Stanislav Markelov and anarchists

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Jan 26 2009 20:21
Stanislav Markelov and anarchists

Stanislav Markelov, shot in Moscow by an assassin 19th of January 2009, was not an anarchist. He defined himself as a "Martovian social-democrat", after Yuliy Martov, leader of pre-revolutionary Menshevik fraction of social-democrat movement. In more contemporary terms, he was a left-wing social democrat.

But Stas had friends in about any fraction of Russian socialists - both reformers and revolutionaries. He had an encyclopedic knowledge on history of the revolutionary movement of Russia, which was a huge inspiration for him, and he could lecture for hours on groups such as nihilists or narodniks anytime. Stas was interest on history of political red cross (which still today remains as anarchist black cross), and he considered lawyers who defended narodniks and esers in tsarist times his prececents, and eventually he became first lawyer to defend left-wing "terrorists", accused by the new Russian state. In all cases he did during 1990's and early years of this decade, he managed to dismiss terrorist charges and eventually if defendants got sentenced, they got sentenced for lesser charges.

Stas was too young to join underground hippie movement ("Systema") of the Soviet time, but his first ideas (and early hairstyle) came from there. Already when a young student in early 1990's, Stas became activist of social-democratic party (which always was a rather marginal in Russian politics), in its left wing. Probably first time anarchists came to contact with him was time of Yeltsin's coup of 1993 - practically all anarchists and socialists considered Yeltsin's unconstitutional presidential order number 1400 a Pinochetist coup, and were ready to rally against it. Anarchists and social-democrats, Stas among them, drafted a proposition for Supreme Soviet, which included refusal of support from national-patriots, withdrawal from Moscow to regions supporting Supreme Soviet and economical blockade of Moscow. But as we know, history went otherwise - Supreme Soviet rejected the proposal, chose support of national-patriots instead and stayed in Moscow, where it lacked mass support, and eventually defenders of Supreme Soviet got massacred by Yeltsin's gang. Official death toll is 199 (including 12 of police and army), but defenders have also presented up to 10 times bigger estimates on number of victims.

When it became clear for anarchists and socialists that it was no way of picking a conflict in the side, they decided to organise an impartial street medic brigade instead. Brigade was named after Maksimilian Voloshin, famous humanist and poet who during Russian civil war remained impartial and defended organised humanitarian aid for civilians. There are some stories from work of the brigade available in English, for example "Under fire between the Lines" ( and translation from Avtonom-journal, "Unhappy anniversary" ( Participation of this street medic brigade was a real "baptism in fire" for its members but also very frustrating, as eventually untrained volunteers had to help people with bullet wounds. But people who were there, sticked together ever since.

Stas and many others of them became core of both historical club in Memorial, and through the same connections Stas become involved in anarchist "thursday circle", which was later named after active anarchist Nikolai Muravin, who was central in organising it and died accidentally in 1996. Results of work of Memorial's club you may see in site "Russian socialists and anarchists after October 1917" in, which is probably the biggest website on history of repressions against anarchists (and not only), but unfortunately it is only available in Russian.

Stas also participated to work of "Free labor commune of Pryamukhino", which was was active in second part of 1990's. It was a common project of anarchists and offspring of Bakunin family to repair garden of the mansion in Pryamukhino of Tver region, where famous revolutionary was born and spent his childhood. Pryamukhino mansion even still has an oak tree planted by 1820's decembrist rebels, thus the place is linked to 200 years of Russian revolutionary history. It was in Pryamukhino camps where Stas became friends with Igor Podshivalov, who in 1982 co-founded in Irkutsk the first anarchist group which survived to Perestroika, and became one of the core groups of the KAS, Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists. KAS became a mass organisation during Perestroika but did not survived crisis of the 90's, except in some Siberian cities where it still lives in form of the SKT, Siberian Confederation of Labor. Podshivalov died tragically in accident in August 2006, and Stas was co-organising memorial events for him.

