Tag Archives: Yevgenia Chirikova

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.chaskor.ru/article/ohota_nachalas_18976
Zinaida Troitskaya
Hunting Season Is Open

[…]

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

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

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

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

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

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

[…]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[…]

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The Kidnapping of Yevgenia Chirikova (4 August 2010, Moscow)

Here is video of Yevgenia Chirikova’s kidnapping by police and OMON riot cops after a press conference today in Moscow.

A spokesman for the Moscow Region Directorate of Internal Affairs (i.e., the police for the region around Moscow, not the city itself) later claimed that Chirikova was detained because she had failed to respond to a summons in connection with the investigation of the attack (allegedly by anarchists and antifascists) on the Khimki administration building on July 28.

We do not have special information about Chirikova or the attack, although everything we do know suggests that a) it is highly unlikely she would fail to appear if she really had been summoned, b) it is even less likely she had anything to do with the attack on the administration building. What you see on the video is an oligarchical capitalist police state in action.

UPDATE: Chirikova has been released after being interrogated by the police for five hours.

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

http://www.ikd.ru/node/14216

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

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

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

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

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

_____

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

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Khimki: Police Repression as an Aid to Deforestation

Khimki Suspects Held as Logging Resumes
02 August 2010
The Moscow Times

Moscow region police said Friday that they have detained two anti-fascist activists involved in an attack on the Khimki administration building after identifying them from video footage posted online, Interfax reported.

The suspects, Maxim Solopov and Alexei Gaskarov, face up to seven years in prison on charges of hooliganism despite “weak” evidence against them, Gaskarov’s lawyer said Saturday, Gazeta.ru reported.

The attack took place Wednesday when 90 to 300 masked protesters pelted the building with stones and smoke grenades and covered the walls with graffiti opposing the destruction of the Khimki forest, slated for deforestation to make way for an $8 billion highway. Police did not arrest anyone at the scene.

The deforestation, which was supposed to be halted because of legal issues, proceeded Saturday, Ekho Moskvy radio reported, citing Yevgenia Chirikova, a leading environmentalist.

Chirikova said she has been forced to go into hiding with her young children by the police, who are visiting the apartments of environmentalists to detain them on various administrative charges in a bid to prevent a new anti-deforestation rally scheduled for Monday.

Meanwhile, Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin said he suffered a minor injury Saturday in a tussle with police officers while trying to stop the logging.

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Khimki: Territory of Lawlessness

Background information in the English-language press about the campaign to save the Khimki Forest:

Eco-Defense website (in Russian)

In the following video, Yevgenia Chirikova, leader of the Movement to Defend the Khimki Forest, explains (in Russian) how the planned toll highway could easily be rerouted to bypass the Khimki Forest and how she was recently attacked by a man driving a car with Petersburg license plates.

____________

www.ikd.ru/node/14200

Khimki, Territory of Lawlessness: Khimki Forest Defenders Arbitrarily Detained at Bus Stop

It seems that in Khimki law enforcement officials have decided to ignore even the appearance of abiding by the law.

Today, August 2, at 12 noon, defenders of the Khimki Forest – approximately 50 peaceful citizens – arrived by bus at the Starbeyevo stop, where they were planning to monitor whether illegal clear-cutting was going on in this area. They had not even managed to assemble when police began detaining them. The first to be arrested were Yabloko party leader Sergei Mitrokhin and Left Front and Mossoviet leader Sergei Udaltsov (whom policemen seized with cries of “Let’s get Udaltsov!”).

IKD received this information from Ilya Budraitskis (Vpered Socialist Movement). As he was talking to us by telephone, he was also detained. He is now being taken to an unknown destination along with three other activists. Police have given them no explanations for their arrests.

Around nine or ten people total have been detained – for no reason whatsoever. These people were at the bus stop, far from the alleged site of the logging. Police have blocked the road into the forest. The Khimki Forest has become a territory where lawlessness reigns.

We remind readers that after an official request by Russian State Duma deputy Anton Belyakov, the Prosecutor General’s Office ordered that logging be halted and is conducting a review of the case. However, Teplotekhnik, Inc., the subcontractor, continues its destruction of the forest to make way for a Moscow-Saint Petersburg toll highway, although it does not have all the necessary permits for this work. As the Movement to Defend the Khimki Forest informs us, this firm, subcontracted by the federal corporation Roads of Russia, is headed by Alexander Semchenko, a bishop of the Baptist church and a former adviser to Putin on cooperation with religious organizations.

