The MEMORIAL Society Moscow
About the organisation
Memorial is a movement which arose in the years of Perestroika. Its main task is the awakening and preservation of the societal memory of the severe political persecution in the recent past of the Soviet Union. Memorial is a community of dozens of organisations in different regions of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Georgia. Memorial is a group of specialised research, human rights, and education centres in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and several other cities. Memorial is a museum, a repository of documents, and a number of specialised libraries. Memorial is a great number of different memorials reaching to the far corners of the former USSR. Memorial is dozens of books, newspaper and magazine articles, radio programs, and exhibits dedicated to the tragedies of the past decades and to the current attempts to limit the freedoms and dignity of citizens of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Memorial is the Law on Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repression. Memorial is a number of regional associations of former prisoners of political prison camps and members of their families.
Memorial is wide-ranging and simultaneous scrupulous historical research of topics that were until recently inaccessible to Russian scholars: the Gulag, the history of the security organisations VChK (the Cheka)-OGPU-NKVD-MGB-KGB, statistics on political repression in the Soviet Union, and dissidents' resistance during the Khrushchev-Brezhnev era. A number of international research projects are conducted in which internationally recognised research centres in the humanities acts as partners. It is a support program for young researchers throughout Russia. It is the struggle for free access to historical information, to the past, which was hidden from us for so long.
The history competition
The history competition "Celovek v Istorii" has been organised since 1999 by the Memorial Society, Russian State Humanitarian University and the Russian Academy of Education. One of the principal goals of the Memorial Historical, Educational and Human Rights Charitable Society ever since it was founded 1988 has been to restore and preserve historical truth about recent past of the country. A society is unable to function normally when there are such yawning gaps in its history. A civil society in contemporary Russia cannot be constructed unless recent history is closely studied and discussed. For this reason, the Memorial Society announced the first national competition of research papers for high-school students in March 1999.
Students between 14 and 18 years may participate in the annual competition. We decided that we would not establish strict formal requirements for the papers. The competitors receive help from co-ordinators and tutors of their works. Co-ordinators from local MEMORIAL-organisations distribute materials about the competition. The tutors or so called consultants are the school teachers, leaders of circles, relatives or elder friends.
Memorial appointed a three level (central) jury: the auxiliary Jury (Memorial staff), the nomination jury (50 professional historians and teachers) and the final jury with 10 well-known historians and writers. The chairman is Lyudmila Evgenyevna Ulitskaya, an internationally acclaimed modern Russian novelist and short-story writer who, in 2014, was awarded the Austrian State Prize for European Literature for her oeuvre.
Five students receive scholarships for their complete university studies. Those scholarships are sponsored by The Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation. The other prizewinners receive different presents, e.g. books.
All awarded students are invited to the ceremony. The ceremony attracts many external guests (historians, journalists, representatives of social organisations, educational bodies and many others), because the competition has a very good public response.