Tag Archives: Carine Clément

Bring the Noise! (November 14, Moscow, Chistye Prudy)

Two years ago a wave of terror against social activists and journalists rolled over Russia. Newspaper editor and activist Mikhail Beketov was severely beaten in Khimki. In Moscow, persons unknown attacked sociologist and activist Carine Clément. In Vsevolozhsk (Leningrad Region), independent trade union leader Alexei Etmanov was also attacked by unknown assailants on multiple occasions. In Yakutia, trade union activist Valentin Urusov was framed by local police on a drugs charge, tried, and sentenced to several years in prison. In response to this terror, social activists held a demonstration at Chistye Prudy in Moscow that was attended by a few hundred people.

Two years have passed. Police have still not identified and arrested the people who assaulted Beketov, Clément, and Etmanov. Valentin Urusov is still serving time in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Today we are witnessing a repeat of the events of two years ago. Environmentalist Konstantin Fetisov has been severely beaten in Khimki. Unknown assailants have attacked and severely beaten journalist Oleg Kashin. The authorities are trying to frame antifascist activists for crimes they did not commit. In Zhukovsky, thugs beat up journalist Anatoly Adamchuk.

We believe that these new tragedies are the result of apathy in our society, which two years ago was unable to force authorities to find and punish the guilty parties in those dark events. The time has come to put an end to this, for if this time the criminals are not found, the atmosphere of impunity will untie the hands of all other scumbags once and for all. Instead of being shocking exceptions, these acts of terror will become a matter of everyday practice.

At 2:00 p.m. on November 14 we ask you to come join us at Chistye Prudy in Moscow. We realize that there is no point in long speeches. It is unlikely that anyone can learn something new, something that has not been published in the Internet. And so we suggest that you bring with you anything that can make a lot of noise as a symbol of your rage and indignation.

Silence and calm is exactly the reaction aimed for by those who jail, cripple, and murder people who disagree with the existing order.



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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.


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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Hunting Season Is Open: On the Persecution of Khimki Forest Defenders and Moscow Antifascists

Below, we have posted a translation of some excerpts from a excellent article on the Russian news and commentary website Chastnyi Korrespondent (“Private Correspondent”), which describes in detail the now-notorious August 4 Moscow press conference after whose conclusion, Yevgenia Chirikova, leader of the Movement to Defend the Khimki Forest, was kidnapped by Moscow Region police, allegedly because she had failed to respond to a summons to report for question in connection with the July 28 attack on the Khimki town hall. (Chirikova has denied that she received any summons.) The remarks made at the press conference by Chirikova, Institute for Collective Action director Carine Clément, lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin (who is coordinating the defense of Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov, the two young Moscow antifascists who on August 6 were formally charged with disorderly conduct and conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct in a group, which could send them to prison for seven years), and Gaskarov’s mother, Elena, shed a great deal of light on this tangled case and underscore the need for activists both in Russia and abroad to show their solidarity with both the forest defenders and the unjustly accused antifascists.

This is the point made by Tord Björk in his terrific appeal for solidarity. He explains why this seemingly exotic instance of “Asian despotism” is worth everyone’s attention: because it exemplifies politically and environmentally destructive processes under way throughout the world, and because the choice made by very different Russian activists to defend one another in the face of this onslaught is inspiring and deserves our support.

The Russian opposition has chosen to show its strength by sticking together. The protest leader Chirikova who by all means can be described as a mainstream environmentalist with modest and well informed arguments was among the speakers at the press conference to defend the arrested anti fascists Solopov and Gaskarov. It is hard to believe that the spectacular arrest by special riot and anti-terrorist police force of her directly after this press conference is anything else than an attempt to put a violence stamp on the whole environmental protest and create fear. But those in power failed to split the Russian movement. The 19 of January committee which is the result of the unification of forces during the comemoration of the murder of Markelov and Baburova calls for solidarity. It is now up to international movements to show that the provocation against the European environmental opinion in completely disregarding the local opinion against building of the toll highway through the Khimki forest and still believing in financial support from Europe is met by a strong no. It is even more up to the whole global environmental justice and all popular movements to show that the attempts at using right wing extremism combined with repression against a movement is not accept[able] in Moscow or anywhere else.

