Tag Archives: Stanislav Markelov

Antifa and Leftist Activist Ivan Khutorskoi Murdered in Moscow

www.ikd.ru/node/11658

Yesterday evening at around 9:00 p.m., 26-year-old Ivan Khutorskoi was shot and killed in the stairwell of his apartment building (Khabarovskaya, 2) in Moscow. While the greater public might not know his name, this is a truly enormous loss for many Russian antifascists and leftist activists. Ivan held leftist views and periodically participated in various social protest actions. First and foremost, however, he was known as one of the informal leaders of the Moscow antifascist movement. It is obvious to most of Ivan’s friends that Russian Nazis committed the murder.

Like the addresses and names of many other well-known antifascists (for example, Stanislav Markelov and Nikolai Girenko), Ivan’s address and name were frequently posted on pro-Nazi sites alongside calls for his liquidation. And in fact the murder was the fourth in a series of attacks on Ivan. The first attack took place in 2005, when Nazis attacked him and wounded him in the head with a razor blade. This incident was captured on video and then later used in the program “Ordinary Antifascism,” on NTV.  The second time, the radical right-wingers were waiting for him in the stairwell of his building. Although Ivan received multiple wounds in the neck area from a screwdriver and numerous blows from a baseball bat, he miraculously survived. In January of this year, Ivan was stabbed in the stomach with a knife during a street fight, and once again Ivan barely survived the attack. But now, it would seem, the Nazis have succeeded in achieving their goal the fourth time round. 

Recently, Ivan has been involved in providing security at concerts of antifascist groups, and he was also an organizer of martial arts tournaments for antifascists. His friends will remember him as an extremely kind, life-affirming individual for whom the notions of friendship, freedom, and solidarity were never mere talk.

At present, a police investigative squad is at the scene establishing the circumstances of the crime. Meanwhile, information about the murder has already appeared on Nazi websites.

This is the sixth murder of an antifascist in Moscow in the past few years. In April 2006, 19-year-old Alexander Ryukhin died from multiple stab wounds before a hardcore concert in the neighborhood of the Domodedovskaya metro station. This murder was solved. Three of the assailants, activists from various ultra-rightist organizations, were sentenced to between four and a half and six and half years in prison. Two other assailants are still wanted by the police, while a sixth, Nikita Tikhonov, was arrested on November 4 on suspicion that he murdered lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, who were also involved in the antifascist movement. In March 2008, another young antifascist, Alexei Krylov, died from stab wounds. Approximately twenty neo-Nazis attacked a group of young people near Maroseika, 6. Alexei received thirty-four knife wounds and died on the spot. In October 2008, Fyodor Filatov, a leader of the antifa skinheads, was murdered near the entrance to his building. On June 28, 2009, a group of Nazis murdered antifascist Ilya Dzhaparidze. His assailants used knives and air pistols. Dzhaparidze was taken to hospital, where he died from multiple injuries.

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“In This Building They Decide Who Lives and For How Long”

1Honoring the memory of the murdered lawyer Stanislav Markelov and the journalist and anarchist Anastasia Baburova has very quickly become a matter of low-scale partisan warfare in Russia. The police have been quick to interfere with or altogether stamp out spontaneous (i.e., “unsanctioned”) collective expressions of grief and outrage. First, there was the antifa/anarchist march through downtown Moscow, where dozens were detained even before the procession could get under way. The following day (January 21), in Petersburg, mourners initially faced a police blockade; they were finally allowed to march to the Field of Mars only after they agreed to hide their memorial photos and candles. In Krasnodar on February 2—a day of international solidarity against the wave of terror unleashed Russian activists that saw rallies and memorials from Moscow to Paris and Rome—the police ordered activists to turn off a boom box that was playing a recording of Markelov’s speech at a November 30 rally against political terror in Moscow. 

