The Russian human rights organization Memorial is one of this year’s recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. The organization, which was banned last year by order of the Russian government, conducted historical research on the victims of the Stalinist era and gathered information about political repression and human rights violations in Russia, for example in detention centers.
Memorial was founded in 1987 by human rights activists in the former Soviet Union who wanted to ensure that the victims of the oppression by the communist regime would never be forgotten. The organization was founded on the idea that fighting past crimes is essential to prevent new ones. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Memorial grew to become the largest human rights organisation in Russia.
Memorial shares the Nobel Prize with Belarusian democratic activist Ales Bialiatski and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties. The Norwegian Nobel Committee speaks of the three recipients as ‘outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence in the neighbour countries Belarus, Russia and Ukraine’:
‘Through their consistent efforts in favour of humanist values, anti-militarism and principles of law, this year’s laureates have revitalised and honoured Alfred Nobel’s vision of peace and fraternity between nations – a vision most needed in the world today.’