Tag Archives: Stanislav Markelov

January 19: Anti-Fascist Marches in Moscow and Petersburg

19jan.ru/english/an-appeal-from-the-january-19-committee-2012

An Appeal from the January 19 Committee

Three years ago, on January 19, 2009, we lost our friends Stanislav (Stas) Markelov and Anastasia (Nastya) Baburova, who were gunned down in broad daylight in downtown Moscow. After many protest actions, marches, rallies, and speeches by activists and ordinary citizens shocked by this violence, Nikita Tikhonov and Yevgenia Khasis, themselves the unfortunate victims of the neo-Nazi narcotic, have been convicted of the murders and sentenced to life and eighteen years in prison, respectively. Events have come full circle and the criminals have been punished, but we continue to remember how sincere lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova were in their anti-fascist convictions. We are aware of their absence on a daily basis, when hundreds of activists, people from various movements and of different ideological hues, require an uncompromising lawyer to defend them and an engaged journalist to cover their cases and their campaigns. So for the third year in a row, on the day when they were murdered, the coldest day of the year, we will take to the streets in an anti-fascist march to remind our fellow citizens and ourselves of the need for each of us to continue our daily struggle with fascism. We must be extremely vigilant in order to recognize fascism in ordinary things: fascism mimics and constantly changes its guises without altering its essence.

There are changes, however, that only a blind man would not notice. Three years ago, the neo-Nazis switched from the indiscriminate slaughter of immigrants to targeted, more “effective” political assassinations: this is how we lost Fyodor Filatov, Ivan Khutorskoi, Stas, and Nastya. After Tikhonov and Khasis were sent to prison, ultra-rightists were on the verge of tucking their tails between their legs, but a year ago, in response to the unlimited callousness and corruption of the courts and the police, we were treated to the monstrous, senseless riot on Manezh Square in Moscow. A year later, in December 2011, during the mass protests against the rigged parliamentary elections, we once again saw extreme right-wingers trying to appear more respectable at meetings of protest organizing committees and on the podium at protest rallies.

They scream that it is time we stopped “feeding” the North Caucasus, although it is not the most federally subsidized region of our country: the problem is caused by the local authorities there, who embezzle all available resources and suppress dissenters. The neo-Nazis stuff immature minds with demagoguery about immigrants, but if their fellow “national-democrats” came to power in Europe and began kicking out ethnically and religiously “inferior” Russia, what would they say? They criticize the regime, but many of them are always willing to serve it for a small fee by breaking up opposition rallies and attacking environmentalist protest camps. It is the neo-Nazis who will support the current regime if it is faced by the real threat of a democratic revolution demanding freedom and equality for all. Along with other opposition forces, they are against anti-extremist laws, but they want to abolish them only in order to insult other ethnic groups with impunity and play them off each other. It is not immigrants and “aliens” who threaten a mythical “indigenous majority,” but rather an ultra-right minority that threatens the majority of people in Russia. The “Russian question” is not the issue, but corruption and an unjust social order that enables some people to suppress, exploit and gag others, regardless of their ethnicity and religion. Nationalism is an obligatory element in this society. The anti-fascist cause is an inherent part of the struggle for genuine democracy, for the right to vote, to speak and be heard for everyone now deprived of this right. Baburova and Markelov proved this with their lives and their deaths.

Please join us on January 19, 2012, at 19:01, on Nikitsky Boulevard, for a rally in memory of Stas and Nastya involving social and civic activists and musicians.

We will never forget, we will not forgive! Russia for everyone willing to work and live honestly!

***

The January 19 Committee is a public anti-fascist initiative involving people from various walks of life – workers and teachers, lawyers and journalists, artists and filmmakers, musicians and sociologists. The January 19 Committee was formed in autumn 2009 in memory of anti-fascist lawyer Stanislav Markelov and anti-fascist journalist Anastasia Baburova, who were murdered in downtown Moscow on January 19, 2009. The January 19 Committee will hold its third annual civic march against neo-Nazi terror on January 19, 2012.

More information:
Telephone: +7 968 836 9877, +7 919 970 0060
Web site: http://19jan.ru
LiveJournal blog: http://january-19th.livejournal.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/393549975496/

_____

City Refuses to Approve Commemorative Rally
By Sergey Chernov
The St. Petersburg Times
January 18, 2012

The city authorities have refused to authorize an annual anti-fascist march and rally in memory of the slain anti-fascists Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova due to be held on Thursday, Jan. 19, allowing only a “picket” on the largely deserted Ploshchad Sakharova on Vasilyevsky Island.

Human rights lawyer Markelov and journalist Baburova were shot dead in downtown Moscow on Jan. 19, 2009, and the date has been marked with vigils and rallies across Russia since then. Other anti-fascists, such as Nikolai Girenko, Timur Kacharava, Ivan Khutorskoi and Alexander Ryukhin, who were also killed by neo-Nazis, are commemorated as well.

Stefania Kulayeva, the program director of Memorial Anti-Discrimination Center, said City Hall refused to issue a permit on purely technical grounds, just as it did last year.

According to the law on public assemblies, applications must be submitted to the authorities from 15 to 10 days before the event, but because of New Year and Christmas celebrations, City Hall was closed from Jan. 1 through Jan. 9.

Kulayeva said she applied on Jan. 10, the first working day of 2012, but received a refusal the following morning on the grounds that the application was too late. Last year, she said she applied on Dec. 31, just before the holidays, and a refusal was issued on the grounds that the submission had been made too early.

