Memorial History. A Timeline

1987, August. An initiative group emerges in Moscow, The Group for the Preservation of the Memory of Soviet Repression Victims, or Memorial. Similar groups spring in other regions of the then Soviet Union.

1988, July – August. Memorial Public Committee elected by polling people in the streets. Andrey Sakharov becomes the first Committee chairman.

1988, November 19–25. A Week of Consciousness, an exhibition at one of Moscow’s largest industrial plants and part of the Soviet military-industrial complex, opens.

1989, January 28–30. The Founding Conference, All-Union Voluntary History and Education Society Memorial.

1989. Repression against ethnic Poles and Polish citizens, a Memorial project that will subsequently result in dozens of academic publications.

1989, July 6. Picketing the Chinese Embassy in Moscow in protest over the Tiananmen Square Massacre. The picket was the first public event organised by Memorial Human Rights Centre.

1989, August 23–30. Friendship Sealed by Bloodshed, an exhibition on the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact semicentennial anniversary.

1989, October 30. A human chain surrounds the KGB compound at Lubyanka Sq., Moscow, in a public event organised by Memorial.

1989. Memorial’s Svetlana Gannushkina visits the zone of the armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in a first Memorial ‘hot spots’ mission

1990, April. Nedelya, a leading weekly, publishes an article on Ostarbeiter urging its readers to send in their stories. In the next few months Memorial receives over 400,000 letters from former Ostarbeiters and their families.

1990, October 30. The Solovetsky Monument opened at Moscow’s Lubyanka Sq., a large stone brought by Memorial activists from the Solovetsky Islands, the location of the infamous Solovki prison camp.

1990. Memorial Museum established, with Valentina Tikhanova as the first museum director.

1991, winter. International Memorial Library begins in a single room at 12 Maly Karetny in Moscow.

1991, spring. Lyudmila Alexeyeva donates documents from her own collection to Memorial, marking the beginning of the History of Soviet Dissent Archive.

1991, October 18. The Russian parliament adopts the Law on Rehabilitation of the Victims of Political Repression. Memorial helped draft the law.

1991, December 7–8. St. Petersburg Memorial organises the second meeting of the 1950-1980s political prisoners.

1991–1992. Memorial’s Nikita Petrov, Nikita Okhotin and Arseny Roginsky called as experts in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) trial.

1992. Moscow Memorial founds the Youth Human Rights and Legal Culture Centre

1992, November. Ryazan Memorial and Polish Karta magazine launch a Russian language periodical of the same name (Karta, 1992–2007).

1992, December 12. Founding meeting, Memorial HRC.

1992–1993. Monitoring human rights violations that took place as an effect of the Tajikistan civil war.

1993, October 3–4. Memorial members join the team of volunteers providing medical aid to victims of the violent standoff between President Boris Yeltsin and the Russian parliament.

1993–1994. Memorial investigates the effects of the Ingush-Ossetian conflict. Human rights monitoring in the North Caucasus assume a central place among the Memorial HRC activities

1994–1996. During the first armed conflict in Chechnya (the so-called first Chechen war) Memorial members take a leading part in monitoring human rights and international humanitarian law violations in the region. Among the monitors are former Soviet political prisoners Sergei Kovalyov, Alexander Lavut, and Yuli Rybakov.

1995. Memorial investigates the effects of the Russian federal forces military operation at Samashki, Chechnya, in which over 100 civilians were killed.

1995, June. Hostage crisis in Budyonnovsk, Russia's Stavropol Region. Memorial’s Sergei Kovalyov group is a mediator in talks aimed at releasing hostages. The terrorist fighters led by Shamil Basayev agree to set free the hostages on the condition that those will be exchanged for Russian civilians. Sergei Kovalyov and Oleg Orlov, both Memorial HRC members, volunteer as hostages.

