Tag Archives: OMON

Russian Anti-Fascist Alexei Gaskarov Arrested

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Well-Known Russian Anti-Fascist Alexei Gaskarov Arrested

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On Sunday, April 28, 2013, the well-known Russian anti-fascist Alexei Gaskarov was arrested in Moscow. He is an elected member of the Russian opposition’s Coordinating Council. The Russian Investigative Committee has accused him of involvement in riots and violence against officials on May 6, 2012, when OMON (Russian riot police) attacked a peaceful, authorized demonstration in Moscow.

May 6 was the day before Putin’s inauguration, and a mass demonstration had been called by the opposition. The winter and spring of 2011-2012 saw the biggest wave of political demonstrations in Russia in almost twenty years, as tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest election fraud. May 6 was also the first time authorities had moved to crush these protests. According to the opposition, more than 600 people were arrested that day, and 28 people have subsequently been charged in connection with these events, remanded to police custody, placed under house arrest or forced to emigrate.

On May 6, 2012, OMON officers beat Alexei Gaskarov with batons and boots. He filed a complaint against the officers who beat him up, but no one was charged. Now, a year later, and just a few days before the anniversary of the May 6 demonstration, as Gaskarov was preparing to lead a left-wing and anti-fascist column at May Day demonstrations, he has had a set of absurd charges brought against him and been arrested.

Alexei Gaskarov was born on June 18, 1985, and has been politically active since his school days.

Gaskarov gained fame in summer 2010, when, during the protest campaign against the destruction of the Khimki Forest, he was  arrested along with Maxim Solopov and accused of orchestrating an attack by 300 to 400 young anti-fascists, who supported the environmentalists, on the Khimki city administration building. In autumn 2010,  Gaskarov and Solopov were released from prison, thanks to a massive international campaign on behalf of the “Khimki Hostages.” In summer 2011, Gaskarov was acquitted of all charges.

Gaskarov has been actively involved in the mass demonstrations against electoral fraud in Russia since they began in December 2011. He was one of the speakers at the largest of the demonstrations, on December 24, 2011, on Sakharov Boulevard in Moscow. He was in charge of the security for that rally, where he had to stop neo-Nazi provocations.

Gaskarov is being held in the police jail at Petrovka, 38, awaiting a court hearing, scheduled for 11 am, April 29, 2013 at the Basmanny district courthouse in Moscow. Pending the court’s decision, Gaskarov will be remanded or released.

Additional information:
gaskarov.info@gmail.com
https://twitter.com/gaskarov_info
Svetlana Sidorkina (Gaskarov’s lawyer): +7 (926) 557-9016

Editor’s Note. We have slightly edited the original article to make it more readable.

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August 1, 2012

MOSCOW, August 1 – RAPSI. Opposition activist Alexei Gaskarov has filed an application with the investigative authorities, claiming that he was beaten up by riot police officers during the March of Millions, the Agora human rights organization told the Russian Legal Information Agency on Wednesday.

Gaskarov has also provided a video of the beating to the investigators.

Agora reported that Gaskarov went to the Interior Ministry’s Internal Security Department to speak with investigators about the Bolotnaya Square riots. During the questioning, he gave the investigators a four minute video demonstrating how he was beaten by police officers.

According to Gaskarov, the investigators said they would look into his statement within a month.

Gaskarov sent a statement about his beating to Moscow Investigative Department head Vadim Yakovenko.

Clashes with the police flared up on May 6 during an opposition march across Moscow, which had been granted official permission. Tens of protesters and police officers were injured. The police detained over 400 rally participants.

After May 6, the opposition continued its protests in the form of “people’s promenades.”

