Moscow/Khimki: the battle with the adminstration heats up

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 bypass the old oak forest.

The flashpoint has been in the city which is called 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 regional «Khimkinskaya Pravda» (Khimki Truth) newspaper, was savagely beaten in front of his home. The attack was clearly related to his criticism of local authorities and the highway being built. 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 second 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 an action camp in Khimki to take direct action against the deforestation. They have used blockades on the train lines leading to the logging site.

On July 23, at about 5AM, 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 neofascists, wearing such symbols on their shirts. The police arrived and started arresting the activists, not the attackers, which indicated that this was an attack carried out in coordination with the police. Security guards hired by the firm carrying out the destruction 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 this highway being built and the forest being illegally destroyed, they were also immediately arrested.

On July 28, a large group, (most say 400-500 people), marched on Khimki. A part of them (70-100 people), attacked the local administration building. This is shown on the video below.

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

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

Our friends have been illegally arrested
In the morning of July, 29 antifascist Alexei Gaskarov was called in for a conversation to the local Internal Affairs Department. From there he was passed on to Extremism Department officers and taken away in the unknown destination. Most of the regulations of the law that determines the operation policy for the police have been violated. No relatives have been informed, no notice has been served to state the fact of the arrest. That very evening antifascist Maxim Solopov has been called in for a conversation by Okhotny Ryad metro station after the “Russian News Service” radio broadcast. Maxim has come to the meeting spot but no conversation has taken place. He was handed into a car and brought to Khimki. At night flats of Gaskarov and Solopov have been searched. Alexei Gaskarov's flat was searched with no warrant and due papers being provided, without assets being listed and with no attesting witness.

We clearly understand why this were Alexei and Maxim who got arrested. They are well known in public and are taking responsibility for being publicly open. They never concealed their views, appeared both in press and on the radio. They got arrested being the only antifascists well known to the police. Now the police is under pressure from the administration of the president, that’s why at least someone needed to be arrested.

As Alexei’s and Maxim’s faces are known to the police and mass media this would have been too stupid of them to take part in violent actions.
We clearly understand that to ask for the guys to be released is to cry for the moon no matter how hard we long for it. We appeal for the legitimacy although this institution in our country is being defied by the guardians of law themselves. We demand that the legal procedure against our friends is not turned into demonstrative judicatory. We urge that mass media is allowed access to the procedure. We demand that your laws are being observed by yourselves.

We know that the truth is ours and we will break through.

On July, 31 the first closed judicial session took place in Khimki. Nobody was allowed in. The building was surrounded by bunches of riot police officers, water cannon trucks with also a number of ambulances and police cars around. After 48 hours of the guys being detained, the charge should have been brought against Alexei and Maxim today but they still haven't been accused and the judicial session has been postponed until Tuesday, August, 3 being qualified by the judge as a “tough” one.

It has also come to light that their protocols state that the guys were detained on the crime site which contravenes to the original police statement which read that no one was arrested after the incident. This gives evidence that the cases are being invented.
We’re disturbed by the way the procedures are progressing and would appreciate any international support.

Now the funds are being raised for the lawyers and your help would be critical here.

Please find the links below for money transfers:

WebMoney
R113104516303 — rouble
Z170280498291 — $
E318901103117 — euro

Яндекс.Деньги
41001434285763

A bank account will be opened as soon as possible.

More information to follow.

"Forest Chopped Down, Khimki Smashed Up"
A Report from a local newspaper «Kommersant»
Yesterday [July 28, 2010] more than 500 anarchists and activists from the Antifa movement smashed up the town hall building of the town of Khimki as a sign of protest against the chopping down of the Khimki forest. People in masks broke windows with stones, wrote "save the Russian forest" graffiti on the walls, and threw smoke bombs at the building. The police were unable to detain a single participant in the action. Khimki Mayor Vladimir Strelchenko declared that this was "the first I have heard" about the pogrom in his own town hall.

The anarchists and Antifa started to prepare for the action two days ago. A flyer announcing a concert on Trubnaya Square to defend the Khimki forest appeared on their sites. At 6.30 pm around 400 people arrived at Trubnaya Square, according to the estimate of Kommersant's correspondent.

"I hope no one has come here for the music," a short young man in a mask who had climbed up into an elevated position yelled. "While we are here there is some sort of hell going on in Khimki - the fascists are chopping down the forest, and they are being led by a bishop (people in masks attacked the defenders of Khimki forest, Kommersant reported on July 24, and many had tattoos of Nazi symbols; Aleksandr Semchenko, head of the Teplotechnik company, which is doing the chopping, is a priest from the Evangelical Baptist Christian church - Kommersant). So, we are going there!"

Those who had gathered moved in the direction of Petrovsko-Razumovskoe. They were joined by around a hundred anarchists and, getting on a commuter train, they all went to Khimki. On the way they discussed a possible encounter with participants in a rally in support of the construction of the high-speed Moscow-St Petersburg motorway. It was held yesterday afternoon by approximately 40 people, some in Young Guard of United Russia T-shirts.

"What are the opponents made up of?" a young man with a baseball bat asked his friend.

"Approximately 50 fascists and United Russia - the whole town," he answered.

"Then we will cope," the "bat" responded.

