Tag Archives: punitive conscription

Update! Leftist Activist Andrei Bitkov Press-Ganged into Russian Army for Supporting Striking Auto Workers in Kaluga

anticapitalist.ru

Andrei Bitkov, who was kidnapped on the morning of May 22, has been sent from the Kaluga military enlistment office to a military unit, said Dmitry Kozhnev, Kaluga coordinator of the Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA/MPRA). The recent harassment of Bitkov and other Russian Socialist Movement (RSD) activists by law enforcement authorities was provoked by their involvement in the trade union struggle; in particular, they supported workers at the Benteler Automotive plant during a strike in March 2011.

According to Kozhnev, Bitkov was kept all day [May 22] at the military assembly point [in Kaluga]. “The draft board wanted to send him for an additional medical examination, but the FSB made a deal with the commander of the conscription center. On the part of the FSB, this was all organized by the very same Andrei who put pressure on Daniil Pyatov [another RSD activist],” Kozhnev said. Bitkov has already been dispatched to Military Unit No. 49345, in the Moscow region town of Shcherbinka.

“The actions of the security services and the military enlistment office are deliberate and blatantly illegal. A court hearing was scheduled f0r May 29 to decide whether Andrei Bitkov could be exempted from enlistment due to health reasons. In fact, Kaluga authorities are taking revenge on a active member of the labor and leftist movements,” said a an RSD spokesperson.

RSD and ITUA activists fear for Bitkov’s health and safety. The military unit where he has been sent is notorious for its cruel treatment of conscripts. In addition, there is every reason to believe that law enforcement agencies will soon carry out other provocations against leftist and trade union activists in Kaluga.

For more information, contact Dmitry Kozhnev, ITUA Kaluga coordinator, at +7 (903) 800-3696.

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Leftist Activist Andrei Bitkov Kidnapped by Authorities in Kaluga

anticapitalist.ru

Kaluga authorities continue to take revenge on leftist activists who helped organize a strike at the Benteler Automotive plant.  Today, May 22, Andrei Bitkov, a member of the Russian Socialist Movement (RSD), was seized on the street by men in plain clothes and forcibly taken to the assembly point of the local military enlistment center, after which contact with him was lost.

The Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA/MPRA) believes that such actions, which blatantly violate the laws of the Russian Federation, are linked to the successful strike carried out by the ITUA at the Benteler Automotive plant in March–April 2012, a strike Bitkov helped organize.

Despite the fact that Bitkov is not eligible for the draft due to health reasons and was planning to appeal the actions of the draft board in court in a hearing scheduled for May 29, the “competent” authorities have not given up their attempts to send the leftist activist to the army. Thus, on May 17, Center for Extremism Prevention (Center “E”) officers descended on the Kaluga offices of the ITUA, where both trade union and RSD members were located at the time. They tried to illegally detain Bitkov, but the workers present prevented them from doing this.  A month earlier, immediately after the strike at Benteler Automotive, Center “E” officers had served Bitkov with a summons to the draft board.

Earlier, on April 18, another RSD activist, Daniil Pyatov, was kidnapped by officers of the security services directly at the university where he is a student. They attempted to threaten him into cooperating with them.

The ITUA and RSD regards these events as forms of political and anti-trade union repression provoked by the growth of worker self-organization in the Kaluga automotive production cluster.

Currently, Andrei Bitkov is presumably located at the draft board assembly point at ul. Michurina, 38a, in Kaluga; tel.: +7 (4842) 54-29-06. His comrades urge all concerned citizens to call this number and demand his immediate release.

For more information, contact Dmitry Kozhnev, ITUA Kaluga coordinator, at +7 (903) 800-3696.

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