Yesterday (February 8), after having been turned down by Moscow authorities when they applied for a permit, a group of about twenty or so human rights activists marched from the Garden Ring to the site of the murders on Prechistenka. As reported by Legal Team member Nikolai Zboroshenko on his LiveJournal, seven marchers were detained by police two hours after the event. The police intended to charge them with “disobeying the lawful demands of police officials.” Unfortunately, the police (in this case) picked the wrong group of people to mess with: the Legal Team, it is safe to say, knows the Russian criminal and civil codes better than the police themselves. After a few hours in custody, the marchers were released and a police official even issued an apology for the incident.

Meanwhile, in Petersburg, a group of anarchists carried out a lightning-strike action against the city’s most prominent symbol of state terror—the so-called Big House (local FSB headquarters), on Liteiny Prospect. They affixed a memorial plaque bearing the inscription “In This Building They Decide Who Lives and For How Long” to the façade of the building, and laid a memorial wreath and flowers under the plaque. As one of them wrote in his LiveJournal:

The FSB continues the traditions of the KGB-OGPU-NKVD. Why is there no plaque in memory of the victims of political repression during the Soviet period, in memory of the victims of the Great Terror of 1937–1938, on even one building of the former KGB? Why are part of the archives of the punitive organs still closed? The authorities declare [their adherence to] democracy and freedom, but in fact they continue the traditions of terror.

Yevgeny Vyshenkov, deputy director of the Agency for Investigative Journalism (AZhUR), the Petersburg media holding company that publishes the popular Fontanka.Ru website, was detained for nearly an hour after he noticed the memorial plaque and crossed the street to take pictures of it. The traffic police officers who detained him explained that closed circuit video recordings of the building would have to be checked to verify that he wasn’t in fact the person behind the action.

More photos can be found here.

 

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Reporters Without Borders: Markelov/Baburova Murder May Be Linked to Attack on Beketov

Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) goes to Russia to attend the Markelov funeral and gather facts surrounding the murders of Markelov and Anastasia Baburova:

Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor

We should add one slight correction to RSF’s fact-finding report. Yevgenia Chirikova, a comrade of Mikhail Beketov in the Movement to Defend the Khimki Forest, will now apparently be allowed to run in the Khimki mayoral elections, scheduled for March 1. The Moscow Region Electoral Commission has reversed an earlier decision by the municipal electoral commission, which refused to register her candidacy.

Meanwhile, the rest of Russian officialdom continues its retreat into a parallel reality that bears little resemblance to the world most everyone else inhabits:

Russian Federation Interior Ministry: In Russia, journalists are most often killed as a result of domestic conflicts

The Russian Interior Ministry has identified the cause of most murders of Russian journalists. As quoted by ITAR-TASS, according to Valery Gribankin, head of the ministry’s public relations department, mass media employees are mainly killed during domestic conflicts. According to Gribankin, the number of attacks connected to the publications and investigations of journalists is not great. “When mass media correspondents become the victims of criminals, their journalist colleagues rush to conclusions and they push to the foreground as the principal theory [of why these crimes were committed] the professional activities of the victims,” the Interior Ministry spokesman underscored.

In fact, as reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists, during the period 1992–2008, 49 journalists were killed in Russia as a result of or in the course of their duties. This earned the country third place in the CPJ rankings. During this same period, only Iraq (136 killed) and Algeria (60 killed) were more dangerous places for journalists to work.

So why this odd official Russian disavowal of the problem, hot on the heels of the Markelov/Baburova murders? The reason is simple. Gribankin is carrying out a preventive strike in the run-up to this:

Russian human rights activists have prepared questions for UN Council

Russian human rights activists have submitted around a hundred questions for a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, which today [February 4, 2009] will hear Russia’s report.

Russian justice minister Alexander Konovalov will address council members in Geneva.

As Oleg Orlov, head of the Memorial Human Rights Center, informed Interfax, he and his colleagues have seen a draft of the report and believe that it hushes up many problems.

In their reports, international human rights organizations declare that murders of politicians and journalists have become routine in Russia, and that, especially in Chechnya, an atmosphere of impunity reigns in the country.