She pointed out that the Jan. 19 march in Moscow has been authorized. “We didn’t choose this date, they could have issued a permit, especially if they did not need more than one day to give us a refusal,” she said.

Nevertheless, Kulayeva said the protesters are planning to gather at 6 p.m. near Gorkovskaya metro, the closest station to Ploshchad Sakharova, and walk together to the site for security reasons, as threats against participants have appeared on neo-Nazi web sites. The event, which will feature a slide show, will be held at 7 p.m.

Under Russian law, picketing is defined as a form of stationary public assembly that does not use sound amplifying equipment. Only posters and other forms of visual agitation are allowed.

Kulayeva said that she received multiple phone calls from City Hall officials and police officers Tuesday, who warned her against holding an unauthorized march.

“It appears that the commemoration of human right activists and anti-fascists such as Markelov is highly undesirable for the authorities,” she said.

Markelov, 34, and Baburova, 25, were shot and killed by a masked man in downtown Moscow after they left a press conference at the Independent Press Center.

Despite international outcry over the killings, neither Prime Minister Vladimir Putin nor President Dmitry Medvedev reacted or offered their condolences to the families of the slain activists.

Interfax quoted a Foreign Ministry official who said that the murders were “artificially politicized and used, with dishonest intentions, to discredit Russia.”

In November 2009, Nikita Tikhonov and his partner Yevgeniya Khasis, described as extreme nationalists, were arrested in Moscow and charged with the double murder. The investigators said the FN/Browning M1910 semi-automatic pistol that was used in the double murder was found in their apartment during a search.

In May 2011, Tikhonov was sentenced to life imprisonment, while Khasis as an accomplice was sentenced to 18 years in a penal colony.

According to the January 19 Committee in Moscow, commemorative events for Baburova and Markelov will be held in 20 Russian cities, including Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, Petrozavodsk, Ufa and Omsk, as well as in Ukrainian cities and in Berlin and Paris.

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January 19 Committee: Call for Antifascist Demonstration, January 19, Moscow

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Call for Antifascist Demonstration, January 19, 2011, Moscow

January 19, 2011 will mark the second anniversary of the murders of two antifascists, lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova. They were murdered in Moscow in broad daylight, shot in the head by a gunman.

The murders were brazen and demonstrative. Although from the outset various explanations were given for the murders (as a lawyer, Markelov had handled cases in Chechnya, both against the federal forces who tortured and murdered Chechen civilians, and the Chechen leadership, who are suspected of kidnapping and murdering people; he had also represented journalist Mikhail Beketov, who was nearly beaten to death in autumn 2008, in his court battle with Khimki mayor Vladimir Strelchenko), Stas and Nastya’s comrades in the antifascist movement assumed that neo-Nazis had been involved. For it had been Stanislav Markelov who had pressured law enforcement authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the murder, in the spring of 2006, of the young antifascist Alexander Riukhin. It was thanks to Markelov’s efforts that the authorities were unable to sweep this case under the rug or drop it altogether. It was thanks to his persistence that police investigators not only came up with a list of suspects, but also brought the case to court. Half of the people involved in Alexander’s murder were arrested and convicted for the crime, while the rest were placed on the federal wanted list.

Today, we have almost no doubts that law enforcement authorities have Stas and Nastya’s real murderer in custody, along with his female accomplice. Their court trial should begin soon. These two people are neo-Nazis, and one of them is in fact one of the people who was involved in the fatal attack on Alexander Riukhin but was not found by the authorities after being placed on the wanted list.

The murderers have been apprehended, their trial will soon begin. Does that mean society can breathe a sigh of relief?

No, it does not.

Dozens of less publicized racist murders take place in our country every year. The victims of these murders are Russian citizens of non-Slavic appearance as well as immigrants from former Soviet republics and former Soviet allies. S0viet-era international solidarity (whether fictitious or real) has been replaced by ethnic intolerance, by hatred towards people who are different, who speak a different language, whose eyes are differently shaped, whose hair and skin are a different color.

As a rule, we don’t remember the names of these victims of neo-Nazi terror. Often we don’t even learn their names: the press merely informs us that someone has murdered a citizen of Uzbekistan, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan, an Azerbaijani, an Armenian, an immigrant from Vietnam, a refugee from Afghanistan. We do not see their faces or the faces of their grieving relatives. It as if they pass anonymous into nonexistence, inhabiting our consciousness for the several seconds it takes us to read this terrifying news on our computer screens or in the pages of a newspaper.

But in fact none of the people who have died at the hands of neo-Nazis murderers is nameless. None of these people was born in a test tube, bereft of pain, reason, love, attachments, and hope. All of these people were brought into this world by mothers. Each of them had families and friends, people whom they cared about and who cared about them.

This problem, which was long ignored both by Russian society and the Russian authorities, was raised only by the local ethnic communities of the murder victims and by young antifascists, the same people whom lawyer Stanislav Markelov had befriended and defended, the same people in whose ranks journalist Anastasia Baburova (who herself had immigrated from Simferopol, in the Crimea, to Moscow) had stood.

