed earlier, 20th December, employees of the MMPR at the complex refused to allow access to the archives, referring to the absence of the very keys to those rooms where the archives were kept.

In March 2015 a pile of documents located in the archives was demanded by the Ministry of Justice for Perm region, which began an inspection of the nonprofit Perm-36. After a number of official requests to state bodies and the ministry of culture, the nonprofit finally received official permission to access their own archives.

Nevertheless, on 8th April when representatives of Perm-36 arrived at the complex, the vice-director of MMPR, Irina Durneva refused them access to their archives.

In the presence of the representatives of the non-profit and staff from the MMPR, Irina Durneva informed Tatyana Kursina that “this morning” in Kuchino there had been an officer from the Chukovsky police department for economic security and combating-corruption, police major S.V. Pivovarov. He allegedly sealed the doors to rooms in which the archives are held and access to which had been agreed with Natalya Semakova, and he banned access to the documents.

Irina Durneva showed Tatyana Kursina the official document by which Major Pivovarov had proposed that Tatyana Kursina, in accordance with Article 188 of the Russian Criminal Code, on the very same day must appear before him at 17.00 hours. In case of failing to do so, Tatyana Kursina was promised that she would be brought to see him by force. There was no stamp on the document.

Then Ms Durneva allowed the representatives of the non-profit Perm-36 to have a look at the closed and sealed door that led to the organisation’s archives. On the piece of paper it was possible to make out the signature of Major Pivovarov, signatures of two witnesses without printed versions of their names, the laconic phrase “Restricted access,” and a stamp “for packages” with the illegible name of an organisation.

“We witnessed and participated in yet another performance of the absurd which is being played out either by the Ministry of Culture, or by the management of the MMPR, or by someone else. And I am already beginning to doubt that our archives are still whole and being preserved,” said Tatyana Kursina.

Lawyers defending the interests of the Perm-36 non-profit believe that the absence of archive documents could be used as a way to prosecute the managers of the non-profit organisation.

Or possibly also with a view to initiating a legal process to liquidate the organisation, thereby denying the non-profit its official registration.

Translated by Frances Robson