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Open Appeal from the Union of Inhabitants of the Kuzbass

http://vpered.org.ru/index.php?id=544&category=4

Nothing is known about the Union of Inhabitants of the Kuzbass, which has issued this appeal. We do not know whether it reflects the opinion of the hundreds of workers who blocked the railroad in Mezhdurechensk on the evening of May 14, or of one of the groups that has emerged from the protests, or even of one individual. In the bigger scheme of things, this hardly matters. What does matter is that there is not a single false word in this text. Every resident of Mezhdurechensk, every miner, and every person for whom the phrase “worker solidarity” still means something could endorse its demands. We wholly support these demands and express our readiness to carry out actions in support of the Raspadskaya miners during the coming week. We call on all leftist and labor activists to take part in this campaign. \\ Vpered Socialist Movement

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Open Appeal from the Union of Inhabitants of the Kuzbass to the President and People of Russia and the Residents of the Kuzbass

While our labor makes billions of dollars for people who then spend it to build themselves palaces and villas where later our prime minister celebrates, we die by the hundreds in mines and our people destroy themselves for kopecks.

The latest events in Mezhdurechensk were the last straw for us — we can be patient no longer.

We will not be slaves, beasts of burden that do not have to be taken into account, however much certain people in charge would like to do this. We are tired of slavery and humiliation. Enough!

We appeal to President Medvedev. If, of course, he is really our president, and not someone else.

Our demands are as follows:

1. Release all those who have been arrested in Mezhdurechensk in the coming days and drop all criminal charges against them. Put an end  to the mainstream media’s insults and slander against the people of our town.

2. Raise the wage in all profitable mines in the region to three times above the minimum wage, but no lower than 45,000 rubles [per month, approximately 1200 euros]. It is low wages that lead to safety violations that result in our people dying by the hundreds.

3. End persecution of independent union activists who defend the interests of workers. Those responsible for this persecution should be severely punished.

4. Remove from Mezhdurechensk all the Interior Ministry forces that have been brought in from other towns.

5. Introduce in every town monthly mass meetings of the people with the head of the local administration, at which he would report to the people what useful things he has done for them over the past month and personally answer questions and receive petitions and appeals from citizens.

We will not be satisfied with other proposed solutions to our problems.

We await your answer, Mr. President of Russia. We expect an answer by the morning of Friday, May 21. If our demands are not met, we will then be forced to speak and act in the realm of politics, not of social demands.

Now we appeal to the people of our region.

In order to hear what the high authorities of our country have decided, we will gather on Saturday, May 22, outside the administration buildings in our Kuzbass towns at 4:00 p.m. sharp. We appeal not only to miners and their families to attend these assemblies, but also everyone who is not indifferent to the overall state of affairs in our land. Let the bureaucrats come out and respond to our demands. The only thing that will satisfy us is complete compliance with all demands.

We immediately warn [Interior] Minister Nurgaliev and Governor Tuleyev that we do not advise them to play tricks with us the way they did on the evening of May 14 in Mezhdurechensk. We know that we are often not heard and that instead of talking with us they bring in the OMON.

Therefore:

1) We appeal to all parties and public organizations in our country. We ask for your support, if only in the form of an official announcement that you support our demands and are prepared to work with other parties to help us defend ourselves any way you can. If you do not announce your official position before May 21, this will mean that you are in fact against the people. And we will make this fact known to the entire country. We see that so far a representative of only one party has tried to help us; the rest are silent. We will need informational support and legal assistance — this assistance is already required for our arrested brothers in Mezhdurechensk. We will also need other kinds of support from you, including organizational help.

2) We ask all mass media that are not sell-outs to tell the public about our demands. Send us your representatives on May 22 and publish truthful information about the events here, not the lies that are broadcast on TV.

3) Because we are in an informational blockade — our forums and groups on social websites have been blocked by the FSB, and the ones that remain open are crawling with paid mercenaries, special services employees, and policemen who pass themselves off as ordinary residents and deceive people and the country with their lies — we appeal to all the people of Russia to tell the truth to their friends and on the Internet, to talk about the events here so that the country knows what is happening and the [powers that be] won’t be able to crush us. If they crush us today, tomorrow they will crush you.