A year ago, on the eve of the first anniversary of Stas and Nastya’s murders, people who had known them united together in the January 19 Committee to commemorate their lives and deaths in a worthy manner, and say a decisive “no!” to neo-Nazi terror. The members of the committee belong to different parts of the Russian social movement, and they have different views of our country’s present and future. And yet on January 19, 2010, they joined around 1,500 other people in an antifascist demonstration in downtown Moscow, braving minus twenty degree weather and active interference on the part of the Moscow police. The demonstrators included both people who frequently protest against the authorities and people who might not have taken part in public protests since the perestroika era. These people were joined by folks who had never participated in a demonstration before: society had begun to recognize the problem of neo-Nazi terror, and caring people were moved to act whatever their age, social status, profession, sex, and so on. The march was joined by students and pensioners, confident middle-aged professionals and poor people who had lost hope of making it, members of the intelligentsia and young workers, all kinds of different people. What united them was a troubled conscience, an intolerance of neo-Nazi murders, and shame for their country and city, a city in which such medieval monstrosities have nearly become a norm of daily life.

As we see now, a year later, this protest was more than timely. It is possible that it happened too late. In any case, the events of December 11–15 in Moscow and other Russian cities have proven that neo-Nazism has not been cowed. Extreme right-wing ideas have struck a chord with large numbers of young people, and these masses of young people, who were badly educated and poorly brought up during the years of the Yeltsin-Putin stagnation, are willing to engage in violence. The half-forgotten, moth-balled Russian word pogrom was heard again: the crowd on Manezh Square was on the point of starting a genuine pogrom, and the crowd that gathered outside Kiev Station four days later was prepared to engage in fighting, stabbing, beating, and shooting.

During those same days, people also asked where the antifascists had been. Why hadn’t they tried to confront the raging neo-Nazis? There are several possible answers to this question. First, why don’t you try to stand in the way of a crowd like that yourself? Second, try organizing resistance to an aggressive crowd of neo-Nazis, people who think nothing about murdering and beating other people, when you have become the target of a harassment campaign (if not a witch hunt) on the part of the authorities. These were the conditions faced by Russia’s youth antifascist movement during the second half of 2010. Police searches, police dragnets at concerts, arrests, and violent interrogations by police who wanted to force testimony from them: this was what being antifa meant in 2010, not educational work amongst young people, cultural events, publishing literature, and even the martial arts and football tournaments that young antifascists had still been able to organize in 2009.

Sensing that the young antifascists were a rising force, the state has thrown the entire weight of its police apparatus against them. Meanwhile, neo-Nazis have been holding their legally sanctioned Russian Marches, convening round tables and posing for journalists in expensive hotels, and continuing to murder the defenseless – janitors, petty laborers, teenagers. While the state was unleashing its dragnet against the antifa, the neo-Nazis were trying to go respectable, to show the authorities and the business world that they could be a source of “order” during a complicated economic and political situation, that they were capable both of doing the dirty work and putting on a fashion show in well-ironed shirts and ties.

This fashion show crystallized on Manezh Square in early December. Judging by the absence of real measures to find and punish the people who organized that riot, certain high-ranking Kremlin officials found it to their liking.

Given this situation, the January 19 Committee declares the need for all people opposed to Russia’s slide into the abyss of nationalism to unite and organize solidarity actions. We live in a huge country, and we are all different. Our country is divided by contradictions, arguments, and discrepancies, and at the end of the day we aren’t obliged to like each other. But we are united on one point: Nazism, which in the twentieth century brought incalculable suffering to our country and other countries of Europe, Asia, and the Americas, is once again blazing a bloody trail. It is too late to say that it must not rise again. It is already rising again, and now we have to talk about how to stop it.

We call on all honest people, people who value the ideals of freedom and justice and just plain normal life in our country, people of different nationalities, religious confessions, convictions, and guiding principles, to join us in an antifascist demonstration in Moscow and other Russian cities.

This will not simply be a memorial action to remember the dead – Stas Markelov, Nastya Baburova, and many, many others. January 19, 2011 must become a day of determination, a day of protest, a day of struggle against the fascist threat in Russia.

Demonstrators in Moscow will gather at 7:00 p.m. on January 19, 2011, at the Timiryazev Monument (near the Nikitsky Gates at the beginning of Tverskaya Boulevard). We will have more information about the route of the demonstration and slogans in the coming days. Check for updates at the January 19 Committee web site:  http://19jan.ru.

Stop neo-Nazi terror! Save Russia from the ultra right-wing threat!

As long as we’re united we can never be defeated!

—The  January 19 Committee

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January 19 Anti-Fascist Demo in Moscow: Eyewitness

Here are six eyewitness accounts of the January 19 demonstration against neo-Nazi terror in Moscow. We gratefully borrow here a few of the excellent photos taken at the event by keltea and mnog.

keltea.livejournal.com/862844.html

SOVA Center

First and most importantly, despite organizational problems and the freezing weather, this action was the most massive non-political antifascist event since 2005.

Second, the authorities achieved an acceptable compromise with the organizers (given the current practice of bans), but the actions of the police at the event provoked disorders. Those police apparently did not have orders to resort to harsh measures, however, and so the clashes did not escalate into an attempt to disperse the demonstration.

Oleg Orlov (chair, Memorial)

But at the end of Petrovsky Boulevard, at Trubnaya Square, fresh police cordons stopped the demonstrators. Here stood OMON units. Again the police called over megaphones for people to fold up their banners. Young people chanted something in reply. But there were no attempts to break through the cordon. More than that, I saw people began to fold up their banners. It was at this moment that the OMON special units drove a wedge into the crowd. They pushed people onto the ground, beat them, dragged them and detained them. And they didn’t just detain those who were holding placards or chanting something. In this way Sergei Krivenko and Alik Mnatsakanyan were detained. They tried to seize Misha Mazo, a member of Memorial who was standing next to me – possibly just for holding a portrait of one of those murdered in his hands.

