Boris Kagarlitsky on Why We Should Support the Khimki Hostages

Russian sociologist and leftist activist Boris Kagarlitsky on why we should demand the release of the Khimki hostages, Maxim Solopov and Alexei Gaskarov. He is shown signing a postcard addressed to President Medvedev demanding the release of Maxim and Alexei. The video also contains an appeal to attend a rally at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow, September 19, at the monument to Griboyedov near the Chistye Prudy metro station in Moscow.

To find out what you can do to support them and secure their release, go to khimkibattle.org.

Today, many people — both in power and within the social movements — have the tendency to say that there are good, loyal people in the movement to defend the Khimki Forest who use nonviolent methods, and then there are the extremists, the irresponsible people who attacked the Khimki town hall, who carried out this violent action and so on. People who argue this way fail to notice two things. First, violence was used by those who were attempting to stop the protest campaign. We all know about the violent attack against the environmentalist camp in the Khimki Forest. And this attack took place with cover from the local authorities — or, at very least, the local authorities did nothing to prevent it. We haven’t heard that the attack against the camp has been investigated. We haven’t heard that the Khimki police have punished the guilty parties. We haven’t heard that the local or federal authorities were angered or outraged by this ugly incident.

And after this it is quite clear that this kind of inaction on the part of the authorities, this passive encouragement of violence by those ultra-rightwing gangs provoked violent actions from the other side. But keep in mind that the violence of the ultra-rightwingers was directed against people. As far as the damage done to the Khimki town hall is concerned, not a single person was injured.

We have no grounds to believe that the two people who are now being held in the pretrial detention facility are responsible for what happened. The only thing we do know for sure is that they were in Khimki at that moment and participated in the action.

It was precisely Alexei and Maxim who advocated moderate, nonviolent actions. And they advocated these views publicly. Note that many [antifascists] cover their faces and conceal their surnames. But Alexei and Maxim didn’t conceal their surnames: they acted publicly, openly. By the way, they reported voluntarily to the police when they were summoned. That is, they behaved like loyal, law-abiding citizens.

In other words, even if we believe that someone should be punished for those four broken windows [in the Khimki town hall] — and someone probably should pay [to have them replaced]: this is the whole extent of the problem — then it is not at all obvious that this should be Maxim and Alexei.

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Watch other videos in this series of appeals for solidarity with the Khimki hostages here.

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Filed under activism, anti-racism, anti-fascism, film and video, open letters, manifestos, appeals, political repression, protests, Russian society

One response to “Boris Kagarlitsky on Why We Should Support the Khimki Hostages

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