Moreover, the Russian federal government decree on the clearing of the Khimki Forest, dated 5 November 2009, was not ratified with the Moscow city government, which was obligatory insofar as the forest is part of the capital city’s green belt.  Alexander Muzykantsky, Moscow human rights ombudsman, has filed an appeal in this connection with the prosector’s office, which is reviewing the matter.

The logging of the forest continues all the same, and soon it will reach the homes of Khimki residents. Activists have brought a temporary halt to the razing several times insofar as Teplotekhnik does not have all the necessary permits. At present, the Prosector General’s office is reviewing the legality of its actions. But Teplotekhnik continues to fell the Khimki Forest because they want the money.

Call the Khimki police stations where activists are being held and ask why they have been arrested and when they will be released:

  • Khimki Department of Internal Affairs: +7 (495) 573-0202
  • Khimki Police Precinct No. 2: +7 (495) 573-3747

_________________

STOP POLICE REPRISALS AGAINST ANTIFASCISTS IN RUSSIA!

On July 30, Maxim Solopov and Alexei Gaskarov, two antifascist activists, were arrested in Moscow without formal charges of any kind. Maxim and Alexei are well-known public spokesmen of the growing movement of young people against neo-Nazi violence, and in recent years they have done much to expose the connections amongst government agencies, the police, and ultra-rightists in Russia.

Their arrests came on the heels of a series of dramatic events that unfolded in July around protests against the destruction of a forest in Khimki, outside of Moscow. Because they have a stake in clear-cutting the forest to make way for a multibillion-dollar toll highway between Moscow and Petersburg, big business and state bureaucrats have unleashed a full-scale campaign of violence against the local residents and environmentalists who make up the protest group. On July 23, their peaceful camp in the forest was brutally attacked by private security guards and a gang of ultra-rightist football hooligans hired by the construction company, while the police stood by, demonstratively refusing to intervene. The attacks against protesters continued during the week of July 26, along with the clear-cutting of the Khimki Forest, one of the largest green belts near Moscow.

On July 28, a group of radical antifascists estimated to number around 400 staged a symbolic action against corporate, police and neo-Nazi lawlessness by throwing smoke bombs at the building of the Khimki municipal administration, which bears direct responsibility for the situation that has developed around the forest.

The action was carried out in a matter of minutes, and so police were unable to respond in time and arrest any of the attackers. Despite the fact that they had no information about the identities of the people who participated in the action, the following day the police detained and searched the flats of people whose only crime is that they publicly express their antifascist and anti-capitalist stance. In addition, two journalists who photographed and videotaped the action on July 28 were also detained.

According to press reports, “solving” the case of the attack on the Khimki administration building has been made a priority at the very top, by the Russian Presidential Administration, which will now attempt to find the guilty parties whatever the cost. Knowing the tactics of the Russian police and secret services, we have no doubt that psychological and physical methods of coercion, including torture, might well be used in the current investigation, especially because investigators presently do not have a single piece of evidence that would link Alexei and Maxim to the attack.

It is no exaggeration to say that the future of the antifascist movement in Moscow depends on the outcome of this case. Police officials have already told the press that “it’s time to put them in their place” and smash this growing movement, which is not controlled by the authorities.

We call on all leftist and worker activists, antifascists and environmentalists to protest the police reprisals against Alexei and Maxim.

WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW?

1. Send protest letters or make calls to the following addresses and phone numbers:

Moscow Region Prosecutor’s Office
Malyi Kiselnyi per., d. 5
107031 Moscow
Russian Federation
news@mosoblproc.ru
Khimki Prosecutor’s Office
ul. Mayakovskogo, d. 30
141400 Khimki, Moscow Region
Russian Federation
+7 (495) 571-6235
Khimki Department of Internal Affairs
(current location of detainees)
ul. Gogolia, d. 6
141400 Khimki, Moscow Region
Russian Federation
+7 (495) 572-0202 (Duty Officer)
+7 (495) 572-1209 (Administrative Office)

2. Submit protest letters to the Russian Federation embassy or consulate in your area or, better yet, organize protest actions outside embassies demanding the immediate release of Maxim Solopov and Alexei Gaskarov.

3. Send an online letter to the Russian president.

4. Distribute this information as widely as possible.

Campaign Facebook Page: Freedom for Russian antifascists Alexei Gaskarov & Maxim Solopov!

__________

[Editor’s Note: We have adapted the following blog post to make it more readable.]

community.livejournal.com/himki_protest/3338.html

Moscow / Khimki: The Battle with the Adminstration Heats Up

In recent days, the battle to stop the destruction of the forest in the Moscow suburb of Khimki has heated up. Activists have been protesting the building of an $8 million high-speed toll highway between Moscow and Petersburg. This highway would destroy beautiful forestland around Moscow. Environmentalists say the highway can be built to bypass the old oak forest.