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The Letter

In the next day or so, we will have a report on yesterday’s actions (in Moscow, Paris, Rome, and elsewhere) in memory of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova. In the meantime, if you are wondering what you can do, you might take this piece of good advice from Will, writing at the aptly (?) named Drink-Soaked Trotskyite Popinjays for WAR website:

Recommended action: send letters to Russian Embassies in your country, express indignation about political terrorism in Russia, demand the thorough investigation of the murder of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova and suitable punishment of the perpetrators be carried out.

Model Letter:

Mr. Ambassador, I am writing to express my concern about the Jan. 19 assassination of human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and young anti-fascist journalist Anastasia Baburova in Moscow in an atmosphere of increasing nationalist violence and legal impunity for killers. Please urge your Government to take strong and effective measures to rein in fascist violence, bring the perpetrators to justice, and prevent future assaults on journalists, lawyers and human rights advocates—scandalous political crimes that seriously undermine the credibility of the Russian Federation in the international sphere. (signed, etc)

Yeah—I know. Fat chance. You could also publicise this story in whatever way you can in order to exert pressure on the Russian authorities. After all, they care about their ‘image’ if nothing else.

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Our Silence = Complicity (Moscow & Elsewhere, February 1)

Here is a translation of the leaflet that will be handed out on Sunday, February 1, at the rally against political terror in Moscow at Chistye Prudy. The original text (in Russian) can be found here and here. Feel free to use and adapt this text for your own protest memorials in other parts of the world. Russian social activists and human rights advocates (and just plain ordinary people) need to see that the rest of the world cares.

 

Stop Political Murders in Russia!

Our Silence = Acquittal of the Murderers

Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova were murdered on January 19 in the center of Moscow.

Why do their murders concern each person who lives in Russia, each person who aspires to have the rights for which people like Markelov and Baburova fight? Why should we come together to share this pain and express our outrage?

Because our silence is tantamount to acquitting the people who terrorize us. It is tantamount to admitting that they are right. They terrorize us with these murders, which are the latest in a long series of violent acts against social and political activists. These terrorist acts have become the dangerously familiar backdrop to our daily lives.

After such outrageous murders, the time has come for us to decide: do we want this violence to continue in our country? Are we prepared to make our peace with the fact that criminal investigations into violent attacks against social and political activists never lead to convictions?

You lose your job. You lose your home. You lose your rights. The people who defend you are murdered. How far must this humiliation go before you stop putting up with it in silence?

People who say or think that such things are typical the world over are mistaken. Russia ranks third (after Iraq and Algeria) in numbers of murdered journalists. In every country that has gone through a similar phase in its history, people took to the streets in order to change their country.

It is enough for thousands of people to take to the streets in order to put an end to this “criminal immunity”—immunity for those people who terrorize free society. We need mass protests to reverse the direction our society is headed.

Come with your friends and family to share this pain, to cope with it, to express your outrage, to change the situation.

3:00 p.m., Sunday, February 1. The Griboedov Monument at Chistie Prudy (Moscow)

The demonstration will be attended by concerned citizens, anarchists, anti-fascists, The Institute for Collective Action, The Moscow and Mosow Region Dormitories Movement, The Council of Initiative Groups, The Movement to Defend the Khimki Forest, Left Front, The Council of Coordinating Councils, Vpered Socialist Movement, Socialist Resistance, The Revolutionary Workers Party, Leftist Socialist Action, Memorial Human Rights Center, The Anti-War Club, RKP-CPSS, For Human Rights Movement, and other civic organizations.

STANISLAV MARKELOV was no ordinary lawyer. He was one of a handful of lawyers who defended workers, railroad men, evicted dormitory residents, cheated apartment co-op members, anti-fascists, refugees, and victims of police abuse. He fought for the rights of Mikhail Beketov, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Khimki Pravda, who was viciously beaten this past autumn for criticizing the local administration. Markelov took on the cases of social activists, whose work is invaluable for our society. Markelov helped many of them pro bono.