However Stas joined also camps more in the frontline of struggle than peaceful labor in Pryamukhino. He participated to Rainbow Keeper protest camp of 1996 in Volgodonsk, against construction of the Nuclear Power plant of Rostov region. This camp had some heavy confrontation, soldiers from the local army base were ordered to evict camp and shoot tents, making them full of holes. Legal support for victims of the excesses of authorities against Volgodonsk camps of 1996 and 1997 were one of the first times Stas used his profession to support activists.

Stas was also one of the organisers of 1998 anti-nuclear march in Belarus, and he also joined Rainbow Keeper protest camp against harmful local plant in Sasovo of Ryazan region last summer. In photo above Stas is speaking in a mass protest meeting of Sasovo inhabitants, flag behind him is flag of Rainbow Keepers. Stas was also a frequent guest in
annual Chernobyl day marches in Minsk, which are currently biggest anti-nuclear demonstrations in Europe (although few years back when there were not yet nuclear construction plans in Belarus, these marches were more social than ecological, defending rights of Chernobyl victims).

Stas gave active legal and other support to Belarusian democratic movement since violent anti-Lukashenko protests of the mid-90's where Russian anarchist joined as well, and he was fluent in half-repressed Belarusian language, a very unusual skill for a Russian. His wife was a Belarusian, and they had two young children.

Stas was involved in wide spectrum of activities, but he became famous as a lawyer. From early on, he took cases which no-one else was willing to take, and always pick up a hard, political and mediatic tactic of defense. Eventually he become Russia's number one celebrity human rights lawyer, a common guest of TV talk shows on most various topics, to argue against Russia's WTO membership for example.

Two perhaps most important cases were both connected with war in Chechnya, but Stas became interested on the problems of Caucasus much before, already in 1994 he traveled to area ravaged by ethnic conflict between Ossetians and Ingushetians with Memorial activists. One of his companions from thet trip, Alexander Cherkasov, also wrote an excellet necrology of Stas which is available in English at

There are also other good materials in site, also fragment of speech Stas did in demonstration against attacks on political activists 30th of November 2008. Stas was speaking there, because he was defending legal interests of a owner of a local paper in Khimki region of Moscow Region Mikhail Beketov, who was heavily beaten due to his opposition to construction of a local expressway which would destroy a park, defended by a popular movement. Beketov was found in her garden in coma only the next day after a heavy beating in November, he survived but had several of his fingers amputated and still, 2 months after the attack, is in hospital in a bad condition.

Eventually Stas was defending interests of family victims of two most notorious Russian war criminals - colonel Budanov, who in March 2000 kidnapped and raped a 18-year old Chechen girl (and did many other atrocities, for which he was never punished). Eventually Budanov was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but released recently having done 8.5 years. Stas was appealing against the early release, and the day he was shot he was returning from a press conference, where he announced his intention to question release of Budanov in European courts. Thus it is well possible, that supporters of Budanov, who is considered as a hero by many in Russia, were behind the murder - but Stas had plenty of other enemies as well.

Another important case was case of Sergey "Kadet" Lapin, who together with other officers of Hanty-Mansiysk OMON organised a torture and murder factory in Chechenyan capital Grozniy. Eventually "Kadet" was convicted to 9 years of jail "for exceeding official authority and causing grave bodily injury with aggravating circumstances". Although only fraction of his deeds made it to court and all other suspected went underground or avoided charges altogether, it was still an unprecendent court result.