In total 23 or 24 people were detained and taken to Moscow’s Tverskaya district police station. It’s possible there were other detainees (there were accounts that some had been taken to Basmanny district police station, but the accuracy of these reports is uncertain).

In my view there was no need for actions of this kind by the police. If one group of demonstrators did indeed conduct a small march without official sanction, it was exclusively along the Boulevard and in doing this they caused no interference to anyone. They were blocked in, and had no possibility to enter Trubnaya Square. No attempts were made to break out. And what’s most important, the participants began to fold up their banners and so on. Moreover, it may be that the police officers in charge viewed the actions the police were taking as a form of punishment of the demonstrators, which is absolutely against the law.

Svetlana Gannushkina (Civic Assistance; Memorial)

When they finally set foot on the boulevards, the demonstrators rushed to catch up with those who had left [the site of the first picket] ahead of them. But that was not going to happen: in the middle of the boulevard they were met by a column of gallant lads in uniform and wielding sticks, who blocked the path for each new group and “delayed” it for a time. When I found myself face to face with a policeman I asked:

“What, you’re not letting us through?”

“We’re letting people through in groups,” he explained.

The sense of his words became clear to me when I heard someone rudely shout into a megaphone:

“Let’s fold up the banners! Let’s get back on the sidewalk!”

Since the police didn’t have banners, I realized that this first-person plural command was addressed to participants of the picket. This entire absurd action, in which several hundred police officials took part, was organized so that the event wouldn’t look like a march.

[…]

What happened? Why did the police have to incite a riot? Who gave the order to break up this commemoration and turn it into bedlam?

The protesters chanted, “Fascism shall not pass!” Is this really true?  I am left with a bitter feeling in my heart.

Nikolay Oleynikov (artist, Chto Delat workgroup)

I have to record what I saw before it’s forgotten. It made a vivid impression on me because I was standing directly nearby when the incident happened. Now I’ve had a look at media accounts, and there are mistakes and inaccuracies in nearly all of them.

The incident I have in mind is the stupid provocation undertaken by two policemen. They were between thirty and forty and wearing epaulettes. I’m not sure since I didn’t get a close look, but I think they had the rank of major or something like that. That is, they weren’t rookies, but they were completely brainless. What fools they made of themselves!

The members of the [January 19 Committee] were standing under the monument to Griboyedov. One of them, whom I know personally, gave a short introduction. He said something to the effect that we were going to show a video, but at the last minute we got turned down on that request. Now the members of the committee will read aloud a brief proclamation. After this there will be a minute of silence, and then committee members will hand out candles and you can place them at the foot of the monument. Then the demonstration will be over. Thank you for coming out in such numbers.

That was all he said.

The next speaker pulled out the text of the proclamation and began reading it. This is when those two courageous provocateurs showed up and surrounded this guy who was reading the text. One of them then ripped the text from his hands. This committee member managed to say [into the megaphone], “A policeman has just ripped the text of the proclamation from my hands.” Right after this the second policeman then violently snatched the megaphone from the committee member, and both policemen grabbed him and, I think, tore the coat he was wearing. When they heard the words about the text being ripped from the speaker’s hands, people standing there really snapped. They got the speaker out of the clutches of the police and continued to advance on them. The provocateurs backed off. Then they tore down the fence at the back of the picket site and moved onto Chistoprudnyi Boulevard. This is where the crossfire began: activists threw snowballs, while the cops fired warning shots into the air.

That is what happened.

But there really were tons of decent folks at the action. It seemed like everyone there was one of our people, that we had all come together in the same place at the same time, and in minus twenty weather! It was all good.

Gazeta.Ru

At the twenty-minute mark of the march, when the first column had succeeded in descending the hill to Trubnaya Square, someone on the sidewalk threw smoke grenades at the activists. Smoke shrouded the streets and the activists. And so, their faces wrapped in scarves to shield them from the minus twenty temperatures and police video cameras, the 15- to 20-year-old antifascists made their way to Chistye Prudy. Here the organizers had planned to show a four-minute video clip featuring one of Markelov’s last speeches, but a few hours before the march the police had forbidden them to show the video. The activists held up photographs of the murdered lawyer and journalist, posters, and antifascist banners. Amongst the crowd Yabloko party leader Sergei Mitrokhin, former party leader Grigory Yavlinsky, Left Front coordinator Sergei Udaltsov, and Solidarity executive director Denis Bilunov gave interviews to the press. Chief Russian human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin also came to the demonstration.

An activist who had concealed half his face beneath a scarf began the demonstration. “Stanislav Markelov took on hopeless cases his whole life. In the courts he represented the relatives of murdered antifascists, the relatives of ordinary Chechens kidnapped and murdered by federal troops. He defended people who had been beaten by the police. He defended leftist activists tried for political offenses. In short, he was not merely a lawyer, but also a civil rights activist.”

“Nastya chose journalism as a field of close social contact with people, as field where one could actively intervene in the life of the society, and that is why she entered Moscow State University. During the last year and a half of her life you could find her at [protests] at illegal construction sites and evictions, at ‘wild,’ unsanctioned demonstrations, at all the local trouble spots in Moscow. There is also nothing surprising about the fact that she took up the topic of Nazi violence.”

