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REEES faculty issue statement of solidarity with ‘Memorial’

The Program in Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies (REEES) of Princeton University issued the following statement on November 15, 2021
Monday, November 15, 2021

The Program in Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies (REEES) of Princeton University issued the following statement on November 15, 2021: 

We write to express our profound concern about the fate of the international society “Memorial” and the center for human rights “Memorial” in connection with the attempt to close them by the General Procurator of the Russian Federation and the Procurator of the city of Moscow. 

Created in 1987, “Memorial” works to immortalize the memory of the victims of political repression in the USSR. Members of “Memorial” have made enormous efforts to gather information about the people who disappeared in the GULAG, material about the organs of punishment, about political repression and the history of dissident thinking in the Soviet Union and Russia. The archive of “Memorial,” its museum and its databases are of enormous interest to historians and other scholars. The closing of “Memorial” would be an irredeemable loss to the study of the political regime of the USSR and the defense of human rights in Russia.

“Memorial” is one of the oldest non-governmental human rights organizations in the post-Soviet lands. It supports victims of unlawful political persecution in contemporary Russia. “Memorial” keeps and updates a list of political prisoners so that their names are not forgotten and so that they do not suffer the fate of the victims of Stalin’s terror and Brezhnev’s war against dissidents. “Memorial” is a non-commercial and non-political organization whose goal is the defense of historical truth and justice.

The Program in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies of Princeton condemns the repression of “Memorial” and expresses its solidarity with all who work there.

Signed, members of the REEES executive committee:
Ekaterina Pravilova, Rosengarten Chair of Modern and Contemporary History, professor of history, and acting director of REEES
Mark Beissinger, Henry W. Putnam Professor of Politics
Elena Fratto, assistant professor of Slavic languages and literatures
Michael Gordin, Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, professor of history, and director of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts
Simon Morrison, professor of music and Slavic languages and literatures and director of the Fund for Canadian Studies
Serguei Oushakine, professor of anthropology and Slavic languages and literatures
Ilya Vinitsky, professor of Slavic languages and literatures and chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Iryna Vushko, assistant professor of history
Michael Wachtel, professor of Slavic languages and literatures