Ministry of Justice Accused HRC Memorial of Undermining Foundations of Russia’s Constitutional System

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Russian Ministry of Justice accused Human Rights Center Memorial in the facts that its members “were undermining foundations of constitutional order of Russian Rederation calling for overthrow of the current government and for change of political regime in the country”. We publish a statement of Aleksandr Cherkasov, a chairman of Human Rights Center Memorial.

Ministry of Justice Accused HRC Memorial of Undermining Foundations of Russia’s Constitutional System

On November 9 Human Rights Center Memorial received by mail a final “Act of regular inspection” of our organisation (see excerpts below). The inspection has been conducted on the 5th of October by the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of Justice, among other issues, raises political allegations against our organisation: “Members of Interregional Public Organisation Human Rights Center Memorial by their actions were undermining the foundations of Russian Federation constitutional system calling for overthrow of current government and change of political regime in the country”.

So, what kind of actions? What one should do to receive such serious allegations?

It appears that Memorial “undermines the foundations” creating a negative public opinion on “state policy of Supreme authorities of state power, expresses disagreement with decisions and actions of the above-mentioned institutions of power, with results of preliminary inquiry and valid court verdicts on resonant criminal cases”.

We are working. In the course of our human rights work we collect facts. On the basis of these facts, throughout discussions within the organisation and on broader scale we elaborate opinions, evaluations. We publish these materials – evaluations, opinions, factual material and so on.

That is exercising freedom of thought and expression, freedom of assembly and associations, guaranteed by Articles 28 and 30 of Russian Constitution. And we don’t beleive it’s appropriate to remain silent when we see that authorities, inсluding Russian Supreme authorities, violate human rights and international law.

This, from the point of view of Ministry of Justice, is “creating a negative opinion” and “undermining of fundations”.

As examples of “subversive activities” the “Act” refers, firstly, to our assessment of Russia’s actions in relation to Ukraine. We really believe that these actions fall under a definition of aggression, in full accordance with UN definition.

Secondly, it refers to published “opinion of organisation leaders”, that Russian soldiers took part in fighting in eastern Ukraine. But this “opinion” is based on numerous irrefutable facts.

Third, the Ministry of Justice has been angered with our disagreement with unjust verdict issued on “Bolotnaya Square case”. Indeed, there are plenty of evidence in our materials, in materials of other human rights organisations and in media reports confirming that the charges have been fabricated and falsificated.

That’s true. But where is a call for “overthrow of the current government”, which the authors of the “Act”immediately incriminate us? Obviously, the Ministry of Justice equates the critique of government with attempts to overthrow it.

The Ministry of Justice “Act of Inspection”, which imputes us “subversive” reports about political prisoners, is dated October 30, the Day of political prisoner in USSR.

And on April 30, 2013 we received a prosecutor’s “presentation”, which exposed Human Rights Center Memorial in maintaining a list of political prisoners and  records of detentions at manifestations. On this basis we have been put on the register of Foreign Agents. This was the 45th birthday of the dissident journal “Chronicle of Currents Events” on judicial and extrajudicial repressions.

Symbolic coincidence.

Thus the Ministry of Justice “Act” itself brings us back to the times of struggle of Soviet regime against dissidents.

Perhaps, we should remember the Constitution of the Russian Federations, section “The Fundamentals of the Constitutional System”, Article 2: “Man, his rights and freedoms are the supreme value. The recognition, observance and protection of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen shall be the obligation of the State.” And then everything falls into place. It becomes evident that not us, not Memorial, but it is the Ministry of Justice that by its actions undermines the foundations of the Cinstitutional System of Russian Federation.

Act of Inspection (excerpts)

General Directorate of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation in Moscow

Str. Krzyzanowski, 13, build. 1, Moscow, October 30, 2015

On the basis of the order of General Directorate of the Ministry of Justice of Russian Federation in Moscow on September 25, 2015, № 7993 a regular documentary inspection of the Interregional Public Organisation Human Rights Center Memorial (hereinafter – HRC Memorial) was conducted.

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… However, on the basis of monitoring of official website of HRC Memorial we can conclude that the organisation is actively engaged in political activities in order to create a negative public opinion on state policy of Supreme authorities of state power, expresses disagreement with decisions and actions of the above-mentioned institutions of power, with results of preliminary inquiry and valid court verdicts on resonant criminal cases, as indicated by some examples, details of which are given below.

Thus, in accordance with the Federal Constitutional Law dated 21/03/2014 № 6 “On Adoption to the Russian Federation of the Republic of Crimea and Formation within the Russian Federation of New Entities – the Republic of Crimea and the City of Federal Significance Sevastopol” the Republic of Crimea and the City of Federal Significance Sevastopol became the part of the territory of the Russian Federation.

In the newly created territories of the Russian Federation public authorities are formed, Russian monetary system is introduced, judiciary and law enforcement system is formed, also financial support for the newly formed entity of the Russian Federation is organized.

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At the same time, there is the information on the official website of the organisation dated August 29, 2014 that Russian Federation actions against Ukraine fall under definition of aggression. According to the leaders of the organisation, it came to the direct participation of Russian troops in combat on the territory of a foreign country against the legitimate authorities of the neighboring country.

Also on its news line the organisation suggests disagreement with unjust verdict, imposed by Zamoskvoretskiy District Court of Moscow on so-called “Bolotnaya Square case”. According to HRC Memorial members, investigators and judges  fabricated this case, thus comitting a crime against justice.  However, according to information available in Internet during the year of 2012 Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation investigated a criminal case under Art. 212 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation  over organisation of mass riots during the protest action “March of millions” of May 6, 2012, on the way of protesters moving to the place of final rally at Bolotnaya Square. The above-mentioned mass riots were accompanied by violence, fire risings, destruction of property, use of explosive divices, armed resistance to authorities.

More than 25 active participants of mass riots were sentenced to various terms of punishment for commission of these crimes. Judgements took legal effect for convicted offenders.

Thus, HRC Memorial employees express disagreement with the verdict of Zamoskvoretskiy District Court of Moscow, imposed on behalf of the Russian Federation in respect of the above-mentioned persons, who organised mass riots, took part in them, called for mass riots, violence against cirizens, active participation in the riots.

The members of HCR Memorial were undermining the foundations of Russian Federation constitutional system by their actions, calling for overthrow of current government, change of political regime in the country.”

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Chairman of the Commission

Chief Expert of the Department for non-profit organizations, Aloyan G.

Member of the Commission, Expert of Department for non-profit organizations, Cheremnov P.

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