From Publishing Perspectives:
On November 23, Publishing Perspectives reported that the Russian human-rights-defense organization and publisher Memorial International had been made the winner of the Jan Michalski Prize for Literature.
Today (December 28), Andrew Osborn and Maria Kiselyova at Reuters Moscow report that Russia’s supreme court has ordered Memorial International to disband “for breaking a law requiring it to act as a ‘foreign agent.’”
The Michalski award named Memorial and four contributors–Alena Kozlova, Nikolai Mikhailov, Irina Ostrovskaya, and Irina Scherbakova–for a book called Знак не сотрется: Судьбы остарбайтеров в письмах, воспоминаниях и устных рассказа. It’s translated from Russian by Georgia Thomson as The Sign Will Not Be Erased: Letters, Memoirs and Stories from Ostarbeiter in Nazi Germany. Thomson’s English-language translation was released on November 18 by Granta Books at 496 pages.
The publication of the honored book–OST is for Ostarbeiter–was not a casual foray into publishing for Memorial International. In the organization’s mission statement, the first line says that Memorial International “reveals, publishes, and critically interprets information on crimes and mass human rights violations committed by totalitarian regimes in the past and carrying direct or indirect consequences in the present.”
. . . .
Today’s news of Russia’s dissolution order for Memorial International–part of a process that had begun earlier (before its Michalski win), with the designation of Memorial International in Russia as a ‘foreign agent.’ The culminating ruling from the court has triggered unusually robust international reportage. The organization has had standing chapters not only in Russia but also in Belarus, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, and Ukraine. And Moscow’s move to shutter it is not going down quietly in world reportage.
Osborn, who is Reuters’ Russian bureau chief, writes that the court order “caps a year of crackdowns on Kremlin critics unseen since the Soviet era.”
At the Associated Press, Dasha Litvinova describes the supreme court’s move is part of “a relentless crackdown on rights activists, independent media, and opposition supporters,” and writes that the court ruling has “sparked international outrage. Memorial is made up of more than 50 smaller groups in Russia and abroad,” Litvinova writes. “It was declared a ‘foreign agent’ in 2016—a label that implies additional government scrutiny and carries strong pejorative connotations that can discredit the targeted organization.
“Prosecutors said the group repeatedly failed to identify itself as a foreign agent and tried to conceal the designation, accusations rejected by Memorial.”
In Germany, Deutsche Welle writes, “The organization faced charges under the Russia’s controversial NGO [non-governmental organization] laws, which demands groups which are funded from abroad to clearly mark all their material as issued by a ‘foreign agent.’”
Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives
The Passive Voice is not a blog about politics or international affairs, but PG has been disturbed about a number of reports coming out of Russia and China that make it appear that the bad old days of Communism, including Dictators for Life, has returned to these two nations.