BBC Radio 4: „Memorial No More? A History of Russian Forgetting“

Logo BBC bei Wikimedia Commons„His­to­ri­an Cather­ine Mer­ri­dale wit­nessed the birth of Memo­r­i­al in 1989 as the Sovi­et Union died. An organ­i­sa­tion devot­ed to recov­er­ing the past of the Sovi­et Gulag and soon doc­u­ment­ing the new trans­gres­sions of the Russ­ian state and its impe­r­i­al wars. Even as Rus­sia wnet to war against Ukraine it sought to close Memo­r­i­al down, silence its voice and reshape his­to­ry. But months after the inva­sion Memo­r­i­al shared in the Nobel Peace Prize, only adding to the Russ­ian government’s ire. It has closed its archives and offices and pur­sued lead­ing fig­ures in Russ­ian Memo­r­i­al through the courts, declar­ing them respon­si­ble for ‚reha­bil­i­tat­ing Nazism‘.
Mer­ri­dale tells a per­son­al sto­ry of the open­ing of his­to­ry that Memo­r­i­al was essen­tial to and the tragedy of its clos­ing and the clos­ing of the past. The Kremlin’s cur­rent occu­pants are no more will­ing to con­sid­er the vic­tims of state repres­sion – large­ly Stalin’s repres­sion – than their Sovi­et pre­de­ces­sors were. The sto­ry of Memo­r­i­al, the asso­ci­a­tion, estab­lished in 1989, that set out to find, inves­ti­gate and dis­cuss the Sovi­et Union’s record of polit­i­cal vio­lence against its own cit­i­zens, is one of real hero­ism. From its ini­tial aim of cre­at­ing a phys­i­cal memo­r­i­al to Stalin’s vic­tims it became a focus for research and advo­ca­cy, a liv­ing wit­ness to the intel­lec­tu­al free­dom that comes after the past is faced.
The state argues that what it does – harp­ing on about Stalin’s crimes – dilutes great Russ­ian patri­o­tism. Some of its crit­ics have gone as far as to say that Memorial’s work helps to jus­ti­fy Nazism. But branch­es of Memo­r­i­al in Ukraine and else­where in Europe do what they can to keep mem­o­ry alive.“

Sie kön­nen die Sendung, die am 22.9.2023 in der Rei­he „Seri­ous­ly…“ lief, über die Seite der BBC nach­hören oder als Audio­datei herun­ter­laden.

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