The Moscow City Court has decided to liquidate the Sakharov Centre at the suit of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, the press service of the Moscow courts of general jurisdiction reports.

In its lawsuit, the Ministry of Justice considered the Sakharov Centre’s actions related to the organisation of conferences and exhibitions to be a “violation of the territorial scope of its activities”.

The Ministry of Justice counted nine such events – in Tver, Yoshkar-Ola, Ryazan and other cities. In the opinion of the Ministry of Justice, the organisation should open new branches to hold events outside the region of registration.

The Sakharov Centre stopped its work in mid-April 2023. At the end of January this year, the Moscow authorities notified the Sakharov Centre of the termination of lease agreements for all its premises in the Russian capital: the building of the Centre itself (it is a mansion built in the second half of the XIX century), an exhibition hall and a flat in the house on Zemlyanoy Val Street, where Andrei Sakharov’s archive is kept.

The centre’s premises had been rented free of charge from the Moscow authorities for almost 30 years, but at the end of last year new amendments to the law on “foreign agents” came into force in Russia. According to them, “foreign agents” can no longer receive any support from the Russian state, including renting premises at a zero or reduced rate.

Real Vremya has repeatedly told the story of the confrontation between the Sakharov Centre and the Russian authorities. In 2014, the human rights organisation was recognised as a “foreign agent”, and since then the authorities have consistently made life difficult for it.

The last exhibition held at the Sakharov Centre before the eviction was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Elena Bonner, the wife of academician Andrei Sakharov.

The opening of the Andrei Sakharov Museum and Public Centre in Moscow took place in 1996 and was timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the academician’s birth. At the same time, the archive began to gradually collect documents on the history of dissidence and political repression in the USSR.

Real Talk programme about Andrei Sakharov:

In recent years, the Russian authorities have again, as in the Soviet years, started to persecute human rights organisations. These processes intensified after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Towards the end of 2021, the Russian authorities succeeded in liquidating the human rights centre Memorial, which was working to protect political prisoners in Russia and preserve historical memory, including of the Stalinist and late Soviet mass repressions.
In January 2023, the Moscow Helsinki Group, Russia’s oldest human rights organisation, was liquidated by court decision.



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