4) We appeal to the residents of our region to make lists of everyone who lives in your town — bureaucrats and policemen — who is involved in persecuting our popular self-defense. Make these lists and publish them on the Internet, post them in the streets. Your whole town should know these people by name. The families of people who are prepared to beat women, as happened in Mezhdurechensk, should be ashamed of their fathers, brothers, and sons. If you know someone who has been sent to other towns to beat our people, collect information about them as well. Make your own leaflets with the list of our demands and information about the meeting places on May 22, and post them on the streets and on houses. Tell all your acquaintances and friends about the demonstrations. Do not believe anyone who tells you that our action has been cancelled, even if this information allegedly comes from us. Do not believe any other mendacious slander of the sort that is already flooding all the corrupt media. Collect money to aid our brothers who have been arrested and give it to their relatives. Do not be taken in by the propaganda of mercenary pseudo-activists, people who have been bought off by the authorities. Make your own white armbands and put them on at the assembly on May 22. Organize your own clandestine cells of the Union of Inhabitants of the Kuzbass.

We will meet on the streets of our towns on May 22.

For Freedom and Justice!

***

Report from the Town Square in Mezhdurechensk, May 14 (in Russian)

After the demonstration on May 14, Mezhdurechensk residents blocked the Krasnoyarsk Railroad

Residents of Mezhdurechensk clashed with OMON riot police in the early hours of May 15

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How the Nizhniy Novgorod Police Celebrated May Day

A Nizhny Novgorod May Day with the Gestapo: The Arrest and Torture of Antifascists at the Avtozavod District Police Precinct

May First in Nizhniy Novgorod Turned into a Celebration of Genuine Police Sadism

A group of young people strolling in the Avtozavod District Park of Culture and Rest aroused the suspicions of police officers. For the OMON, the crowd of 14 people and their outward appearance (several of them were members of the antifa movement) served as an excellent excuse for arrest, torture, and the application of the most perverse “investigative techniques.” According to the detainees, the police did not even explain to them what they had been taken in for. When one of the fellows attempted to ask for the surname and ID of the officer arresting him, the police began beating him and kicking his legs into the “splits” position.

The young men were taken to the Avtozavod District police precinct, where they were subjected to torture and beatings first by OMON officers, then by officers from the Center for Extremism Prevention (Center “E”) who arrived at the precinct.

The detainees were first tortured by OMON officers, who forced them to sit handcuffed in a crouching position with their arms behind their heads for at least half an hour. In this position, a person’s muscles begin to cramp, but any attempt to move was punished with blows delivered through pea-jackets (so as not to leave any bruises) with billy clubs. The detainees were also forced to do push-ups while the police officers stepped on their hands. This “phys-ed lesson” was accompanied by curses and anti-Semitic, homophobic, and flagrantly fascist utterances on the part of the police.

Here is an excerpt from a conversation between one of the torture victims and his tormenter:

OMON Officer: You’re really doing them push-ups! You some kind of big athlete?

Antifascist: Yes.

OMON Officer: Maybe you’d like to go toe to toe? (laughs)

Antifascist: Let’s do it.

OMON Officer: You some kind of badass?

Antifascist: It’s better than doing push-ups.

Center “E” officers then arrived at the scene. In retrospect, all the torments administered by the OMON came to seem not so “egregious.”

One of the antifascists was beaten on the kidneys through pea-jackets. When this had no effect, he was trussed up with ropes in a contorted position and covered with pea-jackets. Two officers sat on him and held him in this pose for half an hour. Any movement on their or his part caused him excruciating pain. They demanded that he sign a piece of paper indicating his consent to cooperate with Center “E”. After two hours of interrogation, he was forced to incriminate himself by confessing on videotape that he had attempted to organize a (failed) attack on neo-Nazis.

Center “E” officers threatened to give the ne0-Nazis all their video recordings (in which the faces of the antifascists are visible) as well their home addresses and other information. In this way they attempted to blackmail the detainees into signing cooperation agreements with Center “E”.

One of the antifascists was intentionally led into a room at the same precinct where detained neo-Nazis were being processed. (The police were much more polite in their treatment of them. They did not torture them, but only copied their passport information and fingerprinted them.) The Center “E” officers addressed the antifascist by his nickname, which is known to the Nazis, and threatened to give them his address. As one officer said to him, “You do realize that if we leak your address to the boneheads they’ll kill you?”

