Daily Archives: September 20, 2010

Moscow and Petersburg Rally in Defense of Maxim and Alexei

A few images and videos from yesterday’s rallies in Moscow and Petersburg in defense of Maxim Solopov and Alexei Gaskarov. The campaign to secure their release is still on: go here and here to find out what you can do to help.

This video from the Moscow demonstration features the event’s moderator, activist and journalist Vlad Tupikin, well-known civil rights activist Lev Ponomaryov, sociologist and activist Carine Clément, and sociologist and activist Boris Kagarlitsky. Clément talks about how both Maxim and Alexei are the kind of people whose work on behalf of various causes contributes to the building of “civil society” that the current Russian regime claims to be interested in building. Kagarlitsky argues that if the young men are not released, it will be a disgrace for all of Russia. They are being punished because their comrades had the “impudence” to tell the truth to the authorities, who are incapable of performing their jobs and taking responsibility for their actions.

This video, also from the Moscow rally, features Tupikin, who argues that the spontaneous demo outside the Khimki town hall on July 28 was a decisive factor in the subsequent backdown by the high Russian authorities (in the form of a temporary halt to the clear-cutting of the Khimki Forest pending a review of the route through it for a planned Moscow-Petersburg toll road.) After a fragment featuring Carine Clément, Alexei’s mother, Irina Gaskarova, talks about how there is no evidence that her son committed any crime, that the country’s pretrial detention facilities are overcrowded with people who are imprisoned for months on end, and that an investigator confessed to her that he and his colleagues know very well that her son and Maxim are innocent, but that the case is being curated from the very top of the Russian political hierarchy and there is nothing they can do. Irina Gaskarova is followed by Viktor Solopov, who also talks about how the police are fabricating the case against Maxim and Alexei. He also recounts how, when Maxim was summoned by the police for a “discussion” on July 29, he warned his son not to go to them because they cannot be trusted. This draws a round of applause from the crowd. He also talks about the police have been torturing and otherwise intimidating the young men’s comrades to obtain “testimony” against them. (We will have more details about this aspect of the case in a later post.) Mr. Solopov is followed by Seva Ostapov, another young Muscovite who was recently victimized by the Moscow police (and tried and convicted of a crime he didn’t commit.) He reiterates Solopov’s arguments about the untrustworthiness of the police: according to Ostapov, the words “police” and “lawlessness” have become synonyms in today’s Russia, while the words “court” and “justice” no longer have any connection between them. The video ends with Vlad Tupikin reading aloud a letter sent to the demonstrators by Vladimir Skopintsev, an antifascist activist now in forced exile in another country. At around 11 p.m. on September 2, persons unknown fired shots into the window of his family’s apartment in the Moscow suburb of Troitsk, barely missing the head of Skopintsev’s younger brother, Andrei. Instead of investigating the incident, police summoned to the scene of the crime took Andrei and his father to the local police station, where officers threatened to charge Andrei with extremism and began beating him up. The police released Andrei and his father only in the morning, confiscating Andrei’s passport in the process. (You can find more details of this strange but all too typical story here.) In his letter, Vladimir Skopintsev writes that his own experiences and Russia’s recent history have taught him that sooner or later anyone who comes into conflict with the “party line” will face repression. He closes by expressing the hope that one day he will be able to return to Russia and be reunited with the people at the rally.

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The image at the top of this post was taken by Moscow blogger and activist anatrrra. See their complete photo reportage of the Moscow rally here.

A bit earlier in the day, activists and concerned citizens gathered under a cold rain in Petersburg’s Chernyshevsky Garden to voice their support for Maxim and Alexei and demand their release. The photo below was taken by the ever-reliable Sergey Chernov. See his complete photo reportage of the Petersburg rally here.

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Filed under activism, film and video, political repression, protests, Russian society

Call for Solidarity against Anti-Homeless Legislation in Hungary

Dear Friends,

We are writing to you as members of the Hungarian homeless rights advocacy group called The City Is for All in which homeless, formerly homeless, and non-homeless people work together for housing rights and social justice.

A draft law recently proposed by the Ministry of Interior would allow local authorities to “expel homeless people from public spaces” and to sanction “sleeping on the streets”.

We have an ongoing campaign against this proposed legislation, and we need your help.


Please help us in letting the Minister of the Interior know that the adequate response to homelessness is housing, and not police harassment.

Please send the following statement (or your own personal views) to the Ministry of the Interior [ugyfelszolgalat@bm.gov.hu] with a Bcc copy to our organization [avarosmindenkie@gmail.com].

Dear Mr. Pintér,


I heard  about a draft law recently proposed by the Ministry of Interior that would allow local authorities to “expel homeless people from public spaces” and to sanction “sleeping on the streets”.

I am deeply concerned that the Hungarian government is taking punitive measures to respond to the problem of homelessness – measures that, by their very nature, are incapable of alleviating poverty, social exclusion and housing deprivation. The reasons for rough sleeping are to be found in the structures of inequality and in the inadequacies of social policies. As a result, these are the spheres in which change is necessary if we want to put an end to homelessness. Increasing the social housing stock and the level of housing assistance, and radically improving the condition of homeless shelters would  also be possible progressive steps.

For all these reasons, I ask you to withdraw the proposed legislation and stop the criminalization of homeless people.

Yours sincerely,


Please include your organizational affiliation into the email, and feel free to forward this call for others.
Thanks a lot for your kind help!
Greetings from Budapest,

The City is for All

A Város Mindenkié rendszeres műsora a Muzsikus rádión minden kedden 16 és 17 óra között hallható. www.muzsikusradio.hu
A műsorok letölthetők blogunkról is: www.avarosmindenkie.blog.hu
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As always, Chtodelat News gratefully acknowledges receipt of this appeal from the Reclaiming Spaces mailing list:

http://www.reclaiming-spaces.org
Address for messages to the list:
reclaiming-spaces@listi.jpberlin.de
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https://listi.jpberlin.de/mailman/listinfo/reclaiming-spaces


Visit their blogs:
http://www.reclaiming-spaces.org Sign the statement to the G20 in response to the global financial & housing crisis
http://www.reclaiming-spaces.org/crisis/archives/8

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Filed under activism, international affairs, open letters, manifestos, appeals, urban movements (right to the city)