Archived files of Stalin-era repression victims will remain closed for researchers until the 75-year declassification date expires, Russia's Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.
The court has thereby turned down a lawsuit from Russia's leading rights organization Memorial against the Culture, Justice and the Interior Ministries and the Federal Security Service (FSB) demanding that the files be declassified.
According to the Culture Ministry's instructions, repression files can only become open for researchers 75 years after the file was archived. At the moment, these files can only be seen by repression victims, their relatives and researchers who have individual permission to access them.
Memorial's Nikita Petrov told the court that the ruling was illegal and would hamper efforts "to establish historical justice."
The Interior Ministry's representative in the court, Gaik Maryan, said the information in the archived files should remain confidential.
"Opening access to such cases before the 75-year term expires would violate human rights, which are the most essential," he said.
Memorial officials said they would appeal.
During the Stalinist purges millions of people were executed on fake charges of espionage, sabotage, anti-Soviet propaganda or died of starvation, disease or exposure in labor camps in Siberia and the Far East. According to official statistics, 52 million were convicted on political charges during Stalin's regime and 6 million were sent out of cities without trial.
According to the Memorial organization, some 800,000 repression survivors remain in the country.
MOSCOW, January 26 (RIA Novosti)