1996. A book on poetry-inspired gatherings at the Vladimir Mayakovsky monument in Moscow (1958–1961).

1996. Work on the Dictionary of Central and Eastern Europe Dissidents begins. The dictionary appeared in Polish in 2007.

1996. Migration and Law network, a chain of legal advice offices across Russia, established (Memorial HRC).

1996. Human Rights in Russia launched, website created and maintained by Ryazan Memorial.

1996. Perm-36 Museum founded. Perm Memorial is a co-founder of the museum.

1997. Neizvestny soldat kavkazskoi voiny, 1994–1996, by Olga Trusevich and Alexander Cherkasov (Memorial HRC), a list of Russian soldiers who were killed, went missing or were taken hostage during the first war in Chechnya.

1997. Lubyanka, a reference work on the history of the KGB and its predecessors in 1917–1960.

1997. Karelia Memorial locates the massacre site at Sandarmokh. From 1997 onwards, the commemorative events are held on the site on August 5 each year.

1998. Sistema ispravitel’no-trudovih lagerej, a solid reference work on Soviet forced labour camps.

1998. Tvorcestvo i byt GULAGa, a catalogue of the Memorial museum collection with emphasis on daily life in Gulag camps and artwork produced by political prisoners.

1998. Preodolenie rabstva, a book on Osterbeiter’s language and folklore, based on Memorial archive.

1998. Rossiâ – Čečnâ: cep’ ošibok i prestuplenij: 1994–1996, a book containing a chronicle of the first phase of the armed conflict in Chechnya and human rights violations that ensued on both sides.

1999, March 23. An advertisement in Uchitel'skaya Gazeta, Russia’s leading teachers’ periodical, marks the beginning of Memorial’s annual competition for high school students, People and History, 20th Century Russia.

1999, July 9. Russian Supreme Court holds that a child placed in an NKVD orphanage following the parents’ arrest in the 1930s Soviet Union is to be considered a victim of repression.

1999, December 9. Twelve Thesis, a statement made by the International Memorial Board following the resumption of the armed conflict in Chechnya (the second Chechen war).

1999. Ongoing monitoring of human rights violations in the North Caucasus armed conflict begins within the framework of the «Hot Spots» programme that has remained central to Memorial activities. Lists of victims of conflict alongside their stories were made available in a 5-volume publication Zdes’ Zivut Ludi (People Live Here) and in Alexander Cherkasov's Sud'ba Neizvestna (Their Fate Remains Unknown). Daily updates are posted to the «Hot Spots» section of the Memorial HRC website.

1999. Monitoring Human Rights Violations in Central Asia states programme, Memorial HRC, established. To this day, Memorial is the only Russian NGO actively engaged in human rights monitoring in Uzbekistan and the rest of the Central Asia states.

1999. Kto Rukovodil NKVD: 1934–1941 (NKVD leadership, 1934–1941), a reference book.

1999. Repressii Protiv Rossiiskih Nemcev, a collection of articles on repression against Germans in Russia.

1999–2000. Forced Labour Camps System in the USSR, an exhibition in Milan, Italy.

2000. Memorial Human Rights Centre investigates the killing of over 50 civilians in the Chechen village of Novye Aldy.

2000. International Human Rights Defence Mechanisms (Memorial HRC) launched, initially as a volunteer effort at bringing the cases before the European Court of Human Right. In 2003 with the establishment of the London-based European Human Rights Advocacy Centre the programme expanded to encompass capacity building; later a special «Legal Clinic» emerged as a separate project to train Russian lawyers in ECHR mechanisms.

2000. Kharkiv Human Rights Group website launched.

2000. The Catholic Church in the USSR martyrology published.

2001. Memorial's «People and History, 20th century Russia» competition for high-school students becomes part of Eustory network.

2001. Nina Lugovskaya’s diary discovered in the KGB archives. Nina Lugosvkaya, 19, was arrested in 1937 and spent several years in Stalinist camps. The first edition of Lugovskaya’s diary appeared in 2003. Subsequently, translations into English and other European languages were made with the 2007 edition entitled I Want to Live: The Diary of a Young Girl in Stalin's Russia.

2001. Kavkazskij Uzel, or Caucasian Knot, website launched by the International Memorial. The news agency later became a leading independent media outlet specialising in the Caucasus region.