Stanislav represented the victims in the trial of Colonel Yuri Budanov; the Nord-Ost hostage tragedy; neofascist attacks on anti-fascists and migrants; and the massive police pogrom against the residents of Blagoveshchensk. He worked with Anna Politkovskaya, traveled to Chechnya on many occasions, wrote critical articles, and participated in environmental protest camps.

He understood that society is something you have to build yourself, and so he organized the Rule of Law Institute, which gives legal assistance to journalists, lawyers, activists, homeowners, and workers.

ANASTASIA BABUROVA was a fifth-year student in the journalism faculty at Moscow State University. She worked for Izvestia, Novaya Gazeta, and several other publications. She was an activist in the anarchist and environmental movements. She participated in many protest actions and civic initiatives, in particular, the European Social Forum in Malmö (2008). Nastya covered non-mainstream youth movements, street actions and protests, and court trials.

Stanislav was thirty-four; Nastya, twenty-five. Both of them were just beginning their work: they could have accomplished a lot more had they not been killed. They took on toughest, most important problems of our time. They were people who understood quite clearly that freedom in our society could only be fought for and won—fought for and won by citizens themselves. If citizens don’t fight for this freedom, it will become less and less, until society is strangled by totalitarianism or fascism.

SOLIDARITY IS OUR WEAPON!

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February 1: Stop the Terror!

February 1

Stop the Terror! An International Campaign of Solidarity with Russian Social Activists

On February 1, in Moscow (3:00 p.m.), Paris (3:00 p.m.), Rome (5:00 pm), and other Russian and European cities, protest demonstrations will be held in memory of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova, and in solidarity with all those bold, active people who do not merely live in our society, but who also try to change it for the better, to make it a freer and more just place.

What is the point of going to a demonstration? Why do people in different cities assemble and discuss such things with each other if

THERE IS NO POINT IN DEMONSTRATING?

  • Because we won’t bring Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova back to life this way;
  • because we won’t shed any light on this case by standing in the streets;
  • because we will also be demonstrating against ourselves—
  • because in fact we are also responsible for their deaths:
  • because we allowed someone to think that it is possible to murder people in broad daylight in Russia, in the center of Moscow, without upsetting anyone.

Stanislav Markelov defended the rule of law. Anastasia Baburova covered crimes against justice in the press. They defended our rights, the rights of the citizens of Russia. The rights of young people who are not content with arbitrary treatment and abuse by the authorities. The rights of adults who have been persecuted. They stood up for us, and we lost them.

So why go out on the streets? Because

IT IS AN ASBOLUTE NECESSITY!

We won’t give those people who want us to wait the storm out at home another chance!

We will no longer put up with all this in silence. We do care about what is happening!

We will come together for these demonstrations. Bring your friends and acquaintances!

Journalists, anti-fascists, and foreigners are being attacked on the streets of Russian cities. People who did something for all of us have been murdered in the heart of Moscow. These people did something for us, people who live in Russia, and so their murders affect us directly, even if we’d rather close our eyes and slink into the shadows. Because this didn’t happen somewhere beyond the horizon, to people we don’t know anything about. This is our life, this is our country. In days past, it was still possible to sit things out at home, waiting for the streets to become safe again. But now it is inaction and silence that are dangerous. They are even more dangerous than the desire to say something. Silence is a signal to the criminals and murderers: everything is fine, you may go on doing what you’re doing. The people of Paris and Rome are prepared to support you. This includes activists of various political persuasions and age groups, scholars, journalists, lawyers, and human rights activists. They will be joined by people who have heard about the Moscow tragedy from their friends, people who read it about in blogs and newspapers and have decided not to remain indifferent. All of these people have their own problems. But they, too, care about what is happening: they will demonstrate in solidarity with everyone who takes to the streets in the cities of Russia. They understand that something is wrong in Russia when social activists are gunned down in the streets. We understand this ourselves. The murders of Markelov and Baburova have shown us the cost of our silence. We will go into the streets and look each other in the eyes. And there we will see not fear and obedience, but solidarity, the faith that change is possible, and the readiness to defend our common values. We will find the words to say and the courage to say them on February 1.