But this work by Stas is widely published by liberal mainstream media, so we don't go here more into detail. If you want to have a short summary of many high-profile human rights cases Stas picked up, you may read the list he published himself in his website:

No matter how famous Stas became, he was always ready to do even smallest cases for anarchists and other radicals, even if cases wer enot political. He did not worked for free, but he always understood if we had problems to pay in time - he never required any guarantees. Work of Stas to defend radical was such an annoyment for authorities, that during NRA investigation police put him out of the game by giving him a witness status, so he could not be advocate. NRA was an armed group in the 90's, offshoot of Rainbow Keepers and anarchist scene mixed with some young stalinists, they made arson attacks and bombings against military call-up centers, a yellow trade union, police
and eventually they bombed FSB (x-KGB) premises in center of Moscow. 2 former Rainbow Keepers got prison sentences for actions of the group.

He was a vegetarian, and also most important lawyer for Russian animal rights movement - he was a lawyer of people, suspected of stealing rats from a breeder during a demonstration in Moscow region in August of 2007. He was also doing some work for animal rights "inside the system", reviewing of the law “On protection of animals”. He was also presenting legal interests of local ecologists in Black Sea rim, who got harrassed by authorities after some arson attacks against Sochi winter olympics development.

Stas was also defending Pasha Delidon, anarchist who was sentenced for 4.5 after an attempt to gather wages his former boss owned him. He was also most important lawyer of the anti-fascist movement in Russia, defending anti-fascists both when they were victims and also when they were suspected to be perpetrators. He defended interests of family of Alexander Ryukhin, murdered in Moscow by Nazis in April 2006, and he was also lawyer of Aleksey "Shkobar" Olesinov, who is now in Butyrka prison - officially due to unpolitical charges, but really because he is suspected by authorities of being "a leader" of radical Antifa in Moscow.

All in all, this is just a scratch of the work of Stas. And I did not even touched the topic of his sense of humor and endless jokes. That was his way to cope with many dangers and threats he faced, he laughed to them at their face.

Everyone has a story of Stas, many of them. I was not in the European social forum in Malmö, but I laughed so much when I was told how Stas travelled.

There was some banquet at city mayor's office for the moderate end of the forum participators. Stas was of course there in his fine suit - VIP guests and free booze was definitely a choice for Russia's number one celebrity human rights advocate. Stas saw that a demonstration passed by the office, and friends of Stas in demonstration could see him waving hand from the mayor's office.

After a while, enough of free booze and Stas decided he would like to see some action. He went to catch the demo, but riot had already started. With some other Russians, Stas tried to exit by a side street closed by riot police. Stas was already quite drunk and did not quite figured out that coppers were not on a talking mood. So Stas went to Sweden to get beaten up by Swedish riot cops, as if there were not any angry riot cops more closer to his home in Moscow!

So many stories of Stas, who could gather all of them?


More on the topic:

Anastasia "Skat" Baburova, 30.11.1983-19.01.2009
Our friend and comrade Skat was murdered today in Moscow, shot to head by an assassin.

Stanislav Markelov Has Been Murdered
The collective at “(The) Movement” ( has issued the following statement:

Stanislav Markelov: On the Frontlines

Lawyer Stanislav MARKELOV, President of the Rule of Law Institute, biography:

Moscow Antifa Honor the Memory of Stas and Nastya

In Memoriam: Stanislav Markelov & Anastasia Baburova (Petersburg)
(in Russian: Акция памяти жертв политических убийств в СПб (фотографии)

Actions to commemorate Stas and Nastya around Russia

These Shards Are Our Tears

Speech by Stanislav Markelov. Moscow, November 30, 2008
Address by Stanislav Markelov. Rally against Political Terror. Moscow, November 30, 2008. Video and text.

Stanislav Markelov: Two Worlds, Two Deaths

Russia: The assassination of Stanislav Markelov
By Tom Rollings, &

Joined: 21-01-09
Jan 26 2009 20:24


Joined: 29-09-06
Jan 28 2009 08:37

There were some pickets at the Russian Embassy and two consulates in Poland.

robot's picture
Joined: 27-09-06
Jan 28 2009 20:01
laureakai wrote:
There were some pickets at the Russian Embassy and two consulates in Poland.

And another one in Berlin, Germany.

