Memorial in Action
Every organization, like every individual, may be described from both a diachronic and a synchronic perspective. Developmental history overlaps with, but is also separate from, the current events that are daily negotiated. The historical circumstances of Memorial's development were Stalinism and the liberal reaction to it. As such the role Memorial played in the Soviet system was that of the unwelcome but unavoidable messenger of bad news. But the chronicle of how Memorial got here is not the same as the daily diary of how it works now. For this we will read its news publications, sit in its reception room in Moscow, and interview both the client survivors who come to talk and the member survivors who stay to listen, record and disseminate the accumulating data.
To begin with Memorial's public activities, it organizes meetings, conferences and seminars. In addition, Memorial reaches its audience through newspapers and journals, published by local divisions. One example is Vedomosti Memoriala, the All-Union Society's Founding Conference newspaper, which opened with Anna Akhmatova's "Requiem." Since the Founding Conference, similar chronicles have been regularly published by local Memorials in Moscow, Tomsk, Tambov, Leningrad, Arkhangelsk, Kuzbass and other places throughout the Soviet Union. Some are in the form of newsletters, others contain memoirs, platforms of Memorial members campaigning for People's Deputies, open letters to People's Deputies, key speeches from Memorial meetings, articles on historical themes, editorials on current events in the Soviet Union and other national and international topics relevant to Memorial. 1