Memorial (society)

From Academic Kids

"Memorial" (Russian: Мемориал) is an international historical and civil rights society that operates in a number of post-USSR states with the following missions stated in its charter:

  • "To promote mature civil society and democracy based on the rule of law and thus to prevent a return to totalitarianism;
  • To assist formation of public consciousness based on the values of democracy and law, to get rid of totalitarian patterns, and to establish firmly human rights in practical politics and in public life;
  • To promote the reveal of the truth about the historical past and perpetuate the memory of the victims of political repression exercised by totalitarian regimes."

The society was officially founded by the founding conference held on April 19, 1992, although it was organized in 1980s during the Glasnost period in the former Soviet Union. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the society became international, with organizations in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Georgia.

Its full official name is the International Volunteer Public Organization “MEMORIAL Historical, Educational, Human Rights And Charitable Society”.

In 2004 Memorial was among the four recipients of the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes called the alternative Nobel price, for its work in documenting violations of human rights in Russia and other former states in the USSR. Quoting the RLA jury: ...for showing, under very difficult conditions, and with great personal courage, that history must be recorded and understood, and human rights respected everywhere, if sustainable solutions to the legacy of the past are to be achieved.


Memorial organizes assistance, legal and financial for the victims of Gulag.

Memorial does research in the history of political repression and publicizes the findings in books, articles, exhibitions, museums, and websites of its member organisations.

By the efforts of the society, October 30, 1990, the Memorial to the Victims of the Gulag (a simple stone from Solovki) was erected at the Lubyanka Square in Moscow, near the KGB headquarters beside the Iron Felix (the latter was removed in August, 1991).

In 1991, the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR officially recognized the day of October 30 as a Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repression.

Efforts of Memorial were behind the Law on Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repression. It was passed in 1991.

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