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Supporters of the human rights group International Memorial Society rally outside the Russian Supreme Court in Moscow on Dec. 28. Photo: Gavriil Grigorov/TASS via Getty Images

The Russian Supreme Court ordered a prominent human rights group, the International Memorial Society, to liquidate, the group announced on Twitter on Tuesday.

The latest: The court on Wednesday ordered the closure of the Memorial Human Rights Center, a sister organization of Memorial International. The Memorial Human Rights Center was charged with violating Russia's "foreign agent" law and "justifying terrorism and extremism," an organization lawyer told CNN.

Why it matters: The closures are a major blow to the country's shrinking civil society and a continuation of the Kremlin's campaign to stifle political dissent and crack down on groups advocating for democratic reforms.

Context: Memorial International, which was established in the late 1980s to study human rights abuses committed by the Soviet Union, was designated as a foreign agent organization by the Justice Ministry in 2016 because it received international funding, according to CNN.

  • Prosecutors later accused the nonprofit of violating laws regulating foreign agents by not labeling its materials with a foreign agent label — an allegation the Russian Supreme Court upheld Tuesday.

The big picture: The foreign agent designation has been repeatedly used by the Russian government to suppress opposition figures, activists, journalists and human rights lawyers, according to the Washington Post.

  • Tuesday's court ruling could set a precedent for other organizations that have been designated as foreign agents by the Russian government.

Go deeper: Russian envoy warns of security measures if NATO dismisses demands

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details on the court's decision to close the International Memorial Society's sister organization.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 14, 2022 - World

HRW criticizes Biden over "mixed signals" on human rights

Photo: Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Human Rights Watch criticized President Biden and other leaders of democratic nations for sending "mixed signals" on human rights in its annual World Report published on Thursday, saying they "are not meeting the challenges before them."

Why it matters: Though Biden pledged to put human rights at the center of his foreign policy, HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth wrote that weapon sales to repressive governments and public reticence on certain human rights violations place those promises in question.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The judge said the most prominent far-right figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.