A few days ago, members of this counter-information group talked with comrades from Germany and answered their questions. See also our own recent survey on grassroots sabotage of the Russian agression and please support our digital media center via this page to help the civilian residents of Kharkov being under shelling during all time of this madness.
- How is the war perceived in Russia? How strong is the anti-war movement?
- In Russia, as elsewhere, people are different. There are those who really believe the official propaganda and think that Russian troops in Ukraine are freeing the good people and punishing the bad ones, and even that it was Ukraine that attacked Russia. Others talk about the eternal conflict between East and West (or between Russia and the rest of the world), that each nation is fighting for "living space" and for resources, and if you do not attack, you will be swallowed up by others. And, of course, there are people who actively oppose the war. In Russia and Belarus, this also means that they are against the regime.
According to OVD-Info, 63 people have already been prosecuted for protesting the war. The first of them has already received its sentence - two years in prison. This is a Moscow student Anastasia Levashova, according to the prosecution, she threw a Molotov cocktail towards the police (no one was hurt). The rest are still awaiting trial.
More than 15,000 people have been detained in Russia for taking part in anti-war protests, most of them receiving huge fines or administrative detention.
But this is a drop in the ocean. There is no, for example, a mass movement of mothers who fought against sending their sons to certain death in Chechnya, were engaged in the release and search for prisoners of war in the 1990s.
In today's Russia, there are no conditions for conducting serious and independent sociological research and polls on the topic of Russians' attitude to the war. Therefore, it is difficult to specify what percentage supports Putin's policies. It seems to us that most people still support both the president's policy and the war. In general, Russian imperialism has been cultivated for centuries. And under the tsars, and under the Bolsheviks, and even more so under Putin. What is happening now is a pattern. Unfortunately.
- In Germany and Western Europe as a whole, there is a buildup of armaments and NATO mobilization. We have a lot of discussions about anarchist anti-militarism and about not fighting for either side of the military conflict, but instead talking about sabotage and opposition to the state and its armed forces, whether it be NATO or Russia, and no matter which this state is democratic or autocratic. The state always uses an external enemy to mobilize the population through propaganda and coercion. We have heard that military propaganda has been going on in Russia for many years and that the state is becoming more and more repressive... What is the dynamics of militaristic mobilization in Russia? What kind of discussions do you have?
- For many years Russia has been an authoritarian militaristic dictatorship and the situation is getting worse. In Russia, the struggle against aggression in Ukraine is a fight against the regime, for social revolution. There is no contradiction here, all anarchists understand this. Ukraine is not the first country where Russia has shown its imperial essence. After suppressing the revolutionary and opposition forces inside the country, the Russian regime helped put down the anti-Lukashenko uprising in Belarus, then there was a short expedition to put down the uprising in Kazakhstan, and now they started a war against Ukraine.
NATO is legal terrorism, we understand this very well. This is where Russian propaganda is right. But if they help Ukraine with weapons, we don't mind. Anarchists are too weak to create their own army, as Nestor Makhno did a hundred years ago. Before the war, and even at its very beginning, there were discussions among the BUR anarchists about what anarchists should do in the event of a military conflict. Most of the groups and collectives supported Ukraine. Not oligarchs, not Zelensky (although, to be honest, as a military politician, he behaves with dignity and skill - we have to give him his due). No matter how bad Europe and NATO are (and they are really disgusting with their hypocrisy. Remember at least Yugoslavia or the Middle East, or the division into the good refugees from Ukraine and the wrong ones from Africa and the Middle East), it's not NATO that attacked Russia. We must make every effort to make Russia lose. And, of course, again and again to come up with an anti-militarist agenda: against NATO, Russia, Turkey, China...
- What is your forecast? There is a lot of panic here in Germany about a possible nuclear attack and the start of the Third World War. In addition, we are sure that soon we will face an even greater flow of refugees and an economic crisis…
- We do not know what is going on in Putin's head, but we think that it will not come to a nuclear war. It would be a death sentence for all of us. The Russian world is a huge evil, at least in this part of Europe. Anarchists in such critical moments as war must resist evil, and not think about the purity of ideas. The fate of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus depends on the victory over Putin's Russia. There is a chance that victory in the war will change the public consciousness in our region. We believe that the anti-war spark can ignite into a revolutionary fire. After all, history is not written. The victory of Ukraine can become a starting point for our entire region. The overthrow of Putin, the division of Russia into many republics, the liberation of Belarus... The participation of anarchists in the war and the accumulation of combat experience, the self-organization and solidarity of Ukrainians (and Belarusians) in the fight against the invaders, the interest of the whole world in our region, destruction, pain and millions of crippled destinies - all this gives hope for a rethinking of the capitalist, imperialist and other "values" in which the people in the BUR firmly believed. Ukraine can become an example of a new Europe, with a conscious society that will know the price of its own freedom, life and dignity. Where the grassroots organization will not be an empty phrase, but a real tangible example of social relations. But all this takes time. We believe in it. Although we understand that, for certain reasons, both liberal and nationalist values will also make their own political capital. But this should not become a hindrance to advancing our agenda. In the meantime, Russia is a hotbed of fascism and imperialism, which must be put out before it's too late.
Kremlin delenda est!
Among other things, recommend you to take a look at our colourful report on the living conditions and social problems of people have been staying in the Kharkiv subway for more than a month because the city authorities don't intend to solve most of the real problems of population even in such circumstances.