In Khimki they formed a column on the platform. It set out with the banner "we will clear the forest of fascist occupation, 1941-2010." The procession reached the town hall building in about five minutes, chanting "we will protect the Russian forest!" and "Dismiss Strelchenko (Vladimir Strelchenko, head of the Khimki administration - Kommersant)!" Protective ice hockey masks appeared on many, and also masks depicting the heroes of horror movies.

Seeing the crowd, the security guards fled their post at the entrance to the building. An Antifa activist signalled the presence of the indignant crowd by hitting the door several times with an axe. Stones were thrown at the windows and air pistols were fired. Some panes were smashed in the first minute. To constant chanting the crowd covered all the walls in graffiti with the inscription "Khimki forest." Over 50 people got their hands on coloured smoke bombs and set them alight. The smoke was so thick that the building was concealed from the eyes. Shocked locals who were walking their dogs by the town hall filmed the incident on their cellphones.

After five minutes the crowd lined up again and went back to the station. A police car tried to stop it, but bottles and stones were thrown at it. "That is for Beketov (Mikhail Beketov, chief editor of the Khiminskaya Pravda opposition newspaper, who was badly beaten up by unknown people and became disabled - Kommersant)," one of the masked anarchists repeated, bending to pick up a new stone. Another two police Uaz vehicles were waiting for the crowd at the train station, but they also had things thrown at them, and the vehicles went away. Reinforced police details only appeared at the station 10 minutes after the participants in the protest action had left. They got to the Petrovsko-Razumovskoye station without incident and went off in different directions.
"The police officers who arrived on the spot only saw the last people running for the train and did not manage to react at all," Kommersant was told by Yevgeny Gildeyev, head of the Moscow Region Internal Affairs Directorate's Information and Public Relations Directorate, told Kommersant.

According to his account, 90 young people in black bandanas arrived from Moscow on a commuter train at around 8.15 pm and headed for the town hall building. "Everything took them around three to four minutes. The action was probably thought through in advance to the second," he summed up. According to him, the Khimki police immediately passed on all the information to the Moscow Main Internal Affairs Directorate. However, at the time this issue was going to press not a single person had been detained.

Khimki Mayor Vladimir Strelchenko pretended throughout yesterday evening that nothing extraordinary was happening in the town. "They attacked and set fire to the building of my administration? That is the first I have heard! That did not happen," he told Kommersant. "There was an attack on the Gorshin picture gallery," Mr Strelchenko said after some reflection. "There are some works of art displayed there - I do not know what value they have. Goodbye!" During the next conversation, during which Kommersant's correspondent asked how the participants in the action had got to the gallery, which is located on the third floor of the administration building, Mr Strelchenko for some reason said: "You have got the wrong number." He did not pick up the receiver after that.

"Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is following the development of the situation concerning the chopping down of the Khimki forest and is receiving all information linked to this conflict," Dmitry Peskov, the prime minister's press secretary, told the Kommersant FM radio station yesterday.
by Aleksander Chernykh, Andrey Kozenko, Ivan Buranov, and Sergey Mashkin

http://www.kommersant.ru/doc.aspx?DocsID=1478645

Posted By

Blackblocinthewoods
Aug 1 2010 09:52

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Foristaruso
Aug 1 2010 12:09

Statement of the Russian section of the IWA in relation to events in Khimki

We, militants of the Confederation of Revolutionary Anarcho-syndicalists (Section of the International Workers Association in Russia) are in full solidarity with the residents of Khimki and with environmental community, who protest against the barbaric destruction of the forest Khimki during the construction of railroad route. We consider for intolerable that the city authorities are using gang of neo-Nazi thugs to fight the defenders of the forest.

Recognizing the validity and fairness of civil resistance, we warn at the same time against any attempts to translate an just public outrage in the nationalist channel. In this regard, we are appalled that in the recent protests in front of Khimki Administration, some persons acting on behalf of the "anti-fascists" and "anarchists", chanted chauvinistic slogans in support of the "Russian" forest, unfurled banners, deliberately written in Church Slavonic fonts, and called the current power "occupational", like German Nazis in 1941. We are confident that our environment does not belong to any individual "people" or "ethnicity", but is the common heritage of mankind and the key to its survival. Calls to protect "Russian" forest from certain alien invaders (as implied, "non-Russian") only fueled the nationalist sentiments and are completely unacceptable in the mouths of people who consider themselves "anti-fascists" and, moreover, anarchists!

We are outraged by the attempts of people, borrowing nationalistic slogans, to use for self-promouting the name of Stanislav Markelov who was a convinced antinatsionalist. We remember that in the pages of the “Red Book of Antifa" Stanislaw called leftists to abandon patriotic phrases. Attempts to invoke his name in the course of action under nationalist slogans are not allowed.

DEATH TO NATIONALISM!

OUT THE NATIONALISTS FROM SOCIAL MOVEMENTS!

NO WAR BETWEEN PEOPLES - NO PEACE BETWEEN CLASSES!

KRAS-IWA

29.07.2010

Foristaruso
Aug 1 2010 12:10

REPRESSIONS IN MOSCOW

In the morning on July 29, libertarian antifascist Alexey Gaskarov was arrested on the street by people in civilian clothes and taken to an unknown destination. As it turned out they were employees of the so called “Anti-Extremist Center" of police. They broke most of the rules, which are described in the Law. That night at his apartment was searched without a warrant or any other providing paper, there was no inventory of the property and witnesses.

