Russian labor camp memorial movement under legal pressure as state trumpets nationalist themes

A Russian organization that has restored a Soviet-era forced labor camp as a memorial for the victims of political repression is facing legal action it says is aimed at pressuring the group out of existence.

Viktor Shmyrov, director of the Perm-36 association, said Friday it will next week face a 1.5 million ruble ($30,000) lawsuit filed by authorities in the Perm region. The case is related to a dispute over the premises of the former Perm-36 camp, which has been wrested away from Shmyrov's organization.

A surge in state-sanctioned patriotism in Russia has been paired with an official effort to downplay any unsavory passages of Russia's recent past. Positive attitudes toward the former repressive communist regime, and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in particular, have increased under President Vladimir Putin's rule.