The antifascist’s speech could be heard only in the front rows of the crowd — the authorities had also forbidden the organizers to use an amplifier and speakers.

The member of the oppositional January 19 Committee, which organized the action, continued to list the merits of the lawyer and journalist who perished a year ago, when suddenly an arm appeared from out of the crowd and ripped the text of his speech from his hands. The activist managed to get out, “Police officers have just confiscated…,” before someone grabbed his megaphone.

The demonstrators began chanting, “Shame! Shame!” In response the police began pushing them back from the boulevard, and men in grey coats [i.e., the police] began grabbing for the speaker. That is when the demonstrators joined arms to form compact ranks and advanced on the police.

Thus began a massive fight with the police in downtown Moscow.

First the antifa and their supporters fought off the police from dragging the activist who had been leading the demonstration only a few minutes before into a police van. After throwing the metal barriers and pushing police back, the column of antifascists set off down Chistoprudnyi Boulevard. Several hundred antifascists marched ahead, their comrades pushing them forward from behind, and the police had no choice but to give way. After the column had advanced several dozen meters, the police officers got their bearings, and helmeted and baton-wielding OMON troops charged in to rescue their confused colleagues. Special weapons were brought into play: the antifascists who had become cut off from the main column choked on pepper spray that was sprayed on them either by police officers or by unknown provocateurs. (According to Lev Ponomarev, head of the movement For Human Rights, four people were detained with pepper spray canisters.)

The police began detaining the antifascists. They were pushed to the ground, dragged face down through the snow, and tossed over the barriers. Twenty-four people were detained on Chistoprudnyi Boulevard. The antifascists managed to free several comrades on their own. Another portion of the detainees were freed in exchange for a promise made the civil rights activists. Lev Ponomarev gave his word to General Vyacheslav Kozlov, deputy head of the Moscow police force, that the antifa would disperse if their comrades were released. The promise was fulfilled, and the general also kept his word: the detainees were released from the police vans and buses. The remaining detainees (thirty to forty people, according to various sources) were released later in the evening.

Ilya B. (Vpered Socialist Movement)

What happened on January 19 in Moscow is really quite important, and not only because this was probably the largest mass street action in recent years. And not only because a new culture of street politics, a culture of resistance, was born before our very eyes and with our participation. On January 19, Russian Nazis suffered a real defeat. Of course, this was not a final or decisive defeat, but it was the first serious, palpable defeat for them. This was primarily a moral defeat. Their claims to street hegemony were countered in a genuine way for the first time. Their Sieg-Heiling marches, terror, and provocations were opposed by a mass force, a force that declared its existence at the top of its lungs on January 19. And it was and is only for the sake for this supremely important political goal that it is worth making any tactical compromises and forming the broadest coalitions. Despite the absence of political symbols and slogans [as agreed on by the organizers], the spirit of the demonstration was unambiguously leftist, anti-capitalist, and anti-systemic. I think this was obvious to all who participated in the demonstration.

One other important intermediate result was the obvious tactical defeat suffered by the police, yet another testimony to the growing crisis of the entire modern Russian law enforcement system. The police’s stupid provocations, uncoordinated actions, and the ineffectiveness and absurdity of their constant attempts to interfere with the demonstration revealed their dumb anger and fear (which in this particular situation was almost groundless), but not their will to break up the demonstration in an organized way.

In Germany, for example, the police are a thousand times more effective against demonstrators. Their main idea is to divide protesters — to isolate those more inclined to violence, while showing courtesy and respect to everyone else’s right to protest as circumscribed by the law. In Russia (and January 19 was a vivid illustration of this), the police act in a directly opposite manner: they anger, radicalize, and incite to resistance those who come to protests in a peaceable frame of mind. All this is not a matter of one-off miscalculations or a lack of professionalism [on the part of the police], but evidence of the ever-deepening demotivation of the system. But it is another (large and complicated) question, what positive aspects there are to this process and what dangers it holds in store for us.

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The Museum of Political History of Which No One Speaks (In Memory of Stas and Nastya)

The Museum of Political History of Which No One Speaks

On January 19, we opened a street-art exhibition on the outer wall of the State Museum of Political History (the former Kschenssinska mansion) in Saint Petersburg. The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of our friends the civil rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and the journalist Anastasia Baburova.

We didn’t pick this spot by accident. Official sources have made it a habit of not talking about the key moments in the real political history of recent years. It is precisely this history that is silenced nowadays: the history of the formation of an authoritarian state with a fictitious constitution; the history of the leveling of fundamental democratic freedoms; and, of course, the history of continuous political murders.

A text on the façade of the museum explains that its mission includes the formation of political culture in contemporary Russia. It is impossible to say what this means when people in Russia have practically no way to hold public demonstrations (that is, of course, if they are not members of the officially recognized ruling party) and are deprived of freedom of speech because of the state’s total control of the mass media and increasing censorship of the Internet. The state endlessly spouts aggressively militarist and Russian Orthodox/great power rhetoric, and certain of its elected and appointed officials lend support to neo-Nazi organizations. (We should at very least recall here the cooperation between the pro-government organization Young Russia and the neo-fascist organization Russky Obraz.) And these neo-Nazis then murder and maim people on our streets almost daily.

Exactly a year ago, the well-known lawyer Stanislav Markelov and the anarchist journalist Anastasia Baburova were murdered in downtown Moscow. During the past year the authorities have allegedly succeeded in identifying the criminals who did this, leaving it for us to decide the bigger question of who besides them would profit from the murder of a lawyer who exposed the criminal policies of the state in Chechnya and defended political activists and antifascists.

