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Memorial’s Yekaterinburg Head Accused of Double Army ‘Discreditation’

Alexei Mosin, the head of Memorial's Urals branch in Yekaterinburg. Human Rights Society 'Memorial'

Law enforcement authorities in Russia's fourth-largest city on Thursday arrested the local branch head of Memorial, the country’s oldest human rights group, the organization announced on Telegram. 

Alexei Mosin was detained at his apartment in the morning and brought to Yekaterinburg’s Yeltsin Center, which houses Memorial’s documents and archives, to retrieve legal documents, according to Memorial. 

The rights advocate was then taken to a local police station, where the authorities opened two separate cases against him — both accusing Mosin of “discrediting” the Russian army. 

Mosin was later released from the police station after the case against him was formally opened. 

Memorial — Russia’s oldest human rights group and a co-recipient of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize — was shut down in late 2021 and eight prominent members of the group were targeted in police raids in Moscow last month. 

The accusations against Mosin are based on materials published on the Urals branch of Memorial’s website, even though he neither curates the website nor has access to its administration, according to Memorial.  

Website materials attached to Mosin’s case include a statement made on the first anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine by the since-disbanded Memorial International group and a publication commemorating slain Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.

Russia outlawed public criticism of the invasion of Ukraine shortly after it sent troops into its pro-Western neighbor in February 2022.

Memorial believes that Mosin could be targeted by the authorities due to his vocal support for former Yekaterinburg opposition mayor Yevgeny Roizman, who is currently on trial over accusations of “discrediting” the Russian military.

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