Rights activists expect police to react to vandalism of Memorial building

Memorial and the For Human Rights movement are hoping the police will find the vandals who spray painted words on the Moscow offices of these human rights organizations.

Unknown individuals wrote the words "Foreign agent. I love USA" on the building where Memorial has its office on Maly Karetny Pereulok on Wednesday. The same words were painted on the building where the office of the For Human Rights movement is located.

"We will not ask for security. However, we have reported this provocation to the police. It could have been perpetrated by young people's organizations loyal to the government," Lev Ponomaryov, leader of the For Human Rights movement, told Interfax on Thursday.

Human rights activists are hoping the police will investigate these incidents, he said.

Memorial official Oleg Orlov told Interfax on Thursday that Memorial expects the law enforcement agencies to react to this provocation.

"We are now calling on the police to find out who is conducting the investigation and whether we can paint over the words or if they are needed for the investigation," Orlov said.

Orlov told Interfax on Wednesday that human rights activists had asked the law enforcement agencies to open a vandalism case.

Memorial links the incident to the enactment of the law "on foreign agents" on Nov. 21. This law requires NGOs receiving foreign grants to register as "foreign agents."

Memorial said in a statement obtained by Interfax that this law is "illegal and immoral."

"Memorial continues to stand its ground: We have no intention of getting registered as 'a foreign agent.' We see the words written on the Memorial building as a deliberate insult of the memory of the millions of people who died in the GULAG," Memorial said.

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