The Right to Memory is an intimate portrayal of one of Russia's greatest public intellectuals, historian and human rights advocate, Arseny Roginsky. Born in the exiled village of Velsk in 1946, Roginsky made it his mission to record and recover the names of the millions who had been imprisoned or executed under Joseph Stalin and subsequent Soviet leaders.
In 1988 he helped to found Memorial, one of the first independent human rights organizations allowed to be established after Mikhail Gorbachev started to liberalize Soviet politics. The mission of Memorial was to uncover the truths of Soviet history in defiance of the forces of censorship and repression— its guiding principle was that the future depended on an honest assessment of its past. Roginsky argued that it was not enough to build monuments, as every persecuted individual's fate had to be discovered and made known.
Roginsky diesd in December, 2017 at 71. One year before his death, Roginsky revealed, for the first time on film, his innermost thoughts about his birth in the Gulag, the mechanism of mass terror, the historian's duty, and why his countrymen reject the memory of the totalitarian past.
Directed by Ludmila Gordon; Cinematography by Mika Altskan, 2018, 1 h. 36 min.