Alexey is known in social amnd libertarian circles of Moscow and is opposed to violence and pogrom-style actions. He was never seen in the nationalist speeches. Therefore, it is clear that imposing on him the blame for the attack on the building of Khimki administration, during which slogans of national-patriotic nature were shot, the authorities try now to discredit the independent social movement.

Alexey is charged under "hooliganism". On July 31 the process began, and Alexey can obtain until 7 years of prison!

We encourage to disseminate this information and to protest.

Freedom for Alexey Gaskarov!

S2W
Aug 1 2010 18:11
Quote:
chanted chauvinistic slogans in support of the "Russian" forest, unfurled banners, deliberately written in Church Slavonic fonts

Look, I agree that it is most important to discuss if "save Russian forest" is a chauvinistic slogan, or if Church Slavonic fonts are politically correct from point of view of anarchist political theory, but this is perhaps not the most appropriate moment.

But thanks for sharing with us the position of the mighty international, I am sure it entertained many in this board.

BTW, anyone know where I may download anarcho-syndicalistically correct fonts, or ensure that my current fonts are not fascist?

Foristaruso
Aug 1 2010 19:13

The question about slogans is a question about action. Moreover, there was a cry "Beat the jews" ("Bey zhidow"). One can listen it in you tube film about action.

So, I propose don`t glorify this action and instead to help to anarchist comrade Gaskarov which is now in process against him (in false relation with the case). We will inform about address for send protest e-letters and faxes

Foristaruso
Aug 1 2010 19:16

A propos: plese anarcho-syndicalist fonts smile)

http://aragon.cnt-ait.es/wp-content/libertariaCNT.ttf

Enjoy ))

S2W
Aug 2 2010 00:01
Quote:
Moreover, there was a cry "Beat the jews" ("Bey zhidow"). One can listen it in you tube film about action.

In which moment of the film? Tell me minute and seconds.

Foristaruso
Aug 2 2010 04:07

LIBERTARIAN ACTIVIST UNDER THE TRIAL NEAR MOSCOW

URGENT SOLIDARIT NEEDED!!!

Comraders,

On July 29, some people with different political views were arrested. They are suspected in involvement in an protest action in Khimky city near Moscow in previous day. Among them is well known libertarian activist and antifascist Alexey Gaskarov. They are charged without any proof in organization of attack against city administration building. The defendants face up to 7 years of prison on charges of “hooliganism” and organization of mass disorder. New arrests are going. It is obviously that the authorities try clearly to discredite and to crush oppositional movements in Russia.

We call libertarian and antifascist activists of whole world to show solidarity with arrested anarchist comrade.

What you can made?

1) To send protest faxes and e-mails to address:

Khimky city court of Moscow Oblast
141400, Khimky
ulica Leningradskaya, 16
fax: (495) 572-83-14
himki.mo@sudrf.ru

To: President of Khimki Court
Mrs. S.B. Galanova

MODEL OF PROTEST LETTER:

At present, Your court examines the case against social activist Alexey Gaskarov.

Alexey Gaskarov was arrested on July 29 on the street by officers of “Center E”: in this case, the basic rules of detention under the law "On Milice” were violated. At his apartment was searched in violation of established procedures, without a warrant, compiling an inventory of seized property, and without witnesses. Suspitions and accusations against him (organization of attack against building of city administration in Khimky on July 28, 2010) are entirely groundless, and that manifested itself at the first meeting of the court. Allegations that he was arrested at the scene in Khimky is a lie. The so-called witnesses clearly lie and confuse the readings.

Under these conditions, we can not estimate the arrest of Alexey Gaskarov and this trial another as a purely political process, as an outrageous act of repression and violation of civil rights. We strongly protest against this lawlessness and intend to organize a broad international campaign of protests against the new manifestations of authoritarianism and dictatorial tendencies in Russia.

We demand the immediate release of Alexey Gaskarov and relieve him of all charges.

Name of organization, date, signature

RUSSIAN TEXT:

В настоящее время Ваш суд рассматривает дело по обвинению социального активиста Алексея Гаскарова.

Алексей Гаскаров был задержан 29 июля 2010 г. на улице сотрудниками центра "Э"; при этом были нарушены основные правила задержания, предусмотренные законом "О милиции". На его квартире был проведен обыск с нарушением установленных процедур, без предъявления ордера, составления описи изымаемого имущества и без понятых. Подозрения и обвинения против него (организация нападения на здание администрацию г. Химки 28 июля 2010 г.) являются совершенно бездоказательными, что проявилось на первом же заседании суда. Утверждения, будто он был задержан на месте инцидента в Химках является ложью. Так называемые свидетели явно лгут и путаются в показаниях.

В этих условиях мы не можем оценить арест Алексея Гаскарова и суд над ним иначе как чисто политический процесс, как возмутительный акт репрессий и нарушения гражданских прав. Мы решительно протестуем против данного беззакония и намерены организовать широкую международную кампанию протестов против нового проявления властнического авторитаризма и диктаторских тенденций в России.

Мы требуем немедленно освободить Алексея Гаскарова и снять с него все обвинения.

It would better to send letter both in English and Russian. So we recommend to use this model

2) To collect money for arrested Alexey Gaskarow (for lawyer etc.)

Webmoney (with remark: for Alexey Gaskarov):

Z170280498291 — $
E318901103117 — Euro

3) To be prepared for organization when necessary of protest actions in front of Russian embassies and consulates.