The growing repression we have seen at the Climate summit in Copenhagen, against the landless movement MST in Brazil, against migrants and protesters of all kinds not only in impoverished countries but also the rich and industrialized must be confronted by common efforts. The authorities start to leave all earlier notions of freedom of expression and individual evidence for committing a crime behind.  The heavy possible and necessary involvement of EU funding in the project through EBRD and the European Investment Bank makes it also possible to mobilize substantial protests against the project. We have to join hands across borders and movements to build solidarity.

We should point out that on August 5, Yevgenia Chirikova was again kidnapped by police — after a second interrogation in connection with the Khimki town hall incident — and taken to the Khimki justice of the peace, who sentenced her to fines of 1,500 rubles and 800 rubles for (respectively) “organizing an illegal demonstration” and “disobeying the police.” She allegedly committed these crimes while on watch in the Khimki Forest on the evening of July 28.

Zinaida Troitskaya
Hunting Season Is Open


Carine Clément insisted that the [action against the Khimki administration] building was spontaneous. She was the first speaker at the press conference to inform [reporters] that Solopov and Gaskarov, detained on suspicion of organizing and carrying out the action, would not be released from police custody for another two months, [that is,] for the entire period of the investigation. “As if they are dangerous terrorists,” added Clément.

Clément talked about one of the people arrested on July 29, Alexei Gaskarov. “He has worked for the Institute for Collective Action [IKD] for three years. He is an educated [young] man. He graduated from the government’s Finance Academy — he’s an economist. He wrote articles on economics for IKD. […] Yes, he holds antifascist views. But is there something wrong with that? These are humanist views — the rejection of extremism, the certainty that all people are equal, whatever their ethnicity. I believe that this [stance] is absolutely normal in any country, as well as in Russia, I hope. Alexei was always one of the most moderate members of this movement. He advocated nonviolent action, the ideological, educational front of this struggle. Yes, he often appeared in the media, including on behalf of IKD, as someone know the antifascist movement well. He was in Khimki on assignment: our editors sent him there to cover the action.”

The next speaker was Mikhail Ivanovich Trepashkin, Gaskarov and Solopov’s lawyer. He began by showing the arrest protocols and explaining some important details. […] Solopov’s arrest protocol is dated June 29, and it states that Solopov was “caught at the crime scene.” According to his protocol, Gaskarov was arrested “immediately after the commission of the crime.” The meanings of the phrases “immediately after” and “at the crime scene” have thus been stretched to encompass a whole 24-hour period.

Trepashkin explained what motives could lead to a suspect’s arrest.

They are listed in Article 91 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code, but none of them apply in the present case. Solopov and Gaskarov were not caught either at the crime scene or immediately after the crime was committed. Otherwise, what are we to make of media reports that no one was detained [on July 28]? No one has testified that they either participated in the action or organized it. According to the lawyer, the police’s attempts to turn up evidence of the crime via searches [of the suspects’ flats] were also unsuccessful.

“In any civilized country, the case would be closed after such details were made public, and the suspect would be released from custody,” Trepashkin said. “In order to correct this flagrant inaccuracy, the judge a bit later alter[ed] the circumstances of the arrest to state that citizens Gaskarov and Solopov were arrested ‘on the basis of the existence of persons, who have indicated that they committed the crime’  — that is what the letter of the law sounds like. In my view, the judge fabricated the evidence. She referred to the existence of witnesses, but there is no record of them in the arrest protocols!”


Trepashkin told reporters that in the motion it filed with the court, the prosecution indicated that Gaskarov and Solopov had organized the action and that they had acted “in concert [and] by previous agreement.” According to the lawyer, however, there is no evidence of this. During the search they conducted in Gaskarov’s flat, investigators turned up “The Activist’s Handbook.” It was this find that enabled the investigation team to affirm that Gaskarov had organized the action. No other evidence was found. The handbook contains legal recommendations for carrying out civic actions, the documents necessary for them, information about the legal deadlines for submitting demonstration permit requests, and other useful information for active citizens.