Slogans for Our Demonstrations:

  • Put an End to Political Murders!
  • Stand Up for Stanislav Markelov and the Rule of Law!
  • Stand Up for Anastasia Baburov and Fearless Journalism!
  • Stop the Violence against People Who Fight for Justice!
  • Solidarity with Activists Who Fight for Our Rights and Freedoms!
  • I Am a Social Activist, Too!
  • We Are Not Extremists or Victims! Our Weapon Is Solidarity!
  • We Are Not Extremists or Victims! We Will Put an End to Political Murders!
  • Say No to Crimes against Justice!
  • Solidarity Is Our Weapon!

In Italian:

  • No al silenzio sui crimini contro la giustizia in Russia!
  • Basta con gli assassinii politici!
  • Solidarieta per i militanti russi esposti alle violenze!

In French:

  • Assassinats politiqes: ASSEZ!
  • NON aux crimes contre la justice!
  • SOLIDARITÉ avec les militants russes exposés aux violences et persécutions!

Leaflet for Distribution at Demonstrations in Russia, with Information about Stanislav and Anastasia (.pdf file, in Russian)
Information about the Memorial Actions in Moscow and Elsewhere (website of the Institute for Collective Action; in Russian)

What You Can Do:

If You Go to a Demonstration: 
If you have a printer at home or work, choose a slogan you like, print it out on a sheet of paper, and bring it with you to the demonstration. If you plan to attend one of the demonstrations (whether in Moscow, Rome, Paris or elsewhere), you can find downloadable .pdf files with these slogans (in Russian) on the website of dvizh.org. If you plan to attend a demonstration outside of Russia, it makes sense to print out, as you like, slogans in your local language as well as in Russian and English, considering that (we hope) these events will be covered by the foreign press as well.

In Moscow, Paris, and Rome, there will be lots of strollers and passerby in the places we gather on Sunday. Do you think that all of them have heard about what has happened? You will be both surprised and discouraged by what they say. Many people probably have heard something, but they know few details and know nothing about the protests and solidarity actions. If you are in Russia, please print out several copies of  this leaflet, which contains information about Stanislava and Anastasia (in Russian). If you are outside of Russia, you may use any of the articles published on this blog or on the Internet at large. Pass the leaflets out to people and talk to them about what it all means. Solidarity begins with conversation. (Editor’s Note: We will try to have a translation of this leaflet posted and available in English translation by the end of today.)

  • In Moscow, our demonstration will take place at the Griboedov monument in Chistye Prudy (Metro station Chistye Prudy), at 3:00 p.m.
  • In Paris, our demonstration will take place at La Fontaine des Innocents (Les Halles district, 1st Arrondissement), at 3:00 pm. For more information, write to infoaction@mail.ru.
  • In Rome, our demonstration will take place on Piazza Cavour, next to the Adriano movie theater and opposite the Palazzo di Giustizia, at 5:00 p.m. 
  • In Krasnodar, our demonstration will take place at 2:00 p.m. near the Pushkin monument. Notification for the demonstration was submitted to the Krasnodar municipal adminstration on January 28. For updates (in Russian), go here.