2003. Radio Liberty Samizdat Catalogue made available as an electronic database.

2003. Work on academic edition of A Chronicle of Current Events begins.

2004. Virtual Gulag Museum website (Memorial Research and education Centre, St. Petersburg) launched. The third and current version launched in 2010.

2004, February. Public Verdict foundation established, with Memorial as a co-founder.

2004, June 9. International Memorial Board statement on the new version of the Rehabilitation of Soviet Repression Victims law. Memorial said it was unfair to place non-pecuniary damages outside the scope of the new law. Memorial also protested against curtailing social benefits, another provision of the new law.

2004, March 24. Soviet Political Terror Victims database issued on a CD. At that point in time the database comprises entires for 1,340,000 victims. A separate CD includes reference material.

2005. Book on the first Soviet human rights demonstration on 5 December 1965.

2005. «Counteracting Fabrication of Islamic Extremism Charges» programme launched (Memorial HRC).

2005–2006. A series of exhibitions on Ostarbeiter history.

2006. Russian Socialists and Anarchists Post-October 1917 History website launched.

2006. A collection of documents on the history of the Moscow Helsinki Group.

2006. Vlast’ i dissidenty (The Powers to Be and the Dissidents), a collection of documents from the KGB and the CPSU archives.

2007, April 5. 1937 and Today, a statement by Memorial devoted to the 70th anniversary of the law that marked the beginning of Stalinist terror on a massive scale.

2007, July 10. First Russian Alternatives conference in honour of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The series of conferences continued annualy up til Mikhail Khodorkovsky's release from prison in.

2007, October 21. A DDos attack on Human Rights in Russia, a website maintained by the Ryazan memorial.

2007, October 25. An updated version of the Soviet Political Terror Victims database on a CD. At that point in time, the database includes entires for 2,614,978 victims.

2007, October 29. First ever Vozvraŝenie Imën (Return of the Names), a event honouring the victims of Stalinist terror. From then on, Return of the Names events have been held annually on 29 October with people lining up near the Solovetsky monument, Lubyanskaya Sq., Moscow, to read out the names of the victims. Similar remembrance events are held each 29 October elsewhere in Russia.

2007, November 24. Memorial HRC’s Oleg Orlov attacked and kidnapped in Ingushetia.

2007–2011. Memorial v. the Military Prosecutor’s Office trials concerning rehabilitation of the Katyn massacre victims and declassifying the investigation files.

2008. «Support for political prisoners and other political repression victims» programme launched (Memorial HRC).

2008, March 18–19. Andrzej Wajda's Katyń shown at Memorial (showing organised in co-operation with the Polish Institute in Moscow).

2008, March. Memorial’s makes a public statement on National Perceptions of the Past (20th Century and Warring Memories).

2008, December 4. Police search Memorial Research and Scientific Centre’s office, St. Petersburg.

2008, December 5–7. First International Conference on the History of Stalinism, organised at Memorial's initiative and with the participation of the Memorial researchers.

2009. Collection of documents pertaining to USSR Human Rights Initiative Group made available electronically.

2009. Uroki Istorii website launched.

2009, July 15. Grozny Memorial’s Natalia Estemirova murdered. Some of the Grozny staff emigrate from Russia while the activities of the Grozny office are halted for over six months. In a media interview, Memorial Hot Spots programme head Oleg Orlov accuses Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov of being responsible for Natalia Estemirova's death.

2009–2011. Ramzan Kadyrov vs. Oleg Orlov trial coming as a result of Oleg Orlov’s statement above.

2010. Kto rukovodil organami gozbezopasnosti, 1941–1954 (Soviet security services leadership, 1941–1954 reference book)

2011. Memorial new headquarters opened at 5 Karetny Ryad, Moscow, which from now on houses Memorial’s archive, museum and library as well as the Memorial Human Rights Centre’s Moscow office.

2012, March 13. Zakleimlёnnye vlast'û (‘Crossed Out’) website on the Political Red Cross, Pompolit activities launched.