Joined: 29-09-06
Jan 29 2009 10:13

There will be demos in Moscow and Paris on Saturday

Joined: 21-01-09
Nov 17 2009 22:36

My assumption of guilt

(for photo and working links, check original at

On the arrests of the suspected murderers of StanislavMarkelov and
Anastasia Baburova

Russia is a promised land for conspiracy theories. When last week
Nikita Tikhonov and Yevgeniya Khasis, Nazi activists suspected of having
murdered leftist human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist
and anarchist activist Anastasia Baburova, were arrested and taken to
court hearings to decide about detention measures, the rumor mill went

The number one spinners were anti-migration bloggers, very much
concerned about the human rights of their Nazi comrades. Now they scream
about a “New Guantanamo”, although I do not think they had anything
against the previous one. Some of the real human rights activists
swallowed the hook, but the fact is that hoods on the heads of the
accused are in the common best interest both for themselves and the
investigation – if their faces are broadcast all over the tv, witness
testimonies become unreliable.

My own feeling however is that investigators have picked up the right
people, although not necessarily all of them. And I believe, that
Tikhonov was not merely the executor, but also the planner of the
murder. What it comes down to is an unknown man who had been spotted by
anti-fascists at a previous press-conference held by Stanislav Markelov,
photographed and thrown out fromthe event by anti-fascists (his photos
have been distributed via various anti-fascist and mainstream media,
for example here:,
I believe that he was a scout involved in the plot, but after being
revealed was replaced by Khasis.

Despite all its faults, the Russian judicial system is probably more
capable of passing a verdict than I am – but I can argue why I feel
this way.

A bullet in the head in the middle of the city is not a job for a
fumbling teenager's first time in action. Andrei Fazilyev and Kirill
Vahruchev, who half-accidentally clubbed anti-fascist Stas Korepanov to
death in Izhevsk in March of 2007 got 13 year sentences – apparently
they could not even afford proper lawyers. Another half-accidental
killing, that of Ilya Borodaenko in the protest camp in Angarsk of
Siberia in summer of 2007 could have had some influential sponsors,
judging from the fact that the Nazi gang who did the job had been
previously detained the same night and then released. However cannon
fodder was not that important for the influential sponsors that they
would care about the detention, during which young Nazis were tortured
so cruelly that at least one of them attempted to commit suicide. Nikita
Tikhonov however is not from this series – he made few mistakes, and
his lawyer obviously knows his job. And such lawyers are not free in
Russia. Everything Tikhonov has done and said after his detention, is a
series of well-calculated moves to minimize his up-coming sentence.

Different from knives, stunt guns, telescope batons and pepper gas,
which are sold on almost every street, it is not easy to obtain illegal
firearms in Russia. Thus, whoever assumes all the risks assosciated to
purchasing illegal guns, is obviously representative of a class which
does whatever it takes in order not to get its clothes and hands dirty
when working – that is, the intellectual class.

Tikhonov, if anyone, is a Nazi intellectual. This is clear to anyone,
who has ever opened up a copy of the “Russkiy Obraz”, a magazine which
Tikhonov set up about a decade ago with his friend Ilya Goryachev, with
whom he studied history in the most prestigious history faculty of
Russia – that of Moscow State University. You will not find conpsiracy
theories about the elders of Zion or Freemasons, Nazi BDSM uniform
fetishism or other usual Nazi features in “Russkiy Obraz.” The Russian
word “obraz” has many meanings - “Obraz Zhizn” means “Way of life”, but
depending on the context “obraz” may mean appearance, image,
conception, outline, character, type, mode, way or icon. As for the
roots, first of all Obraz is the name of one organisation of Serbian
nationalists. The ideological foundation of the original project was in
solidarity with Serbian nationalism, which was a logical choice – it was
the Balkan wars which proved that ethnic cleansings are still current in
Europe today, and it was natural to propose the same for multinational
Russia. Today the “Kosovo scenario” is the main scarecrow for all
migration critics in Europe, in this sense Russkiy Obraz was even ahead
of its time.