Traditional political actions no longer attract people today. That is why we chose the form of political protest that, in our view, is the most effective and original — street art.

On a huge (seventeen-meter-long) print poster we have depicted the most inglorious moments and the most significant personalities in the political history of recent years: Russian army colonel Yuri Budanov, a convicted murderer and rapist; the neo-fascist philosopher and state ideologue Alexander Dugin; police major Denis Yevsyukov, who gunned down several shoppers at a Moscow supermarket last year; antifascist Alexei Olesinov, who was convicted and sentenced to prison on false charges; lawyer Stanislav Markelov, who represented the family of the victim in the Budanov case and defended Olesinov and other political activists; and the journalist Anastasia Baburova.

We dedicate our action to Stas Markelov and Nastya Baburova because we believe that their lives and their deaths are important parts of contemporary Russian political history.

— Autonomous Action-Petersburg & the Anarchist Artists of Petersburg

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January 19 Committee: Neo-Nazi Terrorism in Russia Today

 The January 19 Committee calls on everyone who cares to distribute this text as widely as possible.

Nazi terrorism. This is exactly how we should call the problem facing our society today, a problem no less acute than the fundamentalist terrorist underground in the North Caucasus. For many people, ultra-rightist terrorism is a relatively unfamiliar, new and to a great extent incomprehensible phenomenon. That is why bureaucrats, politicians, the media, the siloviki, and the expert community in the majority of instances prefer to ignore the real problem, presenting it instead as a series of isolated, unrelated excesses.

Telling in this respect is the bombing of the Nevsky Express train late last year. The Nazi group Combat 18 Nevograd first claimed responsibility for this terrorist act, followed a few days later by Dokku Umarov’s guerrillas. The media immediately began discussing the likelihood of neo-Nazi involvement. Many journalists, members of the security services, “experts,” and politicians demonstrated their total lack of command of the situation. A stereotype still exists in our society: contemporary Nazis are embittered teenagers in heavy boots who gather in mobs to beat up people who they think look the “wrong way.” Of course they can kill someone in a pack, but terrorism is a serious matter. Following the politicians on the right end of the spectrum, many are inclined to go even further: Those guys are not Nazis at all, they’re nationalists. Sure, they sometimes do stupid things, but in their hearts they’re patriots. You shouldn’t defame them. As it turns out, such notions, very much in the spirit of the 90s, are still extant amongst the populace. For the majority of average citizens, Nazis in Russia are a bit of disgraceful exotica.

For those who monitor the situation attentively, however, it is obvious that over the past few years the neo-Nazis have made the qualitative shift from street violence to the tactics of terrorist groups supported by a well-developed infrastructure of extreme rightists. It suffices to analyze ultra-rightist Internet resources and the statistics of nearly daily crimes to understand the scale and nature of the problem.

One of the most notorious events of 2009 was the murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova. Two neo-Nazis have been charged with these crimes, and investigators had every reason to do this. Not everyone who was party to this crime has been apprehended, however, and the Tikhonov-Khasis gang is not the only one of its kind. On June 28, 2009, antifascist Ilya Dzhaparidze, who had promoted anti-racism among football supporters, was murdered near the entrance to his own building. On November 16, 2009, Ivan Khutorskoi, a leader and founder of the street-level antifascist movement in Moscow, was shot and killed in the entryway of his own home. This was the second attempt to murder Ivan there; the first such attack took place in 2005. On the morning of October 10, 2008, antifascist Fyodor Filatov, a friend of Ivan Khutorskoi, was killed as he left his home.

When we talk about attempts on the lives of antifascists, we should remember a series of attempted bombings. On December 22, 2006, a homemade bomb went off in the entryway of a residential building in the southwestern Moscow suburb of Lyublino; several police officers who were attempting to defuse the bomb were seriously injured. The device was attached to a radiator near the door of an antifascist’s apartment, and a swastika had been drawn on the wall near the bomb. On October 13, 2007, three neo-Nazis attempted to set off an explosive device containing the equivalent of 200 grams of TNT and packed with bolts and bits of glass at the Roks Club in Petersburg, where an antifascist concert headlined by a Swedish band was taking place. No one was injured thanks to the swift actions of security guards.

Another widespread misconception is the notion that the only people who are in danger are those in the so-called risk groups: people of non-Slavic appearance, active antifascists or members of subcultures. This is not the case. In recent years, “random” people have more and more often been the victims of Nazi terrorism.

On January 16, 2009, an attempt was made to blow up the McDonald’s on Zelenodolskaya Street, near the Kuzminki metro station. Black smoke began to issue from a bag left behind by one of the customers, and then a loud bang was heard. FSB bomb technicians who arrived on the scene discovered that the bag contained an explosive device that for reasons unknown did not go off. Members of the neo-Nazi group NS/WP turned out to have organized the unsuccessful blast. This same gang was responsible for blowing up spur tracks near the Tsaritsyno station on October 5, 2008, and the main tracks of the Paveletskaya line near the Bulatnikovo station on November 4, 2008, as well as the explosion at the Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra Church in the Biryulevo-Zapadnoe district on November 30, 2008. The members of this gang who were arrested had committed almost two dozen attacks on passersby, people they regarded as non-Russians. All these crimes took place between November 2008 and January 2009. For example, on January 1, 2009, the gang murdered an Uzbek and a Dagestani on Biryulevskaya Street. On December 6, 2008, these same criminals attacked an ethnic Russian whom they mistook for a priest because of his thick beard. One of the leaders of the gang was 17-year-old Muscovite Yevgenia Zhikhareva, a student at the Water Transport Academy who personally participated in the murders. The terrorists were aided by 29-year-old Pyotr Bashelutskov, who worked in Moscow as a departmental head in the Russian Federation Ministry of Tourism, Sports, and Youth Policy. Investigators suspect that this government official provided the fugitives with money and fake passports.

