Grażyna Baranowska

Protecting the memory of undemocratic regimes through memory laws. Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and Article 354.1 of the Russian Penal Code

Recent years have witnessed the proliferation of memory laws, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, where they have been identified as one of the forms of democratic backsliding. The aim of the proposed project is to draw conclusions concerning memory laws that protect the memory of undemocratic regimes against that of their victims. This will be done on the basis of a thorough analysis of the applications of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and Article 354.1 of the Russian Penal Code and relevant international standards.

Memory laws usually protect memories of the victims of state-sponsored crimes (such as Holocaust denial laws), but Article 301 and Article 354.1 protect the memory of undemocratic regimes against that of their victims. The dominant narrative in both cases denies serious state sponsored atrocities, and both criminalize publications contradicting this narrative. Inasmuch as states are increasingly adopting memory laws, similar laws may become more widespread, which makes a thorough study of such legislation of practical relevance. Both Article 301 and Article 354.1 are used to limit freedom of expression and censor criticism, and as such are in violation of rule of law norms.