Investigators have managed only to come up “certain” (this is exactly how Mikhail Trepashkin put it) witnesses, Khimki residents. […] “In my opinion and that of my clients, the case rests on the testimony of perjurers, and it was on this basis that their term in police custody was extended,” he said. “I believe that the hearing was held in closed chamber only to conceal these contradictions. […] I see no other basis [for this decision]. There are four grounds for closing a preliminary investigatory hearing to the public, as stipulated in Article 241 of the Russian Federation Criminal Procedural Code. [The first is when a case involves] state secrets — obviously there are no such secrets in this case. [Second,] if a threat has been made to persons involved in the investigation or the court, but in this case not even the surnames [of the witnesses] are mentioned, only documents. [Third,] when a case involves minors, and fourth, in cases of sexual crimes. When a prosecuting investigator insists that information about the case not be made public, he is guided by these stipulations and is pursuing two goals. First, to make sure that nothing interferes with the apprehension of the perpetrators, and second, to make sure that the rights of people involved in the preliminary investigation are not violated. But in this case investigators insisted [on nondisclosure] so that the defense would have no opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and compare their testimonies […].”

Investigators are clearly in a bind. On the one hand, the law has clearly been violated. Citizens should not toss various objects at city buildings, especially administrative buildings. Citizens should abide by the community’s rules and not disturb the peace. It is the police’s job to keep the peace and maintain order. But no [Khimki] city or police official has been able to explain how it happened that on the evening of July 28 the city and its administration building were left utterly defenseless. Or rather, none of them wants to explain this. But it would be stupid to miss an opportunity to explain this fact. Yevgenia Chirikova, leader of the Movement to Defend the Khimki Forest, who also spoke at the press conference, helped reporters fill in the background.

On July 28, Alexander Semchenko, director of Teplotekhnik, Ltd., (the general contractor [in the highway construction pr0ject] and the official representative of the developer), called a meeting with Khimki Forest defenders and town residents at 5 p.m. in the Rodina Palace of Culture. Inspired with new hopes, [residents and activists] arrived at the meeting place at the appointed hour only to be informed that the meeting had been indefinitely postponed and a new venue [for the meeting] had not been decided on. According to Chirikova, around 300 people showed up for the meeting. The day before, a new logging machine had been delivered to the long-suffering forest park zone near the Vashutino Highway. Environmental activists would have interfered with the work [of this machine and the loggers]. In order to protect woodcutters from persistent demands to produce permits for the clear-cutting — according to Eco-Oborona [Chirikova’s group] and Greenpeace, these permits do not exist — nearly all local police were rounded up and sent to the forest. “They were guarding the illegal clear-cut from us in three cordons. We screamed at them to let us in, to let us stop the lawlessness that was being perpetrated. But the police did not respond and turned around to show us the best part of their bodies,” said Chirikova.

“We found out about what had happened at the [Khimki] administration building when journalists began calling us and asking us for commentary,” [said Chirikova]. “We didn’t know these people, but we were stunned by what they did: it provoked shock and awe. We are not at all a political movement: we are fighting for our habitat. Unlike the bureaucrats, we act strictly within the law. We act through pickets, demonstrations, and petitions. You have to understand that the defenders of the Khimki Forest are moms with kids, middle-aged women and men, grandmas — ordinary people who pay their taxes, go to demonstrations, and beg bureaucrats for years on end to please […] obey the law. We believe that this is how we should fight because we have no other resources.”

According to Yevgenia Chirikova, no one can go into the Khimki Forest nowadays. One of her comrades in the struggle arrived in the forest wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Russia Is against the Logging of the Khimki Forest”: he was arrested and held in police custody until two in the morning, and calls to all the [town’s] police precincts [to learn his whereabouts] were of no use whatsoever. On that same July 28,  Yevgenia Chirikova’s husband had two ribs broken [by thugs?] when he attempted to photograph the logging. And this was not the only assault that Chirikova recounted [at the press conference. The police do not accept complaints [from victims of such attacks], and it is also the case that people are slightly afraid of going to the police station.