During interrogations, Center “E” officers held open the eyelids of the detainees and threatened to extinguish their cigarette butts in their eyeballs. They also beat them on the kidneys. The entire proceedings were videotaped, and the officers warned that the detainees would have problems at work and school if they refused to cooperate.

As this was going on, the well-known Nizhniy Novgorod neo-fascist Maxim (aka Shaggy) was freely walking about the precinct house. He had already videotaped the antifascists unhindered when the police were detaining them in the park. In neo-Nazi circles, it is widely known that this person is a member of DPNI (the Movement against Illegal Immigration.) He was also a friend of Sergei “Onyx” Ionnikov, who had already been convicted and served time for inciting ethnic hatred and is now under arrest once again, this time for the murder of a young Nizhniy Novgorod man. There is evidence that Maxim aka “Shaggy” was also detained after the attack in which the young man was murdered.

Onyx and Shaggy

All this circumstantial evidence forces us to conclude that Center “E” uses DPNI members as provocateurs. The antifascists overheard one officer say, “That Oleg Ivanov fucked me over again. He promised there would be Nazi-autonomes, but they didn’t show up!” (Oleg Ivanov is the leader of DPNI’s Nizhniy Novgorod branch.)

The young people were released after five hours in custody. They were formally charged with swearing in public and sentenced to pay an administrative fine. Just imagine it: 14 antifascists gather in a public place and swear loudly! Such actions are not only deserving of indignation, but also of the most Inquisition-like tortures and punishments. This, apparently, is the “extremism” that Center “E” is charged with combatting.

After the beatings he underwent, one of the detainees was barely able to walk; he is now recovering at home. None of the detainees was able to understand  the reason for the cruel treatment they suffered.

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Joint News Conference following Russian-Danish Talks. April 28, 2010, Copenhagen

QUESTION: Mr President of Russia, I know that this is a question that you’ve been asked more than once and maybe you are tired of it, but I recently saw that 66 percent of Russians believe that Mr Putin is the one who controls the country. Who actually takes decisions in Russia today?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Good question, even though it has perhaps grown somewhat tired; but every question asked at a news conference is good.

You know, Russia is controlled by the Russian people – not Medvedev, not Putin, nor anyone else. This is the first thing.

[…]

Dima and Lars

LARS LOKKE RASMUSSEN: I must say that I was struck by the President’s very strong endorsement of the importance of pluralism and of respecting human rights, and I was struck by the progress that we have seen in this area. But I talked about some of the concerns that Danes have, for example, regarding the murders of journalists in Russia. I expressed my wish that these cases be investigated and that the perpetrators be prosecuted. Denmark’s position on this issue is well known.

[…]

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Let me say a couple of words here too because, first, this topic is important and, second, it is traditional for Danish society and several other countries where such questions are of concern for many people. This is a good thing.

What can I say? First of all, as a matter of fact such topics can never poison the atmosphere because this is a normal issue to bring up. That’s the first thing.

Second: we really do always discuss this sort of questions. I told Mr Prime Minister that we are open to the idea of these topics being discussed with representatives of the Government, representatives of civil society, and representatives of nongovernmental organisations. That said, these are our problems and we will solve them on our own and independently. We don’t need any help from others on this issue – we have to deal with them ourselves.

Finally, there’s one more thing. Of course every crime committed should be investigated, but I do not think that the President or law enforcement agencies should be exclusively preoccupied with the murder of journalists or any other group that share a given professional capacity.

We should seek to eliminate all crimes of this nature because violence against the person constitutes the gravest crime in the Criminal Code of any nation, including ours.

So these issues need to be addressed without picking and choosing, and that’s what Mr Prime Minister and I talked about. I think this is useful, but again I would stress that these issues fall within the jurisdiction of the Russian state and of me as President of Russia.