Comrades, we ask yoy for solidarity. The present arrests can be beginning of large-scale wave of political repressions in Russia

KRAS-IWA

Foristaruso
Aug 2 2010 04:27
S2W
Aug 2 2010 09:29

I think the shout is very unclear, it is by one person (perhaps random idiot from the city) and only once. If it was "bey jidov", I am rather sure he would have been beaten up if he did it other time and more clearly.

abc-msk-a
Aug 2 2010 10:17

At this time 3.37/3.38 the man, running behind the camera, shouts "Mercedes", it's rhyme to the slogan "russkiy les" (russian forest), maybe because this man didn't like the slogan or it's joke. Russian is my mother-tongue, I didn't hear any "bey jidov" and other fucking slogans on this video! Many people dislike this slogan, I mean "russian forest", though it was an irony to nazi scum's chant. It's just an attempt to show nazi, that they haven't anything, we just want to take back what they stole, the name of nation couldn't be a part of nazi "culture"! it's what it is all about!
I can't understand you, why are you against us, why do you want to put us down? Try to understand at first, and when - write such things!

Foristaruso
Aug 2 2010 10:54

Many people hear about "zhidy" and your tentatives are false. Of course, it was not cleare prononced. Of course, it was neither "official" slogan not position of majority of demonstrants. The question is another: by many antifa in Russia patriotism is tolerable.

In my opinion, such jokes are impossible! Moreover in Russia.

And an other question: you can imagine German antifa crying "Save GERMAN forest" and writing slogans with Gothic font? ))

abc-msk-a
Aug 2 2010 11:18

>Many people hear about "zhidy"
who are that people? Where you can hear "zhidy"?? I DON'T HEAR, for the life of me! You know, you act like fucking nazi scum, who write, that they see there like people throw up arms in "zeig heil", while people throw up fists! What do you want??

>patriotism is tolerable.
Not for me, not for my friens. Yes it's problem, that there are "public-spirited" antifa, but it's our problem, and we fight with it, like with nazism. Don't draw an analogy between Germany and Russia, everyone knows that it's not the same!

>such jokes are impossible!
Do you mean "mercedes" is impossible? Well, you are just dull beggar then!

S2W
Aug 2 2010 11:24

Actually, I also heard "Mercedes" but I could not figure out why someone would shout that, so I thought "bey jidov" would also be possible. But now I think "mercedes" is a more likely explanation, just as a joke from someone who thought it rhymes with "russkiy les".

S2W
Aug 3 2010 17:43

Khimki city court left in custody the both suspects of the attack on the city administration, Maxim Solopov and Alexey Gaskarov. They were remanded for two months.

Source: http://www.gazeta.ru/news/lenta/2010/08/03/n_1529159.shtml

(through https://avtonom.org/en/node/12897)

Previous articles on topic, including autotranslations on articles on falsifications of the remand court: https://avtonom.org/en/khimki

Yet there is no information on to which remand prison they are sent and if they will be allowed mail or not.

S2W
Aug 3 2010 18:19

there is a facebook support group here:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=123233894390151

magidd
Aug 3 2010 20:43

Foristaruso is a person who is far from real activity of russian anarchists and antifa.
The slogan about russian forest is strange and wrong in my opinion.
But nobody have right to call "nationalists" 500 antifa and anarchists JUST becouse one groop of people use that rong slogan.
Foristaruso is callin "nationalist" everyone who disagree with him.

magidd
Aug 3 2010 20:45

admin - flaming removed

+1

S2W
Aug 10 2010 09:06

 http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/khimki-battle-stirs-press-freedom-fears/412036.html

Khimki Battle Stirs Press Freedom Fears

10 August 2010

By Alexander Bratersky

An ongoing tussle over the Khimki forest is raising fears that media freedoms
are in jeopardy, with the police pressuring journalists into collaborating or
revealing their sources of information, media freedom activists said Monday.

In the most recent incident, investigators on Monday removed Alexander Litoi,
a reporter for the liberal Novaya Gazeta daily, from a train in the Moscow
region to question him about a July 28 attack on the Khimki City Hall
building.

The City Hall building was pelted with stones and smoke grenades by 90 to 300
attackers who protested what they called unlawful destruction of the Khimki
forest, slated for a partial demolition to make way for an $8 billion highway
despite protests from environmentalists.

Litoi said the police wanted him to disclose information about members of an
anti-fascist movement that took responsibility for the City Hall attack, Ekho
Moskvy radio reported. He said he was not present during the attack.

Last week, police officers visited the offices of several newspapers,
including Kommersant, asking staff for information about the attack.

The requests amount to an attempt to disclose journalists' sources, which can
only be revealed on court orders — something that investigators did not
obtain, said Andrei Rikhter, a media professor at Moscow State University's
school of journalism.

Police investigators have also visited the headquarters of the Svobodnya
Pressa online daily, asking for photos of the City Hall attackers.

Several reporters from Komsomolskaya Pravda and Moskovsky Komsomolets have
been summoned for questioning, and police officers have also visited the home
of the Gazeta.ru reporter Grigory Tumanov.

“These are attempts to discredit reporters,” Rikhter said, adding that the law
does not offer the media sufficient protection from police abuse.

“The media law doesn't ban [police] from conducting searches in offices of
media outlets and summoning reporters for questioning,” he said.

