Posted August 8, 2010
On 30 July in Moscow without being presented any charges the activists of anti-facist movement Maxim Solopov and Alexei Gascarov got arrested. Maxim and Alexei were known as public figures of the growing youth movement against the Nazis’ violence, which in recent years has done much to reveal the ties of state structures police and the ultra-rights in Russia.
Their arrest followed a series of dramatic events which took place in July, around the destruction of forest in Himki near Moscow. Big business and state bureaucrats having interest in cutting down the forest for realization of the multimillion dollar Moscow-Saint Petersburg highway project, launched an all-out terror campaign against the initiative group consisting of local residents and ecologists. On 23 July the peaceful camp of protesters was violently assaulted by thugs of private security firms and ultra-right football fans hired by the construction corporation. The police would not get involved. During the next week since 26 July the assaults on the protesters continued, while the cutting down of the forest – one of the biggest green zones in the nearest vicinity of Moscow – went on every day too.
On 28 July a group of radical antifa of about 400 held a symbolic protest rally against the corporate, police and Nazi lawlessness by throwing fireworks at the building of Himki’s municipal administration directly responsible for the situation around the forest. The rally was completed in just few minutes and police were not able to react and seize any of its participants. Despite the lack any personal data on any of the rally’s participants, on the next day the police held searches and arrests of people whose fault consisted just in their public antifascist and anti-capitalist stance. Besides, they arrested two journalists who were present at the rally’s location on 28 July and made photo and video shooting.
According to information from the press the assault on Himki’s administration was considered as very important at the very top, i.e. the Russia’ s President’s Administration which now is determined to find the culprits whatever it takes. Knowing the methods employed by Russian police and special services we have no doubt that in this particular case the use of methods of psychological and physical pressure is more then possible, not to exclude even the torture. It is even more possible since up to date there is no evidence of Alexei’s and Maxim’s participation in the assault.
In would not be an overstatement to say that the future of antifa movement in Moscow depends on the outcome of this case. The police spokesmen have already told the press that “it was time to show them their place” and break the growing movement out of authorities’ control.
We call on all left and working movement activists, antifascists and ecologists to voice their protest against the police harassment of Alexei and Maxim.
What can be done immediately?
Send protest letters on the following addresses or call phones:
Prosecutor’s office of Moscow region firstname.lastname@example.org 107031, Moscow, Kiselny М. per., d. 5
Prosecutor’s office of Himki 141400, 141400, Himki, ul. Mayakovskogo, d. 30; +7(495)571-62-35
Department of internal affairs of Himki (police station where the arrested activists are currently kept): 141400 Moscow region, Himki, Gogol st., 6; +7 (495) 572-0202 (police station), (495) 572-1209 (administrative office).
To address a protest to the Russian embassy in your country or – eve better – to organize a protest calling for immediate release of Maxim Solopov and Alexei Gaskarov.
Assist in disseminating this information as widely as possible
Information from the media on the campaign against destruction of Himki’s forest:
English-speaking blog of the defenders of the forest: