Today (November 13) Carine Clément, [a Moscow-based French sociologist and social activist, and] the director of the Institute for Collective Action, was attacked in downtown Moscow. The incident took place around 11 a.m. near the Bilingua Club, where Clément was to take part in a roundtable on the crisis. According to the victim, two young men ran up to her from behind and stabbed her with a syringe containing an unidentified substance. The men uttered no threats, demands or any other words that would have made it possible to understand their motives. As Clément underscored, the appearance of the assailants was not marked by any characteristic ethnic traits or other distinguishing features.
We should note that this is the third assault on Carine Clément in the past month, and it would be illogical to write it off as a commonplace incident of hooliganism. Two weeks ago Clément was beaten and mugged near her home on Mosfilm Street. An unidentified man, whose appearance the victim was unable to remember and who was waiting for her near her house, struck her and grabbed her bag. He then escaped in a car driven by an accomplice.
A number of media outlets, including Komsomolskaya Pravda, wrote, in connection with this [earlier] incident, that Clément was, allegedly, attacked by a man of “Asian” appearance and that his motive was ordinary robbery.
However, today’s assault, along with a number of other facts, point to the political character of the attacks on Clément. In particular, as has now become clear, data from the flash drive that was in the sociologist’s stolen bag has been used in provocations against her.
Yesterday, November 12, yet another man attacked Clément near her house. In this case, the assailant limited himself to insulting and spitting on her, but we are forced to recognize that these three incidents completely disprove the explanation mooted by nationalists and the yellow press: an accidental mugging by a “guest of the capital” [i.e., an immigrant].
Clément has filed a complaint with the police and gone to hospital for medical treatment. At present, the substance in the syringe has not yet been identified.
As for the identities of the people who commissioned this crime and their motives, the victim and her colleagues see a connection with Clément’s work as the director of the non-commercial partnership Institute for Collective Action (IKD), which is known for the informational and methodological assistance it provides to a wide variety of social movements, especially the housing rights and trade union movements. IKD also provided informational support for the October 25th Russia-wide Day of Popular Rage, a series of protests in defense of social and political rights. It was apparently no coincidence that the first assault on Clément took place on the eve of this action.
Aside from the security forces, other possible initiators of the assaults are members of fascist and nationalist organizations, who previously have made threats to Clément. IKD’s website actively supports anti-fascist initiatives, and the institute is a co-founder of the Union of Coordinating Councils (SKS), an inter-regional coalition of social movements.
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