At the conclusion of her remarks, Chirikova informed [journalists] that the environmentalists do not intend to surrender, once  more emphasizing that they plan to use only legal methods: “Unlike the authorities and the police, we respect federal law and intend to act only within its bounds. Three years ago we warned the authorities about what is happening now — that s0ciety would protest; it’s absolutely logical. There are people who are more radically minded: they believe that our actions are ineffective — we beg to differ. It is obvious, however, that competent politicians don’t do such outrageous things. To cut down an oak forest, an old-growth forest, when there is an alternative, is abnormal. From both the legal and the ethical viewpoints.”

Alexei Gaskarov’s mother, Elena, talked about the court hearing. “The boys were allowed to say their piece at the court hearing, but no one listened to them. There is nothing they can charge [Alexei] with other than being civically active. During the search [of their flat] one got the sense that these people didn’t know what they were looking for. At first, they looked for [paint] spray cans, then masks, but in the end they confiscated books. The second time [they searched the flat?] I understood for sure that they had nothing against [Alexei]. But yesterday it became clear, when they didn’t listen to the lawyer and ignored all his remarks, that [the prosecution was not planning to charge Alexei with disorderly conduct]. Since they cannot prove [that charge], then they can try and prove [that he organized the attack]. The investigator hinted that the case was being handled at the very highest level, and said that charges would be filed in any case.”

Alexei Gaskarov, the media face of his movement, appeared many times on TV and radio after actions by his comrades. Trips to the police station for conversations were also a routine affair for him. This time, after being invited in by investigators, he reported to the Zhukovskoye police precinct as usual. And disappeared. His flat was searched at three in the morning, but his mother still did not his whereabouts. When she went to the police precinct the first time and [explained the circumstances], the police told her they didn’t know anything. When she showed up a second time, she announced that she would be forced to file a missing persons report. It was only then that she learned that her son had been arrested.

When Private Correspondent asked her how she thought the case would develop and what lay in store for her son, she replied, “The investigators advised me not to make noise about this case and gave me to understand that everything would be okay. One gets the impression that after the [incident] with the Khimki administration building, heads started to roll and that now what matters is to find some criminals and punish them publicly. If [Alexei] had not gone in for that talk [with the police] and someone else had gone, then that other person would have the same problems now.”


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Another Beautiful Day in the Russian Capital: Khimki Forest Defender Yevgenia Chirikova Kidnapped by Police after Press Conference


A press conference entitled “Pogrom in Khimki: The Police Fabricates the Ringleaders,” which took place today at the Independent Press Center in Moscow, ended in scandal. After the press conference ended, Yevgenia Chirikova, leader of the Movement to Defend to the Khimki Forest, was detained. The press conference was called to discuss the case of the so-called pogrom of the Khimki administration building and the Khimki police’s abuse of forest defenders. All the speakers scheduled for the event were in attendance: Carine Clément, director of the Institute for Collective Action (IKD); lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin; Irina Gaskarova, mother of one of the detainees; and Yevgenia Chirikov, who was detained after the press conference.

The speakers spoke in detail about the circumstances surround the numerous arrests of Khimki Forest defenders, in particular, the case of the two young men [Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov], who police stubbornly insist were the instigators of the so-called pogrom of the Khimki administration. A large number of journalists was present: the auditorium of the Independent Press Center was practically full.

As IKD deputy Andrei Demidov reports, there were a huge number of police officers and plain-clothes detectives present outside the press center and in the courtyard. A journalist at the press conference asked Yevgenia Chirikova to explain why there were so many police present. “Apparently so that we don’t relax,” replied Chirikova, adding, “Let’s see if we can still get out of here.”

As she exited the press center, several policemen seized Chirikova and rudely packed her into a car. Meanwhile, police blockaded other press conference attendees in the courtyard. Two police majors who were coordinating the actions of the “law enforcers” refused to identify themselves. [This in itself is a violation of Russian law.] Yevgenia Chirikova was placed in a Lada automobile with Moscow Region license plate number M 356. According to unconfirmed reports, she is being taken to the Khamovniki Police Precinct.

