On October 17, we reported, via a translation of a quite emotional post on the Live Journal of the Moscow anarchist and journalist Vlad Tupikin, on the brutal murder of a young woman in Irkutsk. It was alleged that the woman, identified as “Olga Rukosyla,” had been kicked to death by skinheads who had identified her as a member of the antifa movement. Vlad’s account was both so chilling and heartfelt that it never occurred to us that the information could be false.
Well, that is apparently what it was: false. What was almost instantly troubling about the story was that, after Vlad’s post, the wild discussion that took place there, and the inevitable repostings of the story, no more details were forthcoming. Since Russia has in the last few years witnessed a series of rather high-profile murders of anti-fascist activists, it was odd that yet another such murder and one that took place in a major Russian city (Irkutsk) would not generate further interest. Soon it became apparent that something was wrong, although when pressed for details by his readers, Vlad merely wrote that the story was being investigated.
Something was wrong, as you will see in the following translation of a long investigative report that was published in late November by the Irkutsk newspaper SM Nomer Odin. It is, however, still troubling that this same newspaper had earlier—in its October 23 issue, hot on the heels of the alleged murder—published a story proving that the victim hadn’t existed; hence, no woman, no crime. But since that was a Siberian newspaper, and the Moscow and Irkutsk antifa and Vlad Tupikin were still trying to figure out what had happened, this news did not make it into the “central” alternative press in the two capitals.
Nevertheless, we are genuinely sorry if our posting of Vlad’s obituary misled any of you. That was not our intention and, knowing Vlad, we are certain that was not his intention, either. He has already apologized in his Live Journal.
But what explains our collective willingness to believe this story? It’s pretty simple: the hundreds upon hundreds of murders and beatings of antifascist activists, migrant workers, members of ethnic minorities, and other activists that have happened in Russia over the past several years. If you don’t believe me, check out the special BASTA! issue of our newspaper. There in the centerfold you will find a map of Saint Petersburg marked with the spots where 132 people had been beaten or killed by fascists between February 2004 and January 2008. Those are the inglorious numbers in just one (albeit very large) Russian city.
And if you think we made that up, you should know that we compiled the map using the reports on the website of the highly respected, not-at-all hysterical SOVA Center, in Moscow. In one of their latest reports (released on December 1) they write that, since the beginning of the year in Russia, no less than 82 people have been killed and no less than 348 people have been injured as the result of neo-Nazi and racist attacks.
It is one thing to read the statistics; it is quite another to have the SOVA Center among one’s “friends” on Live Journal, as we do. If you have friends like them, that means that nearly every day you get to read things like this:
Vicious Assault on Workers from Tajikistan in the Moscow Region
On December 5, 2008, near the village of Zhabkino in the Leninsky District of the Moscow Region, two Nazi-skinheads attacked two workers from Tajikistan.
The 20- and 22-year-old migrants, who were working as loaders at a produce base, were returning from work late evening and were passing through a grove. As soon as they entered the forest, they were fired upon with pneumatic pistols. One of the men, who was wounded in the temple, escaped. He was hospitalized, and in the hospital he told the brother of the second migrant about the incident.
The headless corpse of the second migrant has been found in a gully. The man’s body had six stab wounds in the back. Nothing had been stolen from the dead man.
The wounded migrant has informed [police] that both attackers were Slavic in appearance.
The group Combat Organization of Russian Nationalists (which probably is a mythical organization) has claimed responsibility for the murder.
Not too shabby, eh? So forgive us our gullibility. And ask yourself, as you read the article about the Rukosyla hoax, why in the world would someone want to make a story like this up? Continue reading