Moscow and Moscow region police spokespeople provided no comment on the media
freedom allegations Monday. A Khimki police officer who spoke on condition of
anonymity told The Moscow Times that police were only acting on request of
civil authorities in the case. He did not elaborate.

The relatively independent print media has become a source of irritation for
the authorities after television, the No. 1 source of news for most of the
population, was placed under firm state control in the early 2000s, said
Boris Timoshenko, a researcher at the Glasnost Defense Foundation.

He said the Khimki attack has served as a source of embarrassment for the
police because the police had failed to react fast enough to make any
arrests.

“They are looking for scapegoats,” he said.

Two suspects have been charged in connection with the attack and face up to
seven years in prison. The two deny involvement and claim that they were
targeted for being prominent figures in the anti-fascist movement.

Some media experts said the police have grown more bold in going after
journalists after State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov, who chairs the ruling
United Russia party, attacked two newspapers for critical articles following
the March 29 suicide bombings in the Moscow metro that killed 40 people.

Gryzlov claimed that articles in Vedomosti and Moskovsky Komsomolets about
Chechen warlord Doku Umarov, who claimed responsibility for the bombings,
showed that the newspapers “might have been connected with terrorist
activity.”

Both newspapers filed defamation suits against Gryzlov, but lost.

S2W
Aug 13 2010 23:15

Solidarity action with the defenders of the Khimki forest in Tel Aviv

Today, the 13th of August there was a picket of solidarity with detained on trumped-up case Russian anti-fascists - Alexey Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov. About 30 demonstrators protested against terror of the Russian government and its cooperation with the Nazis, they also demanded the immediate release of political prisoners and to take action against those responsible for beating defenders of Khimki forests, including the cops.

During the meeting, Putin was personally summoned to a straight up fight by one of the participators , who promised to "beat the Russian imperialism." Some time later, Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists (RKAS) hanged a statement about the events in Khimki, as well as an invitation to free market to be held in the heart of Tel Aviv next Friday.

RKAS - Israel and the Committee for Workers' International organised the picket.
Performance was organised by 4ert

(source and photos: https://avtonom.org/en/node/12992)

JoeMaguire
Aug 15 2010 20:54

Are there any updates?

S2W
Aug 23 2010 19:03

It is no way we may translate all news to English and post here.

Currently the most often updated English forum is the facebook group:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=123233894390151

You may also get an idea what is going on from autotranslations in avtonom.org:

http://www.avtonom.org/en/khimki

S2W
Aug 23 2010 19:32

Below article from the independent about yesterday's protest in Moscow.

it is important to note, that organisers let to the podium a speaker, appealing for solidarity with Alexey and Maksim, and also a large banner and fundraising for anarchist and anti-fascist prisoners (check photos from avtonom as well:
http://www.avtonom.org/node/13072)

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/rockstar-critic-takes-new-swipe-at-putin-2059366.html

Rock-star critic takes new swipe at Putin

By Shaun Walker in Moscow

Yuri Shevchuk

AFP

Yuri Shevchuk: the Russian rock singer performed at the Moscow protest rally

* Photos enlarge

sponsored links:

Hundreds of Russian police surrounded a central Moscow square yesterday as a prominent critic of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin led a protest concert against a road-building scheme that is becoming a focal point for demonstrations against the Kremlin. More than 1,000 people gathered at Pushkin Square to protest against a new road that will go through Khimki Forest just outside the capital, part of a new highway between Moscow and St Petersburg.

Organisers of yesterday's meeting had planned a protest concert by Yuri Shevchuk, one of Russia's best-known rock musicians, who confronted Mr Putin about democratic freedoms this year during a televised meeting.

But police surrounded the square and refused to allow any equipment in, forcing the singer to sing without a microphone through a barely functioning loudspeaker, from a makeshift stage. "Khimki Forest has become a symbol," said Mr Shevchuk before the concert. "It doesn't matter where you live. Everywhere there are environmental problems, and soulless bureaucrats who do all they can to make sure we have no fields, no forests and no rivers. They destroy it all and turn it into money to line their own pockets."

Activists say that there are several alternative routes for the highway that would avoid the forest. The long-running protest has led to several activists being detained, facing court cases and fines.

"All we want to do is breathe clean air," shouted Evgeniya Chirikova, one of the group's most prominent activists, at yesterday's meeting. "Can you hear us, Mr President? What else do we have to do to make ourselves heard?"

Ms Chirikova has been detained by police on several occasions, and after emerging from a courtroom three weeks ago was bundled into an unmarked car by police and driven away. She was later released.

Yesterday, Shevchuk sang songs including one called "When the oil runs out", which talks about a bright future for Russia when the country stops relying on exports of natural resources. In May, he confronted Mr Putin during a televised meeting between the prime minister and cultural figures in St Petersburg.

Shevchuk complained that Russia was ruled by "dukes and princes with sirens on their cars", and asked Mr Putin if he really wanted a society with real democracy where "people stop being afraid of policemen on the street".

In one of the most frank discussions that Mr Putin has faced in his decade in power, Mr Shevchuk also asked why police break up opposition rallies brutally. A visibly irritated Mr Putin said that "without a normal democratic development this country will have no future", and said protests should be allowed, within reason. But this did not stop police from dispersing, with their usual vigour, a large protest rally in Moscow a few days later .

