Malyi Karetnyi per. 12
The Memorial Society was founded in 1988 by leading elements of Russia's democratic intelligentsia, such as Andrei Sakharov and Yury Afanasiev. Chapters spread to many cities of Russia, as well as other countries of the former Soviet Union. The central aim of the society in its early years was to recognize the millions of Soviet citizens whose lives passed through (and often ended) in the Gulag, to document their experiences, and to provide support for those still living and their families.
Today, Memorial has over 100 affiliates across Russia and the NIS. Its activities encompass three spheres: education and history, human rights, and charitable projects. Its education/ history projects include:
- Research on anti-communist resistance during the Lenin and Stalin periods and the dissident movement of the post-Stalin period
- A museum containing more than 1,000 items from the Gulag
- The Memorial Archives containing nearly 50,000 documents and more than 5,000 photos. Human rights and charitable projects include:
- Hotpoints, a human rights monitoring project in areas of conflict in the post-Soviet world, such as Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Chechnya
- Social, legal, and medical assistance to former political prisoners and current victims of political repression across the former Soviet Union. (Memorial staff fought for and won the release of Bozor Sobir, a Tajik poet imprisoned for political reasons)
- A weekly radio program, Vybor (Choice), broadcast on Radio Russia and dedicated to news from the human rights community
- Human rights monitoring throughout the Russian penitentiary system. The society lobbies for reform of the current penal system and provides legal assistance for the imprisoned. It also sponsors rehabilitation programs for juvenile offenders and newly released prisoners.
Memorial is a principal organizer of a national day honoring the victims of Soviet totalitarianism, which is observed annually on October 30. For a complete listing of Memorial affiliates in Russia, the Baltics and the NIS, see the group's Web site.
St. Petersburg Office:
ul. Razyeszhaya 9
Contact: Vladimir Shnitke, Board Co-Chair
Last updated: February 1999
A print version of much of the information contained in this NIS Third Sector Organizations section can be found in the The Post-Soviet Handbook (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1999).