The Institute for Collective Action will continue to follow this story.


Editor’s Note. According to one of our correspondents, Chirikova has been taken to the Chief Directorate of Internal Affairs for the Moscow Region (Nikitsky pereulok, 3), where she is being interrogated about the attack on the Khimki administration. The phone numbers there (for anyone who would like to call and inquire about her well-being) are +7 (495) 222-48-01 and +7 (495) 222-40-03. Of course you’ll be unlikely to get someone on the other end of the line who speaks English, but pronouncing the magic words “Yevgenia Chirikova” will let the Russian police know that the world is watching as they trample all recognized norms of civil and human rights into the dust.


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“Managed Democracy”: Our Moscow Comrades Are Arrested for Protesting Electoral Fraud and Terrorism


Today, October 16, an action took place in Moscow next to the monument to the heroes of Plevna. The goal of the action was to protest the falsifications perpetrated by the United Russia party during regional elections that took place across Russia on October 11. Most of the protesters were members of the Moscow Soviet, who were there to decry the manipulations that took place in Moscow during elections to the Moscow City Duma. Several attendees also protested the gangster-like methods employed by the current mayor of Astrakhan, a United Russia protégé, in his effort to secure victory against the opposition candidate, State Duma deputy Oleg Shein. Despite the peaceful nature of the action, it was broken up after a few minutes by OMON riot police.

Around fifty people assembled opposite the Administration of the Russian Federation President; many of them were social activists who are members of the Moscow Soviet. Vladimir Zhirnov, a housing activist and a Moscow City Duma candidate from the Yuzhnoe Butovo district, recounted the falsifications he had uncovered and incidents of the coercion that city officials applied to deputies. Tatyana Belova, a member of elections commission No. 12 (and thus someone who has the right to a “deciding” vote on its decisions) gave examples of forged signatures at her polling station.

Several protesters carried handmade placards meant to draw attention to the elections in Astrakhan and the so-called Astrakhan Maidan, where young supporters of Shein from the organization Countdown have set up a tent camp and are conducting daily mass protest meetings. Two of the placards read “We support the Astrakhan Maidan!” and “Return Astrakhan to the Astrakhanians!” 

Deputy Oleg Shein was also present at the action. He told journalists about the “gangster-like elections” in Astrakhan, where the city administration employed thuggish methods and its “administrative resource” to combat popular mobilization for his alternative candidacy. He announced that he was prepared to present journalists with a documentary film about the elections entitled “Gangster Coup in Astrakhan.” 

Protesters were peacefully conversing with journalists before delivering to the Presidential Administration a petition demanding that results of the elections be declared null and void and that abuses be investigated and the guilty parties punished. Suddenly, regular police, aided by the OMON, began making arrests. Six people were immediately arrested, including IKD director Carine Clément, who was holding a placard in support of the Astrakhanians. As the detainees reported by telephone, the arrests were carried out in an extremely rough manner. One young woman was dragged along the ground for thirty meters before being tossed into a police bus.

Among those arrested were Left Front coordinator Sergei Udaltsov and IKD correspondent Alexander Lekhtman.

The arrested were taken to the Kitai-Gorod police precinct, where they were held in the “monkey cage” until 4 or 5 p.m. The remaining participants in the picket followed them there. They gathered next to the entrance of the police station and began chanting, “Freedom, freedom!” This led to their being arrested as well. Eighteen people in all were detained.

“I have just come back from Astrakhan, where I saw with my own eyes how the authorities made a mockery of people’s right to vote,” said Carine Clément. “They are killing people’s faith in law and justice, and we demand an impartial investigation of this thuggish abuse of power and punishment of the guilty parties.”

According to the latest information, the detainees are being released one by one after being giving a summons to appear in court next week. All of them are charged with conducting an unsanctioned action.