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One Sixth of a Revanchist Planet

The brilliance of revanchism in its early twenty-first century incarnation is its universal ambition to terrify the populace into self-discipline and compliance. But it does not do so equally or evenly. Some are targets of bombs and bombers, while others use security systems to fortify their houses and airports against them. Some are permanently subject to arrest, torture and rape even while innocent, while others inveigh with ontological spleen against Muslims, Jews, strikers, workers, immigrants, women. Those carrying out the bombings, rapes and torture in the name of anti-terrorism are generally the ones who get to fortify themselves, or at least they fall on the same side of the political equation, while those bombed are the ones most likely to be attacked in their homes. Whether one is revanchist or recipient has everything to do with existing power structures including especially, but by no means exclusively, class. I emphasize class here because although the contours of the revanchist city are fairly well discussed, the class aspects of more global conflicts are not, and need to be revealed. The war on terrorism is, like the revanchist city, a war of the rich against the poor, in which the poor often dies.

— Neil Smith, “Revanchist Planet: Regeneration and the Axis of Co-Evilism”

United Russia promises to hold thousands-strong demonstrations against terror in both capitals

On Wednesday, December 2, United Russia will hold thousands-strong demonstrations in Moscow and Petersburg under the slogan “Russian against terror!” the party’s press service has informed Zaks.Ru.

The events will begin at 3:00 p.m. In Moscow, the United Russians will assemble on Poklonnaya Gora, while in Petersburg they will gather on Sennaya Ploshchad. Participants in both capitals will be connected by a direct video link.

“We are profoundly outraged by the barbarous act of violence whose victims were civilians. Society has been challenged once again. Russian citizens have been victims of terror on more than one occasion. And there is no doubt that such inhuman actions should not go unpunished. Today all of Russian society must unite in the struggle with terrorism,” reads the text on the website of the party’s Moscow branch.

Smolny orders residence checks for children traveling in the metro

The Petersburg administration has amended its decree on “On the Travel Regime of Children and Young People on Municipal Public Transportation.” According to the amendment, ticket inspectors in the metro and ground transport have the right to demand documents from children and accompanying adult verifying the child’s age and place of residence.

Moscow Fans Hit by Mass Arrests on Way to Stadium

Hundreds of football fans were arrested and many reportedly beaten by the OMON special-task police in St. Petersburg on Sunday.

A large group of supporters of Spartak Football Club fans who came to St. Petersburg to see the Moscow football club play against the local team, Zenit Football Club, on the final day of the Russian Premier League season was on its way to Petrovsky stadium on the Petrograd Side when the OMON police started making large-scale arrests. The fans were detained just before the stadium, on the Tuchkov Bridge that connects Vasilyevsky Island to the Petrograd Side.

One Moscow politician protested what he called “illegal mass detentions” in an open letter to President Dmitry Medvedev, while the Russian Football Fans Association (VOB) said it would gather evidence and pass it to the Interior Ministry for investigation.

YouTube video footage shows helmet-wearing camouflaged officers dragging young men and women, many of whom appear to be teenagers, out of the crowd. An officer dragging a young man is shown to knee him in the stomach, while another officer passing by hits the same young man with his baton across the chest. A girl who was carrying a drum is shown lying on the ground with policemen dragging and kicking her.

From 400 to 600 people were detained on the spot, according to various estimates. The police said 400 fans were detained and charged with disorderly conduct and the violation of public events regulations, while 24 more, including seven Zenit fans, were detained inside the stadium during and after the game and charged with disorderly conduct. The police said pepper sprays, brass knuckles, sharpened metal bars and flares were confiscated, Interfax reported.

Anton Orekh: “Our Work Is Dangerous and Harmful”

I believe that it will come to war. Until now it was an occupation, but now there will be war. If you had a look only at certain newspapers and websites for just the past week, you would have found out  the details of [lawyer Sergei] Magnitsky’s death; how three drunken cops beat a guy to death in Moscow; how in Petersburg the cops also killed a passerby and beat up a well-known artist. Also, a cop who got tired of waiting in line at a health clinic just took out his pistol and opened fire!