Yesterday's meeting was allowed, but police blocked entrance to people trying to watch the impromptu concert. The Moscow Mayor's office said that it had allowed only a meeting, and not a concert, hence the banning of loudspeakers and other equipment.

Artemy Troitsky, a well-known music critic who spoke at the rally, said: "Khimki Forest has become a metaphor for everything that is wrong with Russia, like Chekhov's Cherry Orchard once was. Many of the people here are not particularly political, but by their actions, the authorities have turned this from an environmental protest into a political one."

In a separate protest, police detained two prominent opposition leaders, including the former deputy prime minister, Boris Nemtsov. Mr Nemtsov and Mikhail Schneider were detained for leading about 100 protesters through Moscow carrying a large Russian flag.

S2W
Aug 27 2010 18:15

Latest news - Medvedev ordered to halt construction. Below NY TImes article

Halting the construction is for sure good news for the forest, but it may mean
that our prisoners are forgotten now (before this, pretty much all of the
Khimki movement was solidly supporting arrested anti-fascists, although not
necessary all of them accepted the attack against administrative building of
Khimki 28th of July).

Kremlin Relents, for Now, to Foes of Highway
By MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ
Published: August 26, 2010
MOSCOW ‹ For years, environmentalists have risked arrests and sometimes
beatings by the police and masked plainclothes thugs in their efforts to
halt the construction of a highway linking Moscow to St. Petersburg that
they say would destroy the Khimki Forest, one of the few remaining in the
Moscow region.
Enlarge This Image
Pool photo by Mikhail Klimentyev

U2 frontman Bono, left, talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about
opposition to a controversial highway project.

Typically in Russia, such efforts lead to little but holding cells or worse
for proponents of a cause. But supporters of the Khimki Forest were handed a
surprising victory on Thursday when President Dmitri A. Medvedev reacted to
the public outcry. He postponed construction of the highway. ³Given the
number of appeals, I have made a decision,² Mr. Medvedev said in a message
on his video blog. ³I order the government to halt the implementation of the
decision to build this highway and conduct further civic and expert
discussions.²

He added, ³These have already been conducted, but taking into account
heightened resonance this issue has had in society, I do not see anything
wrong with returning to these discussions.²

The triumph came not a moment too soon for environmentalists and their
supporters. Workers had already begun to clear sections of the forest this
summer and had planned to resume in October.

³This has flabbergasted us. It was completely unexpected,² said Sergei
Ageyev, a member of the environmental group leading the opposition to the
highway. ³It is simply a stunning victory for civil society.²

The decision does not definitively halt construction, but was nevertheless
surprising given the strong-arm tactics employed against opponents. During
protests in the forest this summer, gangs of masked men attacked
environmentalists, beating several. The police have detained others.

Mikhail Beketov, an investigative journalist and outspoken opponent of the
highway, was savagely attacked by unidentified men in November 2008 and is
now severely brain damaged.

At issue is the fate of a 2,500-acre oak forest, north of Moscow in the town
of Khimki. Vladimir V. Putin, the current prime minister and Mr. Medvedev¹s
mentor, signed an order for the construction of a new highway traversing the
forest when he was still president.

Top officials in the federal government and the powerful governor of the
Moscow region have backed the idea as the simplest and most cost effective
way to strengthen transportation links between Moscow and St. Petersburg,
Russia¹s two largest cities.

Few dispute the need. Currently, the trip by car is a treacherous 430-mile
drive on a potholed road populated with aggressive truck drivers and
bribe-seeking traffic police officers. The journey can take 10 hours or
more.

Environmentalists have called for building the new highway close to the
existing road, which runs through an industrial zone. Building the highway
through the forest, they say, would disrupt the ecological balance of
Moscow, which depends on a shrinking belt of green space around it to help
filter air pollution.

³This forest is our air,² Yevgenia Chirikova, the leader of a protest
movement, said in an interview at a recent demonstration. ³If this highway
goes through the Khimki Forest, a hole will be punched in the protective
ring.²

This summer¹s 100-degree temperatures, along with the huge wildfires that
blanketed Moscow and the surrounding region with noxious smoke, seem to have
persuaded officials to look anew at the arguments of environmentalists,
especially since their calls to save the forest seem to have resonated with
many residents of this city and beyond.

More than 2,000 people gathered in central Moscow for a protest against the
construction plans last weekend, an exceptionally large turnout here. And
last month, hundreds of people raided the Khimki mayor¹s office, throwing
rocks and smoke bombs in retaliation for earlier attacks on
environmentalists defending the forest.

Environmentalists might also have gained a little help from Bono, the U2
frontman. He was in Moscow for a concert on Wednesday, and, after a meeting
with Mr. Medvedev, the Interfax news agency reported, offered the Khimki
Forest protectors his support.

S2W
Aug 29 2010 21:47

Moscow anti-fascist hospitalised with a brain injury following a torture by
police

26th of August, three plain-clothed officers detained anti-fasict Nikita
Nikolaevich Chernobaev in Moscow suburb of Ramenskoye, born 1991.  According
to lawyer and human rights activist Mikhail Trepashkin.,Nikita was taken to
local premises of Ministry of Interior, where an employee of the security
service FSB, began to demand from him a confession for his participation to
an action at the administrative building of the city of Khimki July 28, 2010.

