Two well-known social activists and antifascists, Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov, were arrested and are now threatened with up to seven years in prison for disorderly conduct, although there is no evidence of their complicity in illegal activities. Meanwhile, the police continue to hunt down and harass other activists, especially those involved in the antifascist movement.
On July 28, 2010, more than two hundred young antifascists and anarchists carried out a spontaneous demonstration outside the town administration building in Khimki, a suburb of Moscow. They demonstrated in defense of the Khimki Forest, which was at that time in the process of beings cutting down for the needs of big business. The demonstration, during which several windows were broken, received a great deal of public attention. The authorities responded with a wave of repressions. The day after the demonstration, two well-known social activists, Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov, were arrested. They are now threatened with up to seven years in prison for disorderly conduct, although there is no evidence of their complicity in illegal activities. Meanwhile, the police continue to hunt down and harass other activists, especially those involved in the antifascist movement.
One of the reasons for this demonstration was the fact that Khimki authorities and the highway project contractor have used violence and other tactics against Khimki Forest defenders and even recruited nazi gang thugs to break up a peaceful protest camp organized by environmentalists and local residents.
Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov were arrested only because they are public persons who always speak in the name of antifascist movement at different events, whereas most antifascists try to retain their anonymity. So investigating authorities seized the first persons whom they know next day after demonstartion despite the fact there is no evidence of Alexei’s and Maxim’s complicity in illegal activities.
After the July 28 demonstration, the Russian police and secret services unleashed an unprecedented dragnet against antifascists. People who had even just once come to the attention of the Center for Extremism Prevention and FSB for their involvement with the antifascist movement have been forcibly taken in for questioning. In several cases they have been subjected to harsh physical coercion in order to compel them to give the testimony required by investigators. In addition, illegal searches have been carried out in their apartments. All these actions on the part of law enforcement authorities are violations of Russian and international law.
Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov are still in police custody for no reason at all for almost two months now. They are hostages of the authorities.
We ask you to show solidarityt and support NYC protests. Join our pickets on September 17th and September 20th. Help to free Khimki Hostages!
Few more facts:
– Several hardcore/punk shows were shut down in August because bands with clear antifascist stand were on the list. Most of the people at the shows were arrested and photographed/fingerprinted for police database just because they came to the shows.
– Those shows which were not shut down had strong presence of police, Center “E” (Center for Extremism Prevention) and FSB agents..
– Every person who had even just once come to the attention of the Center “E” and FSB for their involvement with the antifascist movement has been “invited” or forcibly taken in for questioning. Even those who just tried to bring food for Gasparov and Solopov.
– Some antifascists (A.Pahotin, N.Chernobaev, E.Baluev and others) were badly beaten at the police stations and were forced to sign needed fake testimony (including those against Gasparov and Solopov). Some of them had to seek for medical help after being released from such “questining”.
– On September 2, around 11pm there was an attempt to kill another active antifascist Vladimir Skopintsev “(Ukrop”) by shooting him. But the police wasn’t investigating the case but started to pressure on his brother Andrey trying to get info where is Vladimir now. Andrey was taken into a room, where the policemen threatened him with criminal prosecution for extremism and started to beat him up. Only in the morning Andrey and his father managed to leave police station, while Andrey’s passport remained with the police.
And these are just the events of last 1,5 months.
Russia looks more and more fascist state. While boneheads/far-right attack, beat, stab and kill people authorities pursue antifascists. That happenned before.. But present wave of repressions on antifascist movement is unprecedented.