MOSCOW, October 11 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Ministry of Justice has asked the country's top court to liquidate Memorial, a Russian historical and civil rights society, which is now going to appeal the lawsuit at the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court told RIA Novosti on Friday.
"The suit was registered in court on September 24 and taken into consideration the following day. The hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for November 13," the court said.
The NGO's initial goal was to study and publicize information on political repressions in the Soviet Union. It has since evolved into an international umbrella organization for 62 societies in Russia, Belarus, Germany, Italy, France, Latvia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
The Russian justice ministry has not disclosed the reason for its move to scrap the organization, but Memorial Moscow's co-chair Yan Rachinsk told RIA Novosti the ministry assumed that regional Memorial chapters were not its legitimate departments.
"We haven't seen the lawsuit and therefore cannot comment on its contents. But the suit has likely been filed to lay the claims that the Justice Ministry came up with all of a sudden 1.5-2 years ago," Yan Rachinsk said.
The chief of Memorial's Moscow chapter said the society was going to appeal the suit at many court levels.
"We are still to lodge a complaint with the Supreme Court... The complaint for the Constitutional Court is almost ready," he said.
The ministry's claims are nothing more than "a formalistic, empty" attempt at fault-finding, Memorial member Oleg Orlov confessed to RIA Novosti.
Over the past years, International Memorial has been focused on monitoring human rights in Russia and other post-Soviet countries.