During his first interrogation he succeeded to make a phone call to his
mother, saying that he was not allowed legal counsel and that he will sign
anything police demands. The mother asked: "Are they beating you up?". Nikita
answered: "Yes." Chernobaev was only released at 1 AM 27th of August , after
having signed a "confession" and an agreement on further cooperation.

After leaving the police station,  mother called an ambulance. Nikita told
that they demanded him to sign a confession about having been in Khimki and
witnessed some people having participated to the action,  and when he
refused, they beat him to the head and other parts of the body, dressed head
bag and blocked the air for breathing.

After such torture, he signed everything without reading it. After release, he
had visible traces from the  handcuffs on his hands, traces from suffocation
around his neck and a black eye.

 Paramedics brought Chernobaev to a hospital where doctors reported traces of
torture ito the local police station. They recorded a statement. After that,
the same three officers who beat Chernobaev attempted to pick up Nikita from
the hospital. For security reasons, he was transferred to a hospital in
Moscow However, this step does not guarantee him a calm treatment.

According to Trepashkin, these three police officers first declared to
Chernobaev that they are from the criminal investigation, and during
interrogation they claimed to be from the FSB,. They flatly refused to give
their names.

  Please call to number +7-496-46-342-10, and ask names of the people who
tortured him. It is with this phone they called mother of Nikita and tried to
find out to which hospital Chernobaev was moved.

Anarchist Black Cross of Moscow
P.O. Box 13 109028 Moscow Russia
abc-msk AA riseup DD net
http://www.avtonom.org/abc
http://www.myspace.com/abcmsc

We are now also in facebook - please like both of our pages if you have an
account!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anarchist-Black-Cross-of-Moscow/144050225617540
(in English)
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anarhiceskij-Cernyj-Krest-Moskva/146337378727567
(in Russian)

(source: http://avtonom.org/en/node/13141)

Foristaruso
Sep 3 2010 05:34

To magidd:

Oh yes ))) We in the KRAS are very very far from REAL activity. So far that 2 comrades from our organization made strikes in their workplaces in May. May be mister MagiDD made it too?

The "wrong" (only wrong??) slogan was used not by "a group" but by organizators.

For example, I call nationalist you which wrote about "jewish mafia regime" in Ukraine in 1919?

S2W
Oct 30 2010 08:52

Global action day 2.0

November 12–15, 2010: New International Days of Action
We Demand that the Russian Authorities Close the Khimki Case and Drop All
Charges against Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov

In late October 2010, Russian social activists Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim
Solopov were released from police custody on their own recognizance by the
Khimki Municipal Court. They had been arrested a day after a protest in
defense of the Khimki Forest on July 28, 2010. Now they are free pending
trial, but the criminal case against them has not been closed. They have been
formally charged with disorderly conduct, and if convicted, they could be
sentenced to up to seven years in prison. The dates of their trials have not
been set, but meanwhile prosecutors are demanding that Alexei and Maxim be
returned to police custody. Aside from Alexei and Maxim, there are two other
people who have been charged in the case, and prosecutors might bring charges
against even more people in the very new future. Since Alexei and Maxim were
arrested in late July, police investigators have been stubbornly fabricating
arrest protocols, evidence, and eyewitness testimony and using force to
extract statements from the hundreds of people they have hunted down and
detained. What will happen to all these thick case files filled with
fabrications? They will form the basis of the prosecution’s case in court.
And so the fact that Alexei and Maxim have now been released from jail is not
the end of the battle but a signal that we must continue to act decisively on
their behalf. We will not allow the authorities to cover up the illegal
destruction of the forest and the persecution of its defenders with the
soiled robes of counterfeit justice. We will force the authorities to close
the Khimki Case and drop charges against all activists!

Why do the Russian authorities insist on turning activists into criminals and
demanding prison sentences for them? For the same reason that they have
either not launched or halted investigations into the near-fatal beating of
journalist Mikhail Beketov, the murder of newspaper worker Sergei Protazanov,
and the numerous attacks on Khimki residents. The policemen who beat up
environmentalists defending the forest and arrested people participating in
legal pickets have not been punished. The police investigators who tortured
witnesses in the Khimki Case have not been punished. Can we expect fair
trials for Alexei and Maxim when we have witnessed lawlessness and injustice
so many times? Khimki judges have on numerous occasions shown all of us that
we cannot count on their respect for the law and common sense. We demand that
the case be closed!

The protest action that took place in Khimki on July 28, 2010, was a response
to the lawlessness and violence perpetrated against local residents,
journalists, and activists. It was a highly emotional response to the fact
that all previous protests had not just been ignored by the authorities but
had been cruelly suppressed. As a result of this protest, the Russian
authorities began heeding the voice of the forest’s defenders. The campaign
to defend the forest caught this gust of hot July wind and continued to act
using other means. The authorities must end their persecution of the people
who took part in this protest and the forest defenders. All charges against
Alexei Gaskarov, Maxim Solopov, and other activists must be dropped.

What You Can Do

1. During the international days of action on November 12–15, 2010, hold
eye-catching protest actions in your cities at official political and
cultural events organized by the Russian authorities as well as outside
Russian Federation embassies and consulates. Demand to meet with official
Russian representatives and give them your petitions. Any Russian company,
product or event can be a successful occasion for your protests.

2. Send faxes to the Khimki Municipal Court (+7-495-572-8314), the Moscow
Region Prosecutor’s Office (+7-495-621-5006) and the President of the Russian
Federation (+7-495-606-2464), demanding that the case be closed and all
charges against Alexei Gaskarov, Maxim Solopov, and other activists dropped.