The flashpoint has been in the city of Khimki, right outside Moscow. There is a history of violence sponsored by the local authorities in this town. In the most famous case of political terrorism, in November 2008, Mikhail Beketov, outspoken editor-in-chief of the local newspaper Khimkinskaya Pravda (Khimki Truth), was savagely beaten in front of his home. The attack was clearly related to his criticism of local authorities and the planned highway. As a result of his injuries, one of his legs was amputated, and head traumas he suffered during the attack have left him unable to speak. Current reports on his condition indicate that his other leg may have to be amputated.

Khimki authorities thus have a reputation for dealing brutally with anybody who dares oppose them.

Direct actions started on July 14, when the logging was to begin. Eco-activists set up a camp in Khimki to take direct action against the deforestation. They have employed blockades on the train lines leading to the logging site.

On July 23, at about 5 a.m., the protestors and two journalists were attacked and beaten by a gang of several dozen thugs with white T-shirts masking their faces. From all indications, this was an organized group of neo-fascists, judging by the symbols on their shirts. The police arrived and began arresting the activists, not the attackers, which indicates that this was an attack carried out in coordination with the police. Security guards hired by the firm carrying out the destruction of the forest also took part.

15 people were arrested at that time. Later in the day, the police arrived again, taking away dozens of people.

When some activists tried to protest in front of the White House in Moscow against construction of the highway and the illegal destruction of the forest, they were also immediately arrested.

On July 28, a large group of people (most reports put the numbers between 400 and 500) marched on Khimki. Some of them (70-100 people) attacked the local administration building. This is shown in the videos below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KBYKd8W6p8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqQFtJMBPbс

Our Friends Have Been Illegally Arrested

On the morning of July 29, antifascist Alexei Gaskarov was summoned to the local police station for a conversation.  There he was handed over to Extremism Department officers and taken away to an unknown destination. Most of the provisions in the law that stipulates operating procedures for the police were violated. None of his relatives was informed, and no notice was served to state the reasons for the arrest. That same evening, antifascist Maxim Solopov was called in for a conversation near the Okhotny Ryad metro station after he appeared on a Russian News Service radio broadcast. Maxim went to the meeting spot but no conversation took place. He was put into a car and taken to Khimki. During the night, the flats of Gaskarov and Solopov were searched. Alexei Gaskarov’s flat was searched without a warrant or other required papers being served, without the confiscated items being inventoried and without a neutral witness present to certify the search [as required by Russian law].

We clearly understand why it was Alexei and Maxim who were arrested. They are well known in public and take the risk and responsibility of being publicly open. They have never concealed their identities, speaking on the record in the press and on the radio. They were arrested because they are the only antifascists well known to the police. The police are now under pressure from the presidential administration to solve the case: that is why someone had to be arrested.

As Alexei’s and Maxim’s faces are known to the police and mass media, it would have been quite stupid of them to take part in violent actions.

We clearly understand that to ask for their release is to cry for the moon no matter how hard we long for it. We appeal for the observance of law, although this institution in our country is violated by the guardians of the law themselves. We demand that the legal proceedings against our friends not be turned into a show trial. We demand that the mass media be allowed access to the proceedings. We demand that the authorities abide by their own laws.

We know that we have the truth on our side and that we will win the day.

On July 31, the first closed court proceedings on the case took place in Khimki. Nobody was allowed into the courtroom. The building was surrounded by groups of riot police officers and water cannon trucks, and a number of ambulances and police cars were parked in the vicinity. Because Alexei and Maxim had already been in custody for 48 hours, formal charges should have been brought against them, but they still have not been formally charged with any crimes, and the court hearing was postponed until Tuesday, August 3, with the judge qualifying the case as a “tough” one.

It has also come to light that their arrest reports state that Alexei and Maxim were detained at the crime scene, which contradicts the police’s original statement that no one was arrested after the incident outside the Khimki administration building. This suggests that the cases against them are being fabricated.

We are disturbed by how the case is proceeding and would appreciate any international support.

Funds are being raised to pay for Alexei and Maxim’s legal defense, and your help would be critical here. Please go to the links below to transfer money:

WebMoney

R113104516303 — rubles
Z170280498291 — USD
E318901103117 — Euro

Яндекс.Деньги

41001434285763

A regular bank account will be opened as soon as possible. More information to follow.

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