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Report of Agora International ‘Russia against History. Revision and Punishment’

22.05.2018
Agora International Human Rights Group presents report ‘Russia against History. Revision and Punishment’.

Report of Agora International ‘Russia against History. Revision and Punishment’
Report of Agora International ‘Russia against History. Revision and Punishment’

The present report provides an overview of State interferences in the freedom of expression in cases related to the interpretation and assessment of historical events, including denial of access to historical archives. Our monitoring of various open sources, such as official statistics, publications in mass media and in social networks, as well as communications from NGO, has provided the factual basis for this report.

We believe it is important to stress that the report does not attempt to adjudicate on the historical righteousness or scientific foundation of the disputed views or statements, but merely examines the legal aspects of the presented cases as far as their authors and disseminators are concerned, and of the prohibitions of certain publications for the purported purpose of combating extremism.

A full list of the recorded cases, including details of the source of information, date, region and type of interference, is provided in the Annex. Overall, our monitoring captures 100 individual episodes, including criminal prosecutions, administrative measures, concealment of archived documents by the authorities, restrictive regulations, and the most widespread form of interference, namely prohibition of information materials for what the authorities describe as an effort to combat extremism.

Evidently, most of the cases relate to the 20th century and the most risky topics are the Second World War (WWII) and the role of the USSR in it. More often than not, it may also turn out usage of certain symbols (e.g. swastikas or so called ‘Saint George’s ribbon’), even in contemporary context, is not quite safe.

Imposition of sacredness over the Soviet Union’s victory in the Great Patriotic War, punishment for the ‘defamation’ and ‘profanation’ of memorial dates and symbols, curbing any assessments of historical events and persons which diverge from the official ones, prohibition of scientific publications, proscription of archived documents as extremist materials, and persecution of historians – all come under the overarching tendency towards restriction of freedom of speech observed in Russia over the recent years.

The increasingly intense persecution of freely expressed views on history and of the use of historical analogies in debates on societal and political issues of our time has been paralleled with the imposition of more rigid legislation, and by a de facto monopolization by the State of the interpretation of key historical events which have been used as propagandistic tools.


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Lawyers

More than 50 lawyers work for Agora International Human Rights Group
Alexander Popkov
Alexander Popkov
Lawyer, Sochi
Dmitry Dinze
Moscow
Ilnur Sharapov
Ilnur Sharapov
Lawyer, Moscow
Andrey Sabinin
Lawyer, Stavropol
Damir Gainutdinov
Damir Gainutdinov
Lawyer, Moscow


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