The ideology of the NS/WP is expressed in texts on their own website:

It is time to change our psychology, to throw out all the shit of small-minded nationalism. Our cause is not nationalism, much less patriotism. Russia for Russians, yeah? But the Russians are a nation of enslaved people, degenerate Slavs. Russians are merely a nation, moreover a nation of unter-Slavs. This has to be understood. Russia was first a country of Russian Christians (which is a verdict in and of itself), and then the state of the Yids. Russia must be destroyed!

Another telling example of the psychology of the ultra-rightists is the text “Cultivate Your Inner Executioner!”:

If you see a white traitor or a white whore walking with their colored lovers, imagine how the white race is degenerated by mixing with inferior beings. Imagine the suffering of Russian children who grow up in poverty because the authorities give the best piece of the pie to non-Russians. If you see a pregnant colored or white whore, imagine yourself cutting the future Untermensch from her belly and train yourself to see this as an act of courage.

If your relatives condemn your views, imagine how you will execute them with your own hands once we come to power. Remember that they might become accomplices of forces inimical to the Russian people if you don’t stop them. Get used to the thought that the deaths of your antifascist relatives will be your noble sacrifice to God and Nation. A genuine National Socialist is someone who, even when forced to choose between his nation and his mother, will chose his nation.

When you see or read that some “distinguished cultural, scientific or artistic figure” condemns nationalism, racism and national socialism, remember that thanks to such “authoritative” figures, who brainwash the Russian people, our nation is still enslaved by non-Russians. Get used to the thought that we will have force them to serve the cause of national socialism or destroy them.

We should mention several other characteristic instances of ultra-rightist terrorism in 2009. Major terrorist strikes were planned for Moscow and Izhevsk on the eve of Victory Day, May 9. In Lyublino, a teenager who held ultra-rightist views was arrested for plotting to detonate in a crowded place an eight-kilo explosive that he had fashioned himself — according to the security services, his target was the chapel on Poklonnaya Gora. A 20-year-old neo-Nazi from Izhevsk planned to blow up himself and those around him with a one-kilo explosive device packed with shrapnel. In preparation for this act, he conducted a test explosion on May 2 in a forested area. The terrorist planned to blow himself up on Victory Day right in the middle of a column of marchers.

If we speak of the motives of these lowlifes, then an incident that occurred on May 9, 2009, in Tambov speaks for itself. There a young neo-Nazi was arrested after he attempted to tear war medals from the jackets of veterans.

One example of the well-developed terrorist networks that formed in 2007–2009 is the NSO (the National-Socialist Society). Thus, the video that they posted on the Web on August 12, 2007, which showed the beheading of two migrants against the background of a swastika-emblazoned flag, turned out be real, although many journalists and “experts” had been quick to pronounce it a montage.

The identities of the murdered men were established, and later suspects were arrested. The murderers were members of the NSO Obninsk cell. No less resonant was the posting of another video on the Komsomolskaya Pravda website on May 5, 2009. In this video, neo-Nazis from the NSO-North cell are shown beheading one of their accomplices, whom they suspected of treason. These neo-Nazis committed more than two dozen murders and a series of robberies, and they had planned to blow up a hydroelectric plant in Moscow Region. In the case brought against the NSO, more than two dozen neo-Nazis belonging to terrorist cells were arrested. The leaders of the NSO had links with State Duma deputies (with Nikolai Kuryanovich, in particular), and with a number of commercial organizations and neo-Nazis in Europe and the US. Such international ties are not at all unique in the neo-Nazi world. For example, a branch of the international terrorist organization Blood and Honour operates in Russia.

The Nazi terrorists mentioned above are only the tip of the iceberg. There now exists a tendency in the neo-Nazi milieu to heroize the most odious gangs of neo-Nazis. Such terrorists as Nikolai Korolev and the SPAS gang, who were responsible for the blast at the Cherkizovsky Market, or the Borovikov-Voevodin gang, who murdered the ethnographer Nikolai Girenko, sold drugs, and committed a number of other murders and crimes (including the murders of two of their own wayward comrades-in-arms), are now objects of adoration amongst ultra-rightists.

New groups of lowlifes are emulating these “heroes.” Extreme right-wing websites are distributing Voevodin’s book, allegedly written in the Crosses Prison (Petersburg), as a cult classic. The book is an artistic rendering of a hypothetical plan of action for a neo-Nazi terrorist group. As targets for attacks, Voevodin lists Orthodox priests and parishioners, members of the police and the FSB, trains, antifascists, celebrations for WWII veterans, and Jewish kindergartens. He proposes that migrants and homeless people be murdered as a way of “training” for “serious missions.” Voevodin explains that the goal of this terror is to spread fear and destabilize the country as a whole, thus easing the ultra-rightists’ seizure of power. He also suggests that the Nazis borrow the methods of the guerrillas in the North Caucasus. Yes, you heard it right: this sort of borrowing and even imitation is discussed on ultra-rightist websites and forums. Whereas Russian neo-Nazis had once taken their cues from ultra-rightists in Europe and the US, today they find their examples in the history of the dozens of terrorist groups that functioned in our country during the nineties and in this decade. What is more, neo-Nazis and racists in the west, who have been practically driven into total isolation, observe with unconcealed joy the expansion of the terrorist network in Russia: the members of all the groups that have been neutralized had been in one or another form of contact with members of other gangs and other such legal, semi-legal, and illegal networks.