2013, February 6. 11 NGOs including the International Memorial and Memorial HRC lodge an application with the European Court of Human Rights against the ‘foreign agents’ law. The application is drafted by Memorial HRC’s Furkat Tishayev.

2013, February. Memorial HRC becomes OVD Info general partner.

2013, April 25. Letters from My Father exhibition opens depicting letters written by Gulag prisoners to their sons and daughters. The exhibition proved hugely popular and was transformed into a book that expanded on the topics raised in the exhibition. Later, Memorial curated a travelling exhibition of the same name.

2013, May 21. Lutz Niethammer gives a talk at Memorial on 'The Buchenwald Myth. Questioning the German memory.'

2013, December. Memorial HRC's Kirill Koroteyev becomes 'Mothers of Beslan' legal representative in the European Court of Human Rights.

2014, May 24. Andrei Mironov, Memorial HRC member, killed near Slavyansk (Ukraine).

2014, October 24. Jan Tomasz Gross gives a talk at Memorial on "Facing the Difficult Past. Polish Perception of Jedwabne Pogroms'

2014. The Diary of a Gulag Prison Guard, a publication of diary records donated to Memorial by a relative of Ivan Chistyakov, a guard at the Baikal-Amur Corrective Prison Camp (Bamlag) who left a stunningly frank description on conditions in Soviet labour camps. The English-language version of the book appeared in 2016.

2015, June 5. Carlo Ginzburg gives a talk at Memorial on 'Reading the Archives, Obliquely' explaining to what extent there one may draw parallels between the inquisition and fascist prisons

2015, October 29. Topography of Terror website launched.

2015. Ubity v Katyni (Killed in Katyn), a solid reference work on the 1940 Katyn massacre.

2016, February 18. Presentation, Persecution of the Catholic Church members, 1918 to early 1950s website.

2016, June 8. Martin Almada's lecture on secret archives of the Paraguaian security services

2016, December 13. Karelia Memorial head Yury Dmitriyev arrested on fabricated charges.

2016. On The Other Side digital archive, an oral history database telling the stories of Ostarbeiter and World WarII $3 prisoners.

2016. Znak ne sotrёtsâ (The Sign Will Not Fade) book, Ostarbeiter stories in their letters and recollections.

2016. In the Czech Republic, a local Memorial organisation created.

2017, April 13. ECHR Chamber judgement in Tagayeva and others vs. Russia, a series of complaints concerning a terrorist attack on a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, in September 2004. The Court finds violation of the right to life arising from the Russian authorities’ failure to take preventive measures. The applicants representative was Memorial HRC’s Kirill Koroteyev.

2017, June 1. Marianne Hirsch gives a talk on ‘Postmemory and the future’ at the International Memorial.

2017, September 23. Istoriceskij Sbornik Pamat’, by B. Martin and A. Sveshnikov, a collection of documents and interviews on 1976–1982 Pamat’ samizdat publication.

2017, October 17. Jacqueline Moudeina’s gives a talk at Memorial on "Transition Period Justice and International Law. The Habré Trial’.

2017, November 16. Znak ne sotrёtsâ (The Sign Will Not Fade) book receives Prosvetitel’ award.

2017, December 5. Repression victims database version 5 released.

2017, December 12. The Theatre of Carola Neher’s Life exhibition opens at the International Memorial.

2017, December 18. International Memorial Chairman Arseny Roginsky dies.

2018, January 9. Oyub Titiyev, Memorial HRC Grozny Office head, arrested on fabricated charges.

2018, January 17. Memorial HRC office in Nazran, Ingushetia, torched.

2018, January 27. Karelia Memorial head Yury Dmitriyev released on parole.

2018, March 22. Jan Raczynski elected International Memorial Board Chairman.

2018, March. Ulyanovsk-based Simbirsk Memorial joins International Memorial ranks

2018, April 5. Karelia Memorial head Yury Dmitriyev acquitted of child pornography charges; convicted on a charge of illegally possessing a weapon and sentenced to 2 1/2 years of ‘freedom limitation’.