Goryachev and Tikhonov were maybe not the Benoit and Evola of Russia,
but they managed to create a new, more credible project for the extreme
right. The print run of “Russkiy Obraz” was not big, maybe 500 copies,
but due to its intellectual level it had influence, and soon fans of the
most important Russian White Power-band, Kolovrat (“Swastika”) also
grouped around it.

As a curious historical detail, the leader of Kolovrat Denis Gerasimov
played for a while in hardcore punk band “Skygrain”, which launched a
total oppositional movement. Skygrain was not the first straightedge
band of Russia, that was “Koleso Dharmy” founded 1993 in Volzhk, which
nowadays is active in Tampere of Finland as “Wheel of Dharma”
( However, Skygrain was the first to
play American-style hardcore with an anti-fascist message in Moscow,
thus they started up anti-fascist subculture in Moscow (Nowadays the
singer of Skygrain, Kiril“Student” is active in the group Argument 5.45,

Gerasimov was drafted to the army. The story goes that he went to
Chechnya, got his head smashed and returned a Nazi. Kolovrat was the
headlining band in a concert organised by Goryachev in Bolotnaya
square, just a few steps away from the Kremlin gates this past 4th of
November. This was perhaps the first open, legal concert of the group in
Russia for a decade, and a result of the careful tactics of Russkiy Obraz.

There is a continuous, fierce fight on hegemony going on in the Russian
far-right, and right now Russkiy Obraz has the upper hand against many
other groups. On the other hand, it does not attempt to maintain
distance from Nazi-skinheads, unlike the “Movement Against Illegal
Migration” DPNI which strives for a more moderate image. Russkiy Obraz
has also managed to gain good contacts to many influential people, such
as the deputy of ruling “United Russia”- party Maksim Mishchenko, a
regular guest during “Russkiy Obraz”events. We will see, if Goryachev's
hasty attempts to distance himself from hisold friend in public are
enough to save status of Russkiy Obraz as the favourite Nazis of Kremlin.

According to Aleksander Potkin, former leader of DPNI, Tikhonov was
working as a speechwriter for Duma chairman and leader of the “United
Russia”party, Boris Gryzlov in 2001-2003, while he was serving as
minister of internal affairs for the Russian federation
( This was of course
quickly denied by “United Russia”, which is hardly surprising as Gryzlov
is probably the third most important politician in Russia, after Putin
and Medvedev. In any case Tikhonov was a professional in political
media, whose contacts and skills played an important role in
transforming Russkiy Obraz from a minor samizdat mag to one of the
leading brands of the Russian far-right.

But why is it that Tikhonov abandoned a promising career as a Nazi
intellectual, and disappeared first into the underground and now to jail
for what will most likely end up in a sentence of a few decades? In
order to explain this, you have to rewind back more than three years,
and go back to the 16th of April 2006. On that day, 9 days before his
20th birthday, anti-fascist Alexander Ryukhin was stabbed to death on
his way to a hardcore-punk concert. Within afew months three teenage
Nazis were arrested – one of them had used his personal electronic metro
ticked in a metro station not far from the place of the murder. After
few days of “workout”, they were ready to confess – however the murderer
himself, “Alexander Parnov”, had already disappeared underground. For
police, this would have been good enough – half-solved crimes look bad
in the statistics-obsessed Russian system. But due to the efforts of
Stanislav Markelov, police was forced to put out an arrest warrant on
Tikhonov as well, who apparently was the main organiser of the action.
What exactly happened on that April day? Personally I doubt that
Tikhonov planned a murder, I believe that Parinov acted without his
permission. If you want to kill someone, it is not very clever to take
three inexperienced teenagers along, who are likely to screw up in one
way or another. On the other hand, before that day the atmosphere in the
Moscow Nazi scene was that of all-mightiness – in the previous years, a
small circle of people had murdered dozens of migrants, and in
Tikhonov's and Parinov's circles it was completely common to murder with
impunity. However, even if murder was planned, I am certain that
Tikhonov was forced to go underground against his own plans, and not so
much due to police efforts as to the efforts of Stanislav Markelov.

