Vlad Tupikin: Who Does the OMON Serve?

Who Does the OMON Serve? (On the Events at 81, Vavilov Street, Moscow)

As Indymedia correspondent anatrrra reports, on the evening of October 8 a meeting of residents was to take place in the courtyard at 81, Vavilov Street. The meeting had barely begun when fifty to sixty OMON soldiers showed up. They dispersed the assembled residents, beating them up and arresting twenty people in the process. All the detainees were taken to the Lomonosovsky police precinct of the South-West Administrative District. (See this and this.)

On the informational billboard depicted here, the house that is slated to be infill-constructed on Vavilov Street looks dignified. What isn’t dignified are the actions of the illegal developers and the authorities who back the interests of capital. (Here is a complete photo reportage from October 5.)

Who Does the OMON Serve?

The first answer that comes to the mind—“The state!”—doesn’t quite fit.

That is, of course, as a whole they serve the state. But after what happened on the evening of October 8, 2008, we can confidently flesh out this answer: they serve capitalists, the fat cats who show a flagrant disregard for both the law and the interests of their fellow citizens.The story surrounding the infill construction project next to the building at 81, Vavilov Street, in Moscow, has been unfolding over the last few months. (For background, see this article.) This is a relatively modern albeit cozy district in the southwest of the capital. The district sports beautiful green courtyards, a nearby market, and two easily accessible metro stations, Universitet and Profsoyuznaya. Of course, the idea of inserting several more freshly built houses in this neighborhood is quite tempting. During recent years, however, the density of the built environment has significantly increased. And this has led to an increased load on the already existing infrastructure: spots for kids in the kindergarten, waiting times at the public health clinic, queues at the shops, and crowded public transportation. But that wasn’t enough: greedy developers decided to build one more multi-storey house here—on the site of house no. 81’s underground garage. This garage contains parking for one hundred cars, and it was given to the residents of the building thirty years ago.

Now developers have removed the garage’s roof, which was practically a part of the courtyard and served as a playground—almost a meter’s worth of earth and turf. (See the photos here and here.) Heavy construction equipment is constantly driven back and forth across this site. Clearly, the goal here is to threaten the garage’s owners with the collapse of the garage.

On Sunday, October 5, a meeting of residents took place in the courtyard of 81, Vavilov Street. They discussed what to do with the illegal construction site. Moscow City Duma deputy Sergei Mitrokhin confirmed the fact that it was illegal. He gave a detailed account of which laws the developers had violated, what efforts had been made to put a legal halt to the construction project, and why these had failed. Or rather, how they had failed. They failed because the ruling issued by a certain state organ (I’m having troubling figuring out which authority issued this ruling) has flagrantly been ignored by the developers. We can only guess why this happened. But why guess? All that we can guess about is the size of the bribe given to this state organ and the other state structures complicit in the issuing of construction permits.

After talking with the deputy and one another, the residents of house no. 81 and neighboring buildings entered the construction site in order to document the illegal work underway there. They caused no harm to the builders’ property. All that the residents of the surrounding buildings left behind after their visit to the illegal developers were several leaflets, which they had pasted on the construction equipment and the fences.

Another meeting of courtyard residents was scheduled for October 8. Around a hundred people gathered, but before they could do anything the OMON was sicked on them. The OMON was quite rough in their treatment of the residents, and this rough treatment included beatings. During the entire course of the afternoon preceding the meeting, OMON soldiers were deployed in great numbers around the Universitet metro station. What for? You know what for. The gun that hung above the mantelpiece in the first act was fired on the first person to cross its path in the last act. (Residents of the courtyard share their impressions of the work of the OMON in this video.)

The twenty arrestees were held at the Lomonosovsky police precinct until morning. According to reports we have received, they will be transferred to the court at 16, Innovators Street, at around ten in the morning.

Of course they will faced trumped-up chargesof holding an unsanctioned meeting and, perhaps, petty hooliganism.

The OMON soldiers were still pounding the pavement near the Universitet station late into the evening. Satisfied, fattened, impudent. Fattened at our expense as taxpayers, impudent because they are not subject to public control.

Who do they serve, these rude fellows whose only cause is direct violence? The law? Ha-ha. They serve Mammon, the moneybag. That very same “buttered dough” that their superiors serve, the superiors who sent them out against peaceful Muscovites. Not politicians or oppositionists, but ordinary people who want live peacefully in their homes, and thus by this fact alone wronged their greedy, corrupt rulers.

Capitalism. What the heck did you expect?

Vlad Tupikin
5 a.m., October 9, 2008


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