3. Continue to send letters to such international organizations as the Council
of Europe, the European Parliament, and the UN, asking them to investigate
the abuses by Russian authorities and intervene in the case. You can find
contact information for these organizations here.

4. Work to get articles published in your local and national media that will
inform the broader public about the case of the Khimki hostages and the new
threats to civil liberties and the rule of law in Russia. Invite neighbors,
friends, and colleagues to your solidarity actions in support of Alexei and
Maxim, and ask them to join you in demanding that this fabricated criminal
case be closed.

Send information about your solidarity actions as well as copies of letters,
faxes, and media publications to our e-mail address: info@khimkibattle.org

Translations to German, Spanish and French languages are available at
http://www.khimkibattle.org, wait for more to come.

(through http://avtonom.org/en/node/13937)

S2W
Oct 30 2010 09:05

BTW I find it interesting, how in international scale, libertarian communist spectrum has been rather passive around this issue, although Gaskarov positions himself explicitly as a libertarian communist (he is a member of Autonomous Action).

Looking at the list of solidarity actions organised around previous action days
(http://khimkibattle.org/?p=1036&lang=en), we see that actions abroad are mostly organised by groups like climate activists, social forum spectrum NGO's, trotskists (!) and antifa without clear political orientation.

Could be that libertarian communism around the globe is pretty much a bubble, no matter how fancy libcom.org, and besides IWA and small networked platformist groups, no any libertarian communist movement really exists. BTW IWA was an exception in terms of solidarity, they did wrote a letter to Khimki town prosecutor which made a difference: KRAS published the absurd reply IWA secretariat received and this was small news with overall impact to the campaign.

In general of course sectarian position KRAS picked (support to Gaskarov but not to Solopov) means that they have nobody to work with on this in Russia, and no surprise if that letter writing will be both the first and last efforts from IWA, no matter how pompous declarations KRAS made in September about "getting an international campaign organised"

I get a picture is that libertarian communists in libcom are whining about action in Khimki 28th of July no being pacifist enough, whereas apparently this is not a problem for trotskists, NGOists and other reformists. Although of course opinions of individual syndicalist pacifists in libcom are maybe not reflect main reasons behind the general social anarchist passivity around this issue.

Foristaruso
Oct 30 2010 14:10

I`m fully desagree wiyh this. The position of KRAS is not sectarian but logical. I don`t think that we as anarchist must make campaigns for authoritarians because we aren`t masochists and we understand very well what they will make against us after his victory. It is very known from history. If any anarchists want to repeat old mistakes - so please without us.

As anarchists, we are against all repressions and prisons. But we make campaigns for people only which is not ennemy od\f anarchism. And we don`t support patriots.

The position of KRAS is shared by comrades from IWA. French CNT-AIT comrades signed also the declaration of KRAS about Khimki: http://www.ainfos.ca/fr/ainfos09058.html

The comrades from Polish ZSP also support this position as I know.

The Secretariat of IWA and the Spanish CNT sent message in support for Gascarov and not for both. The message from Spain and the idiotic answer from Russian juge to this (Gascarov will be in prison until his guiltylessness will be proved) helped much in making public reaction in the case and in the further liberation. It is confirmed from the people of general campaign made for both prisoners.

So thank you very much to all anarchists / anarcho-syndicalists which made protest campaign for comrade Gascarov after our appeal.

MT
Oct 30 2010 14:36

personally speaking, i think it was not publically clear what the KRAS position was. i may be wrong (feel free to correct me) but the fact that KRAS supports only one of the two came to my ears only on personal basis. on the other hand, i wouldn't be so strong against support of both, cos i think under other circumastances it could prove ineffective to separate the case (in terms of getting the guys out of jail). and it would be interesting to know Gaskarov's view on this.

oh, and the argument that "what will they do when they come to power", well, i see no connection with this and the case. or is the stalinist guy now about to come to power and wipe out all the anarchists? i am definitely for the historical comparisons and lessons to be taken, but come on, try to keep them in the contexts cos out of context they sound as some dogma one rather laughs at than takes seriously...

S2W
Oct 30 2010 15:09

To MT: Maxim is not a Stalinist, but he does consider himself as patriot. Alexey is one of his best friends.

To Foristaruso:

Quote:
Nous sommes atterrés que dans les récentes protestations devant l'administration de Khimki, certaines personnes agissants au nom des "antifascistes" et des "anarchistes", aient lancé des slogans chauvins en défense de la forêt "russe", qu'ils aient déployé des banderoles délibérément écrites en caractères traditionnels slavoniques ("vieux russe", caractéristiques de l'Eglise orthodoxe), et qu'ils aient caractérisé le pouvoir actuel de "puissance occupante", comme on le disait des nazis allemands en 1941.

MORT AU NATIONALISME ! NATIONALISTES HORS DES MOUVEMENTS SOCIAUX !

Nice that you have found Polish and French allies in your struggle against politically incorrect fonts (for those libcom readers who missed the story back in August, you may recap here: http://libcom.org/forums/news/anarchists-antifascists-attack-local-adminstration-building-29072010), it is about a time to purge social movements from incorrect fonts, having Maxim in prison would definitely be a necessary first step. I wonder where are other sections of the international - have they been infiltrated by supporters of incorrect fonts?