But as the clever guy that he is, Tikhonov quickly reorientated, and
went on to collecting guns and whatever else wouldbe necessary for an
underground cell. I believe, that Stanislav and Anastasia were not the
first, nor the last persons he murdered during these 3 years – a good
candidate for Tikhonov's work is for example the murder of Caucasian
Rasip Halulov on the 3rd of September this year. He was on his way to
court where he was accused of membership in a group which beat up and
stabbed Nazi activists in the Moscow metro. Halulov's group was named
“Black hawks” in the media, although apparently they never called
themselves that.

According to this article: Tikhonov was busted
because amateurs, independently from government officials, had broken
into the correspondence of Yevgeniya Khasis on Russian Facebook copy
“Vkontakte” ( It was logical, that Tikhonov
was caught due to someone else's mistake – he is probably too clever
himself to screw up in that way. But this is the necessary flip-side of
the underground way of life – as your contacts to the outer world are
limitted, you have little choice in picking the people you work with.
And it is hard to assassinate someone completely on your own, as an
assassin should not reveal one's face, but for a scout it is almost
impossible to hide without gaining undesired attention.

The Russian mainstream media has speculated a lot as to Yevgeniya's
nationalitysince she has a Jewish surname. But this just shows the
ignorance of journalists towards the Nazi movement, as the nationalities
of Nazis should no longer be of surprise to anyone. Already mentioned
murderers of Stanislav Korepanov had Tatar surnames. Maksim
Martsinkevich, who ran the popular “Format 18” website where videos of
cruel beatings of migrants were published, had Polish roots. Roman
Ragimov, the Nazi who beat a Tadzhik man to death in Kirov in 2003 was
Azerbaijani. The father of David Bashelutskov, who cruelly murdered
Azerbaijani man in Volgograd and was arrested in the beginning of this
year in Moscow for his membership in Nazi pagan group which planted
bombs to a mosque, a McDonald's outlet and other places, was Armenian.
Alexei Dzhavashishvili, recently arrested leader of the “White wolves”
Nazi group, who is accused of 11 murders and one attempted murder, is
Georgian. The most diligent Nazi serial killer in Russia thus far,
Arthur Ryno who was recently sentenced for 20 murders and 12 attempted
murders, had a Chukchi father. Yevgeniya is also not the first Jewish
person in the ranks of underground Nazi groups – according to some
sources Nazi sympathizer Alexander Koptsev, who wounded 9 persons with a
knife in a Moscow synagogue, is Jewish. Rostislav Hoffman, suspected of
being a member of the Borovikov Nazi gang from St. Peterburg which
murdered at least six persons, is also Jewish. Hoffman himself, was
apparently executed during an internal purge of the group. The
multinationality of Nazi movement is not a merely Russian phenomenon –
for example probably the most famous Swedish (former) Neo-Nazi Jackie
Arklo"v had a Liberian mother.

As to Yevgeniya, according to mainstream news, she was raised by an
alcoholic single mother, so one can speculate about a failed
relationship with the father – which is also the case with many more of
the aforementioned people. But this would take us on a tangent, as
Nazism is not a diagnosis – mentally ill persons do not murder in such a
systematic and deliberate way, not for an idea. To claim that Nazis are
mentally ill, would be an underestimation. And the term “Neo-Nazi” is a
similar kind of underestimation – although present day Nazis have a
continuously increasing spectra of ideas, the core of their ideology is
still the same as in the 1930's. These people are by no means harmless
clowns dressing up infunny outfits, they already manifold deserve to be
called the same names as their predecessors.


original in Russian: