Staunton, June 10 – The International Federation for Human Rights has released a 95-page report entitled “Russia: Crimes Against History” in which it charges Moscow with suppressing the truth and promoting myths in order to generate support for the Kremlin’s authoritarian rule.
The report, available in Russian at fidh.org/IMG/pdf/web_ru_crimes_against_history.pdfsova-center.ru/misuse/discussions/2021/06/d44381/ and rfi.fr/ru/россия/20210611-россия-правозащитники-доклад-власти-преступления-против-истории-укрепление-авторитаризма).
“Our report,” Ilya Nuzov, head of the Federation’s Eastern Europe and Central Asian Department and a co-author of the study, says, “is the first complex analysis of the problem of the manipulation of historical memory in Russia from the point of view of law in the area of human rights.”
He notes that the Federation has used the concept “crimes against history” that had been proposed and developed by Antoon De Baets of the University of Groningen to describe efforts by governments to control the historical narrative both by restricting research and publications and by insisting on a single narrative for their populations.
“In a normal democratic society,” Nuzov says, “the state must not have a monopoly on the construction of collective memory. If it does, then this is a good indicator that something is not right in society; and this is exactly what we observe in Russia today.”
Some in the West mistakenly view Russia’s law against the rehabilitation of Nazism and West European laws prohibiting the denial of the Holocaust as similar. “On paper, they are,” the researcher says. But in fact, “European laws defend the victims of repression while the Russian law bans ‘the slandering of the state.’”
A law of the latter type, Nuzov concludes, “almost automatically violates freedom of speech.”