Solidarity with Anarchist / Antifascist Political Prisoners in Russia

Date:

The Workers Solidarity Movement held a small demonstration on June 20th in solidarity with political prisoners in the Russian state, outside the embassy of Russia in Dublin. On June the 14th the FIFA World Cup commenced in Russia while it interrogated and tortured framed political dissidents in its dungeons. We in Ireland cannot halt this injustice but we can show that the wider world is watching, that the brutality of the Russian state and the hypocrisy of FIFA has been noted. We can ask 'if I was falsely imprisoned and tortured, what would I want?'. That a group of people over 3000 kilometres away would take time to demonstrate their concern is what makes the human species great what makes our freedom possible. The movement for freedom is global and our bonds of solidarity cannot be severed by national borders.

Soon after assembling, we were visited by an unmarked Garda car, presumably the Garda Special Branch, the political or secret police in the 26 counties, obviously at the behest of the embassy. The officer was 'just curious', including curious about where we ourselves were from, which we declined to answer as there was no legal requirement. You would only be legally required to answer such a question if reasonably suspected of commiting an offense, and it is best to say as little as possible to police wherever you are.

We were also graced by a snazzy black BMW driven by a Russian embassy official, who stopped beside us and took photographs in a rather piteous attempt at intimidation. As one attendee noted, this seemed to be a person used to throwing their weight around as an agent of the Russian state, but we were in Ireland, not in Russia where such an act of surveillance might likely be the preamble to further harrassment and indefinite detention, and the fact that we had this relatively greater political space in Ireland is all the more reason to use it to help those who don't.

The point of listing those encounters is not to make a mountain of a molehill but to record the quite ludicrous response to a small group of people gathering outside the Russian embassy to hold signs and take some pictures.

As shown in the video above, the following statement was read aloud:

'My voice is with those who came today to say NO to political persecution, torture and the falsification of crimes! Right now there are young people jailed in St. Petersburg and Penza, despite committing no crimes! For being a perfect “terrorists” for the most terroristic regime, for being antifascists and anarchists.

There is Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov who was sentenced without clear proof for 20 years in prison for committing no crime. There is Yuri Dmitriev from Karelian Memorial accused of producing pornography and Oiub Titiev from Chechen Memorial accused of being a drug dealer. The most dangerous organization and the real terrorist is the FSB itself, the extinct KGB, the organization which is torturing, killing, and jailing people. The state can do whatever it likes unless we stop it ourselves. The only possibility of saying NO to the state crimes is solidarity of those who don’t believe in the good intention of the state bureaucracy.

The Russian administration now is celebrating the FIFA World Cup. There was no boycott of Russia because the capitalist system doesn’t care about people. But we do care about this alarming union of capital and the state, the state having the exclusive right to violence which was supposedly given by the people for the sake of our own protection, not for us to be punished and tortured without any proof.

No to political prisoners of Russian regime! Free antifascists from St. Petersburg and Penza: Yuliy Boyarshynov, Andrei Chernov, Vasily Kuksov, Arman Sagynbayev, Ilya Shakursky, Dmitry Pchelintsev, Viktor Filinkov, Igor Shishkin, Egor Zorin. Free Oleg Sentsov and Alexander Kolchenko. Free Yuri Dmitriev and Oiub Titiev!'

Background

Starting in the autumn of last year FSB (formerly KGB, Russian secret police) have been arresting antifascists and anarchists organising boycotts of the presidential elections and upcoming World Cup to be held in Russia. They invented an anarchist terrorist group call 'the Network' and used the all the creativity of the state to make this fiction appear true. The FSB have planted evidence, kidnapped people and systematically used beatings and torture with electric shocks to produce confessions.

This is part of a wider and intensifying campaign of repression against anybody the Russian state considers to be subversive, including independent NGOs and LGBT activists.

Our comrades are being held in unbearable conditions in over-crowded detention centres to break them mentally as well as physically. This cannot continue in silence. The world's attention will be on Russia with the FIFA World Cup beginning 14 June. Let's raise our banners and not let our comrades be forgotten.

The Accused

Egor Zorin — Arrested October 17-18. He was the first arrestee, and the first to make a confession. Currently under house arrest.

Ilya Shakursky — Arrested October 19. Law enforcement planted two grenades and a pistol under the back seat of Shakursky’s car. Tortured with electricity in the basement of the pre-trial detention center until he confessed. Currently in pre-trial detention.

Vasily Kuksov — Arrested October 19. Beaten by police and tortured in custody. Guns were planted in his car (the lock of which is broken). He still has not agreed to offer or validate any testimony to the police. Currently in pre-trial detention.

Andrey Chernov — Arrested at the beginning of November. Was tortured until admitting guilt. Currently in pre-trial detention.

Arman Sagynbayev — Arrested at the beginning of November in St. Petersburg. Sagynbayev is reportedly experiencing serious health problems and needs medical attention. Brutally tortured. Currently in pre-trial detention.

In the city of St. Petersburg:

Viktor Filinkov — Kidnapped in an airport by the FSB on January 23 and tortured until he signed a confession. Currently in pre-trial detention.

Igor Shishkin — Kidnapped and tortured until he signed a confession. In pre-trial detention.

Ilya Kapustin — A witness. Tortured and questioned. He is free.

More information can be found (in English) here: https://therussianreader.com/2018/04/15/the-penza-petersburg-terrorism-case-29-january-15-march-2018/

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