Nobel Peace Prize won by Ales Bialiatski, Memorial, Center for Civil Liberties- QHN

Even though Russia’s Supreme Court shut down Memorial International last December, the group set up a new organization — that includes old and new staff — in exile.

“Memorial is alive and will stay alive,” the group told CNN.

Anastasia Garina, Executive Director of the Memorial Human Rights Center said in a statement that winning the Nobel Peace Prize caught the group off guard.

“The news of receiving the Nobel Prize was completely unexpected for us and caught us in the middle of the working day,” she said, adding “of course we are very pleased.”

Garina said that the award reinforces how important their work is.

“This is probably one of the most significant recognitions in the world of the importance of what we do. This means that many people believe that we are on the right track, that our work is necessary and important. This supports us incredibly in a situation where Russian civil society has fallen into dark times and when our longstanding efforts to protect human rights in the Russian Federation seem to have gone to pieces.

“We continue to work, we are restoring the team after the liquidation of the legal entity this spring, we are launching new projects and, of course, it is important for us to know that this is not in vain.”

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