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Moscow: Free Concert in Support of Assaulted Russian Activists (December 1)





December 1, 2008, 9:00 p.m. Proekt OGI, Moscow (Potapovsky per. 8/12, bldg. 2; Metro: Chistie Prudy)

Chronicle of a Single Day (November 13, 2008): 

The second attack on Alexei Etmanov, leader of the labor union at Ford-Vsevolozhsk; the third attack on Carine Clément, director of the Institute of Collective Action; the brutal beating of Mikhail Beketov, leader of the movement to defend the Khimki Forest.

The beatings and murders of labor and social activist is the quiet civil war of our time, a corporate White Terror, a strike by the wealthy and the powers-that-be against the leaders of social movements that in one way or another raise questions related to property and ownership. Our task is to call this process by its real name and publicize what is happening. Each of us will in the end be forced to take sides and it is better if we do this right now. We are on the side of the oppressed.

Slaughter 2017, Lesorubi [Woodcutters], Zombiderevenshchina [Rural Zombie], Vladimir Aigistov and others will perform sets of political new hardcore, punk rock, country metal, and protest songs.

The concert is organized by the >Vpered>> (Forward) Socialist Movement. Entry is free.


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The Attacks on Russian Activists: Who Stands to Gain?

We here at Chtodelat News are pleased to announce the launch of an important new online resource for social activists in Russia and those of you who read Russian and are interested in keeping abreast of how the fight for civil, labor, environmental, housing and human rights is going in the world’s largest country. Dvizhenie—“(The) Movement”—is the brainchild of three friends and allies: Artem Marchenkov, Vlad Tupikin, and Alexander Bikbov. In recognition of their timely hard work, we are pleased to publish a translation of an essay by Alexander Bikbov that was just posted on Dvizhenie. Bikbov reflects on the recent series of attacks on labor and social activists in Russia and asks the question that should be on everyone’s mind: who stands to gain from these cowardly crimes?


Alexander Bikbov, sociologist

Crimes against Justice: Who Stands to Gain?

The events of the last several days—a series of attacks on [Russian] activists—are acutely alarming. It is not political hierarchs who have been attacked or rival businessmen or professional militants from one or another side of the barricades. No, these attacks have been directed against people who have expressed their sense of fairness and justice publicly: in print and at demonstrations, by defending their own rights and the rights of others, by taking honest, consistent stances at their workplaces. The perpetrators are unidentifiable; their masters are anonymous. These are blows from the dark. Continue reading

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End the Terror Against Social Activists in Russia!

End the Terror Against Social Activists in Russia!

Public Statement on the Attacks against Social Activists

Recently, criminal attacks against the leaders of trade union and social movements have clearly increased. Among the latest such incidents, we should note the attacks against Carine Clément, a member of the working group and a leader of the Union of Coordinating Councils; Alexei Etmanov, leader of the labor union at Ford-Vsevolozhsk; Mikhail Beketov, leader of the movement to defend the Khimki Forest; and Sergei Fedotov, leader of the deceived land shareholders of the Moscow Region. In addition, a great many activists fighting the infill construction that is happening in all our cities have been attacked. There have been murders, in particular, of antifascist activists.

This is not a random phenomenon, but a clear trend: active citizens who try to restore justice and defend their legal rights are more and more often subjected to brute force. With no other arguments at its disposal, the opposite resorts to criminal methods. While it is clear that in each situation it is a different group of people who commissions these crimes, the overall tendency demonstrates that excellent conditions for the further escalation of this brutal method of “social dialogue” have been created in Russia today. These conditions include lawlessness, the lack of criminal liability for violations of the law by state officials or members of the ruling elite, universal corruption, and the hypercentralization of authority in the absence of any form of control from below. Many cases of “political” attacks on activists have still not been investigated, and the guilty parties not be found, which gives the assailants a sense of impunity and thus provokes further crimes.

We say, Enough! Continue reading


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The Gathering Darkness: Activist and Sociologist Carine Clément Assaulted in Moscow

Carine Clément, Director of the Institute for Collective Action, Is Attacked in Downtown Moscow

oppositionpartiesrallymoscowitnktw_blpdlToday (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. Continue reading


Filed under activism, leftist movements, political repression, Russian society