Moscow court orders seizure of Memorial’s Moscow headquarters: Reports

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A Moscow court on Friday ordered the seizure of Memorial’s Moscow headquarters, in a ruling delivered hours after the rights group was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, agencies reported.

The Tverskoy district court ordered the group’s central Moscow headquarters to “become state property,” the Interfax agency reported.

Memorial, Russia’s most renowned rights group, was officially disbanded by authorities in December last year.

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It was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, along with jailed Belarusian activist Ales Bialiatski and Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties.

A representative of the general prosecutor’s office accused Memorial in court of “rehabilitating Nazi criminals and discrediting authorities and creating a false image of the USSR.”

Russian authorities have portrayed Memorial as an organization tarnishing the country’s past.

Memorial has documented Stalinist crimes since its creation in 1989, creating a huge historical archive.

Concerns have grown over the archive’s fate and security after the group’s dissolution.

Memorial representative Yan Rachinsky said the group had been offered to take the archives abroad but that a decision had been made to keep them in Russia.

“The archive was collected here, and people gave us their documents not for us to take them somewhere,” he said.

“Our aim is to preserve the archive.”

The group’s headquarters also regularly hosted exhibitions open to the public.

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