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Perm-36 ANO liquidated. The anti-museum repression rehabilitated, and the new board legalized


by балабанова

In 2014, Sergey Kovalyov, a human rights activist, a former prisoner of Perm-36 camp, the first RF human rights ombudsman, a member of the Board of Perm-36 ANO, wrote his co-thinkers in the midst of repression against the museum:
‘What they want very much is a totally controllable, well-censored museum, under the same name, and, best of all, involving some of the same non-governmental people who are closely linked to it. Everything is clear here… Here is an unbiased, depoliticized museum thoroughly bowdlerized by specialists. It was, by the way, agreed with the museum’s public team which will continue cooperating with the caring (and resourceful) governmental control… I must admit this conversion is locked and loaded. Well, maybe, still missing a minute detail: public approval. They will try to force it out…’
All members of the Board of Perm-36 Memorial Center of History of Political Repression Autonomous Non-for-Profit Organization and many of its Council members at first shared Sergey Kovalyov’s above opinion but were forced over and over to agree to negotiate with the authorities so that the authorities could not declare: ‘we offered but they chose to refuse’. Each negotiation round was initiated by the authorities which always refused to implement the decisions made in the course of long and difficult negotiations.
The Board of Perm-36 ANO was aware it would be totally impossible to proceed with the goals set by the Memorial Center’s Bylaws which ‘are achieved via the former Perm-36 camp-based memorial museum complex’ so, in February 22nd, 2015 it decided to dissolve the organization.
This decision was only fulfilled on August 10th, 2016 because the Ministry of Culture of Perm Territory and the public institution which was established by it and took over the museum commenced quite a number of illegal proceedings against the Memorial Center which had to be combatted for about two years.
Here one camp’s and its museum’s history takes quite a new turn where a tragedy turns into a farce, fun fact, oddity, and anecdote.
Perm-36 Memorial Center of History of Political Repression currently exists as an independent informal association; as such, it remains a member of the European network of the International Coalition of Historic Sites of Conscience.
Full text of Kovalyov’s letter