If You Cannot Make It to a Demonstration, Live in Another City or Feel That It Is Important to Do Something:

  • Print out a leaflet (above) and post it in the lobby of your apartment building, on a notice board, in a shop, at a bus stop, at your university, at your workplace. Make people stop for a minute and think about what has happened.
  • Print out one of the slogans (in any language), put it an envelope, and mail it to the Russian Federation Prosecutor General’s Office. Mail another copy to the Russian Federation Interior Ministry. You might ask: who there is going to read these letters? In all likelihood, no one. But they will open the envelope. Your next question: but won’t they toss the contents of the envelope into the trash? Probably. Then what is the point? The point is in the number of such letters they receive. The point is to make them feel our rage over the murders of Stanislav and Anastasia and our solidarity with them. When the Prosecutor’s Office and the Interior Ministry get fifty or five hundred such letters, their trash bins will fill up. And then, perhaps, the high officials there will realize that they can no longer keep silent. Let them know that you care. Here are the addresses:

Russian Federation Prosecutor General
GSP-3 125993 Moscow
ul. Bolshaya Dmitrovka
Attn: Yuri Chaika, Prosecutor General

Russian Federation Interior Ministry
119049 Moscow
ul. Zhitnaya, 16
Attn: Rashid Nurgaliev, Interior Minister

We will update this information as needed. Watch for updates and breaking news here at Chtodelat News, as well as (in Russian and Italian) at:

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Despite Everything

We got this reflection on reactions to the murders of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova from Comrade A., a student, writer, and activist in Petersburg.

I usually don’t swear, and I don’t know what to think when I come across an abundance of such words—or even more ambivalently, one such word—in a text. But now I realize that all I can do is swear—in letters, blog posts, and articles.

Wise gentlemen reproach the anarchists who marched in Moscow in memory of Stas and Nastya in Moscow: “Grief is grief, but why smash shop windows?” Well, one wants to smash the fuck of out everything in Russia right now.

And it is not just a matter of grief.

Oleg and I return to the city, and Sveta informs us the news right there in the bar: “Markelov has been murdered.” Nastya Baburova, an anarchist who was accompanying him, tried to “detain” the killer and took a second bullet—in her head—and was at that moment dying in the intensive care ward.

I will write only about myself. Perhaps this is the most honest thing now, when completely predictable memorial rituals commence and threaten to obscure what happened. I really didn’t now either Markelov (aside from the fact that he was “the only leftist lawyer in the country”) or Nastya (although she was part of the Russian delegation I traveled with this past fall to the European Social Forum, in Malmö). But this doesn’t matter either, because in this mode of distanced engagement you can ponder things a bit more soberly, without “understanding the pain of the loss” one bit less. However, I would hope that our understanding would not be limited to this. While this is definitely a tragedy, we need, despite everything, to make it an occasion, a cause. A cause for what? That is what I will explain in what follows.

All the more so that the co-optation really happens instantly and “unconsciously.” It already turns out (I see this in the photos of the first memorial in Moscow) that “they perished for Russia’s freedom.” There is seemingly nothing wrong with this phrase, but in fact there is. Liberal circles are good at quickly commencing their self-satisfied ruminations. True, in this situation all that leftists can do as well is chew over their own helplessness: their numbers make them more a collection of political freaks than a movement. A situation like this is as demoralizing as ending up in a weak class or school (for anyone with half a brain).

When your city (a place where a socialist revolution took place ninety years ago) turns out a hundred people at most for an action in memory of the victims of a political murder (there is no need here to remember the horrors of Soviet times and the valiant dissidents: this time there has been sufficient information about the murders in all the media, although it was given the correct ideological spin of course), then all you can do is swear.

When you realize that even the march of the anarchists in Moscow and their window-breaking caused bewilderment in some people or (a more complicated case) provoked some others to strategically warn them against scaring off the population (but if the population is frightened by shattered shop windows and not by the fact that someone was shot in the back of the head in the middle of the capital or by the fact that the only person who tried to stop the killer was a 25-year-old anarchist . . .), then you can no longer help but smash shop windows.

But when you realize that once again nothing will come of this—that everyone walked the walk with their candles (in Petersburg) or flares (in Moscow), but that this is the extent of what they are prepared to do—then you cannot help but realize that we need to create an organization.

Despite the total passivity of the population. Despite the fact that this is not the first time this thought has occurred to you, despite the fact that some work is even being done in this direction. Despite the fact that “revolution is always impossible—you have to make it.”

 

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