I didn’t read all the papers from cover to cover. I didn’t study the Internet from end to end or sit in front of the TV or radio following all the news bulletins. All these cases are just the ones that surfaced. How many people suffered from police ugliness only over the past week? And how many have suffered during the previous weeks, months, and years? Only an army occupying enemy territory would behave this way.

But now I expect a war. I don’t known whether it will be a civil war or a guerilla war. What else can you expect after the country’s head policeman gave citizens permission to hit the police? Up until now police officers were absolutely untouchable. They could do whatever they liked. Drunk or sober, acting lawfully or abusing their powers, they always turned out right. Even Yevsyukov’s situation is not so hopeless. You just wait and see: he will get out of prison while still a young man. The essentially bandit-like existence of the police is based precisely on this impunity, on the freedom to do what one wants with someone else’s life. It’s like a joke: here is a pistol, sink or swim. It is terrifying to imagine what will happen if citizens are even given the hypothetical right to give as good as they get.

[…] After Andrei Makarov proposed “liquidating” the Interior Ministry, I was on the air the following morning discussing the [State Duma] deputy’s speech with my colleagues. Listeners sent us SMSes. You cannot imagine what they were like! We couldn’t quote 90% of them [on air]: they were a steady stream of foul language and loathing! Makarov proposed reducing police personnel by half, and we asked [listeners] what to do with the other half. The most tempting proposal was to send them to the Far East to work in casinos. In the main, listeners [proposed giving laid-off police officers] the most dirty and humiliating jobs — as janitors, ditch diggers, and male prostitutes.

Fear and loathing: such are the emotions that the police arouses amongst the vast majority of our fellow citizens. I say “vast” because 96% of our listeners voted on air for the liquidation of the Interior Ministry. People believe that it would be better to have no police than to have the police we have now or a reformed police. That is, the police are a public enemy. How has it come to this, that society’s principal defenders have become its principal enemies?

[…]

We live in a country where the authorities formally have the absolute support of the populace. The country is not threatened with territorial collapse. And yet all the preconditions for a war are present: a war of the people against the police.

Alexander Cherkasov, Memorial:

Kidnappings, torture, murders, concealment of the bodies of kidnap victims: this system has been functioning in Chechnya for almost ten years now. At first, federal security forces engaged in such things. Then the authority to commit unlawful violence was transferred to the local security forces.

According to our data, from three to five thousand people fell victim to this system. Practically no one has been punished for this. There was a single, widely publicized case when a person who was guilty of kidnapping and torture (and, most likely, was also involved in the murder and disappearance of Chechens) was judged for his crimes. This was the so-called Cadet Case, in which Sergei Lapin, a police officer from Nizhnevartovsk, was sentenced to eleven years in prison.

The Cadet Case was made possible by three people: Natasha Estemirova, who worked in Grozny; Anna Politkovskaya, who published articles about it; and Stanislav Markelov, the lawyer who managed the trial in such a way that Lapin was unable to appeal the verdict. All three of them are no longer among the living. Think about it! Against thousands of kidnappings and disappearances (which in fact also involved torture and murders) one or, well, a handful of sentenced criminals. This is a system of organized impunity.

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OMON Arrests Our Comrades in Nizhny Novgorod

IMG_9310This just in from the Institute for Collective Action:

Today (May 9, 2009), Leftist Art. Leftist Philosophy. Leftist History. Leftist Poetry, the first experimental 24-hour “seminar dormitory,” was to take place in Nizhny Novgorod. However, at approximately twelve noon, OMON troops burst into the room where the seminar was supposed to take place and stopped the proceedings. Around thirty people were present at this moment. According to one participant, the OMON officers are behaving in a very aggressive way. They have confiscated identity papers and are now loading detainees onto a bus.

The seminar dormitory was meant to bring together four disciplines and four young practicioners of these disciplines: Nikolai Oleinikov (leftist artist), Alexei Penzin (leftist philosopher), Ilya Budraitskis (leftist historian), and Kirill Medvedev (leftist poet).They planned to hold a series of seminars and lectures on art, history, and philosophy, as well as video and film screenings and poetry readings.