In 2009, 75 people were killed and at least 284 people were injured as the result of racist and neo-Nazi violence in Russia. Over the past three years, no fewer than 277 people have been killed and 995 injured at the hands of ultra-rightists. In 2009, 319 people were convicted of crimes involving racial and ethnic hatred. This is two times more than in the previous two years.

And yet the crimes of the neo-Nazis continue. They have their own infrastructure, sources of financing, links to state officials, and security services officers who are loyal to them; and they continue to actively promote their cause amongst young people. The facts speak for themselves. All the known terrorists were educated and trained by the Slavic Union, Russky Obraz, and hundreds of other formal and informal organizations, which have supported them legally and financially after their arrests. All the murderers and terrorists were raised on the music of such neo-Nazi bands as Kolovrat, which performed in public in downtown Moscow on November 4, 2009. The absolute majority of organizations for “legal nationalists” are in fact accomplices of flagrant neo-Nazism and terrorism.

The most important problem is the absence in our society of an adequate assessment of the threat posed by neo-Nazis and extreme rightists, and, as a consequence, the absence of systematic measures for countering terrorism. Repressive methods are powerless to tackle complex phenomena of this sort: the Nazi milieu, which has been actively growing in recent years, is capable of successfully reproducing itself. In order to really combat the ultra-rightist underground we need to destroy this movement’s well-developed infrastructure, in particular that part of it where a convergence between Nazi terrorists and state officials (bureaucrats, deputies, security services officers, police officers) is taking place. Indifference to all problems has become the norm in our society. But this is precisely the situation in which such indifference is really dangerous. Our society is sick. It is sick with alcoholism, drug addiction, crime, and corruption. Nazi terrorism is another such illness. We have to recognize it and combat it, not pretend that the problem doesn’t exist. This is a situation in which the reaction of each person is extremely vital.

Here is information about the crimes of ultra-rightists and legal actions taken against them in December 2009:

—The January 19 Committee (http://19jan.ru/)


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Manifesto of the January 19 Committee

http://jan-19.livejournal.com/884.html

MANIFESTO OF THE JANUARY 19 COMMITTEE

On January 19, 2010, a year to the day from the murders of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova, we, the organizers of an antifascist march, call on you to join our campaign against neo-Nazi terrorism.

The word fascism has been utterly devalued today. It is hard to find a political movement that avoids branding its opponents as “fascists.” But there are also meaningful interpretations of this term. Many of them have a direct bearing on what is taking place in contemporary Russia.

For some people, fascism is the extreme intolerance intrinsic to authoritarian societies. For others, it is an ideology of exploitation and coercion. For still others, it means the use by the authorities of covert paramilitary units for the suppression of democratic movements. Finally, for some, fascism is a force that murders good people, people like the lawyer Stanislav Markelov and the journalist Nastya Baburova, the young antifascists Fyodor Filatov and Ivan Khutorskoi, the ethnologist Nikolai Girenko, the chess player Sergei Nikolaev from Yakutia, the programmer Bair Sambuev from Buryatia, and hundreds of others. People who define fascism in this way do not divide their enemies into Russians and non-Russians, grown-ups and children, priests and punk rock fans, young activists and defenseless janitors from Central Asia.

It is not a matter of definitions, however. All the murderers come from one and the same environment.

They can be defeated only through a combined effort, only by overcoming the barriers that separate political activists from each other and from people who do not trust politicians and are not involved in the political process. For this purpose we are organizing an antifascist initiative that will unite people of various political persuasions with all those who consider themselves apolitical but who are convinced that the rise of fascism in Russia demands a clear response from society.

The neo-Nazis have changed. They now not only attack marketplaces, they also blow them up – along with railroad tracks, concert halls, churches, cafes, and the entryways of the buildings where their political opponents live. The fascists now not only beat up people on the streets, they also murder them. Neo-Nazi terrorism has become a reality.

If this goes on much longer, Russia will turn into a country wracked by ethnic cleansing and inter-ethnic war. We appeal to everyone who would rather not wait to see this happen. Act now: take a public stance using whatever means you have at your disposal.

We also call on well-known and respected people – scholars, artists, writers, and intellectuals – to support our cause with their good names. We believe that the struggle against the neo-Nazi scourge in Russia must be raised to a new level. It has to become a mass campaign of solidarity that reaches beyond youth subcultures and activist groups. The understandable aversion people feel to politics should not prevent them from recognizing the threat posed by neo-Nazism.

We believe that we have three main tasks today. First, we need to deprive neo-Nazis and racists of the explicit and implicit support they receive from bureaucrats and establishment politicians. Second, we have to drive members of ultra-rightist organizations out of mainstream politics. Third, we must put an end to the practice of using radical right-wing gangs to intimidate and murder social and political activists.

We call on people in various cities and countries to take to the streets on January 19, 2010, and show their solidarity with our cause.

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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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