Relatives of Stalin's Victims Fret About Possible Closure of Top Rights Group


Top human rights group, Memorial, faces the threat of being shut down at the behest of state prosecutors who accuse it of flouting Russia's "foreign agent" laws. Founded in the late 1980s during the Soviet twilight, Memorial has spent decades documenting Stalin's repressions and helping people navigate opaque bureaucracy to dig up information on Stalin's victims. 

"If Memorial is closed and no one remembers this (repression), how will the next generation be able to live without this memory?" Alexander Korobochkin asked. Korobochkin unearthed the file on his grandfather, with Memorial's help, who was arrested and shot in 1938 during Josef Stalin's Great Terror. 

A court will begin hearing the motion to close Memorial on Thursday. Memorial says the move is politically motivated. Alena Kozlova, head of Memorial's archive, told Reuters it was possible the legal action against the group was retribution for its uncompromising efforts to expose Stalin's crimes and Soviet repressions.

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