Nikolai and Alexei are members of the Chto Delat work group (Moscow/Petersburg), while Ilya and Kirill are correspondents on our e-mail platform and good friends and comrades. We will keep you informed of new developments in this story as they become know to us. Unfortunately, this is just the latest sign of the total collapse of the “rule of law” in Russia and the ongoing war against social and political activists. Please repost this information as widely as possible in your blogs and e-mail lists.

The telephone of the police precinct where they are being held is (+7) 831-434-02-02. Please call this number to inquire about the health and safety of our comrades. The latest information is that the police have confiscated their mobile phones and preventing them from otherwise sending us on the outside any information. They are being interrogated individually, after which they are allegedly being released one by one.

Even if you cannot speak Russian, please call: it will remind the Nizhny Novgorod police that the whole world is watching, that it is their duty to uphold human and civil rights, which are guaranteed not only by the Russian Federation Constitution, but also by all the relevant European and international treaties and conventions. The Russian Federation is a signatory to these conventions, however much it has made a complete mockery of this fact during the past several years.

IMG_5966UPDATE: We have just received word that all the detainees have been released and the seminar is continuing. We have learned from our sources that the OMON raid took place while the seminar participants were watching a Jean-Luc Godard film. Allegedly, the police had received information that the seminar was a gathering of “extremists,” which is the code word the Russian authorities and their apologists now use for anyone even mildly opposed to their policies or otherwise not wholly compromised by their management of “managed democracy.”

Here is part of the statement we just posted on our Russian-language LiveJournal. A more comprehensive statement will follow in the next day or so.

We categorically protest police abuse. During these May Day and Victory Day holidays the impression has arisen that martial law has been declared in Russia. There are OMON officers posted every two meters on the streets. Some of these policemen break up peaceful demonstrations. Others are intoxicated and speed around the city in their vehicles, thus endangering people’s lives. Still others stop civilians in their tracks at every turn and inform them about non-existent “laws” that supposedly require them to carry their internal passports on their persons at all times. When will this come to an end? Probably not under the current regime, which tolerates police abuse in the name of the police’s loyalty and thus every hour bears witness to its own cynicism and weakness.

The hysteria of the authorities—especially the security forces, which often act in a completely uncontrolled way—is without real foundation. In our peaceful society, which has not yet reacted strongly to the growing economic crisis, the authorities not only break up public demonstrations, but also oppositional intellectual gatherings. They ratchet up tension, which in the end will lead to a destabilization of the regime.

As we know from experience, however, public opinion can influence the situation during such power vacuums. That is why in cases like the dispersal of the anarchist/antifa May Day demonstration in Petersburg or the arrest of seminar participants in Nizhny we need a consolidated public outcry against the actions of the authorities.

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Vlad Tupikin: Who Does the OMON Serve?

Who Does the OMON Serve? (On the Events at 81, Vavilov Street, Moscow)

As Indymedia correspondent anatrrra reports, on the evening of October 8 a meeting of residents was to take place in the courtyard at 81, Vavilov Street. The meeting had barely begun when fifty to sixty OMON soldiers showed up. They dispersed the assembled residents, beating them up and arresting twenty people in the process. All the detainees were taken to the Lomonosovsky police precinct of the South-West Administrative District. (See this and this.)

On the informational billboard depicted here, the house that is slated to be infill-constructed on Vavilov Street looks dignified. What isn’t dignified are the actions of the illegal developers and the authorities who back the interests of capital. (Here is a complete photo reportage from October 5.)

Who Does the OMON Serve?

The first answer that comes to the mind—“The state!”—doesn’t quite fit.

That is, of course, as a whole they serve the state. But after what happened on the evening of October 8, 2008, we can confidently flesh out this answer: they serve capitalists, the fat cats who show a flagrant disregard for both the law and the interests of their fellow citizens. Continue reading

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