The Memorial Human Rights Center, one of Russia’s most prominent and storied human rights organizations, announced its closure Tuesday in a statement published online.
Russia’s Supreme Court ordered the closure of Memorial last December as part of a campaign of legal and administrative attacks on the country’s civil society and human rights organizations.
"Today, on April 5, 2022, the Memorial Human Rights Center will be liquidated," the official statement reads, warning that "a return to the totalitarian past is possible, it is happening now, in front of the whole world."
Memorial, one of the country's oldest human-rights organizations, monitors political repressions in modern Russia and has documented the crimes of totalitarian rule in the Soviet Union.
The Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, among other human rights watch groups, condemned the court’s decision to shut down the center.
Some context: Human rights groups and advocates for democracy have come under increasing attack in Russia in recent years.
Thousands of protesters were detained last year for taking part in several demonstrations supporting Alexey Navalny, the country's best-known political opponent of Putin.
Demonstrations during the first few months of 2021 were met with a strong crackdown by police, including widespread arrests and an allegedly disproportionate use of force.
Several rights groups -- including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International -- wrote in an open letter published in early December: "Memorial is at the very heart of Russia's civil society, and by targeting it, authorities are hoping to destroy Russia's civil society at large."