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Memorial: Russia pushed onto a customary and tragic path


38 years ago, on 30 October 1974 prisoners of the Mordovia and Perm labour camps, as well as the Vladimir Prison for the first time marked Political Prisoner Day in the USSR by holding hunger strikes and other protests.

Today we mark 30 October not only as Remembrance Day for the Victims of Political Repression, but as Day of the Political Prisoner – now in contemporary Russia.

Events of the last weeks have shown that in dialogue with the opposition, the Russian authorities intend to primarily use the language of repression – arrests, trials, camps. Once again, as in the 1920s and 1930s experience in fabricating political trials is in demand.  Yet again we are hearing incantations about “foreign agents”. They’ve also found a need for recent “Caucasus” experience of abductions and secret prisons.

Russia is again being pushed down a customary and tragic path.

We are not invoking a sense of responsibility before history from our State leaders -  they would appear to be devoid of such a feeling. We are not calling to the sense of self-preservation of the Russian ruling elite. For that sense to be felt, there needs to be at least an approximate understanding of reality and this understanding among those now in power is effectively missing.

We are turning to the public, relying on their civic maturity. We do not have a recipe for preventing Russia from slipping into new spirals of revolution and State terrorism. We must seek ways together to counter the insane suicidal steps taken by the regime. The only thing that we believe we must call on all civic forces regardless of their political orientation to do is to unconditionally reject violence in any form. We call for calm, wisdom and endurance.

We are capable of defending freedom, relying on the law and not on force.

The Board of the International Memorial Society

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