Members of Bristol antifascists joined a sizable solidarity demonstration in London last weekend to let antifascists in Russia know that they are not alone and not forgotten. Some 200 comrades met at the awesome Cable Street commemoration mural in East London where there were speeches about the severe repression and state brutality being endured by our comrades in Russia and the urgent need for international solidarity. Accompanied by a sound system blaring out motivational antifascist tunes and flares, the demo then went through residential and shopping areas distributing information, talking with local people about the situation and showing our solidarity. There were more speeches and a rally at Altab Ali park in Whitechapel. This park is named after a 25 year old Bangladeshi man murdered in a nearby street by racists in 1978. It was a fitting place to hold our rally, standing together in the face of an upsurge of fascist and racist demonstrations, violence and murders worldwide.
Russian anti-fascists and anarchists are being arrested, framed and tortured in a brutal wave of repression which has put eleven Russian anti-fascists behind bars, facing obviously fabricated charges which could see them jailed for five to twenty years each.
The repression began in autumn 2017 when six anti-fascists were arrested in Penza and had weapons and explosives planted on them. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) tortured the anti-fascists in the pre-trial detention facility by electrocuting them, beating them and hanging them upside down. While torturing them, security chiefs forced the activists to memorise the testimony the FSB wanted them to give: that they were part of a fictional terrorist group called ‘The Network’.
Two more anti-fascists were arrested in St. Petersburg at the end of January 2018 and were also beaten, electrocuted and forced to incriminate themselves by saying they were members of ‘The Network’. A third person was accused in St. Petersburg and two more from Penza have also been arrested for supposed involvement in this make-believe organisation. The FSB claims that the detainees planned to arrange explosions during the presidential elections and the World Cup to “further destabilise the political situation in the country”.
After knowledge of the fabricated court cases and horrific torture became widespread, solidarity actions started to take place, but this led to more repression. Some Russian activists who took part were detained, electrocuted and had criminal proceedings started against them – just for expressing solidarity.
This repression of anti-fascists comes at a time when the Russian state are working with gangs of far-right thugs to repress the whole of civil society. One poignant example of this happened ten years ago, two Russian anti-fascists, journalist Anastasia Baburova and lawyer Stanislav Markelov, were murdered by fascists in broad daylight on 19 January. Every year, Russian anarchists and anti-fascists gather to remember them.
More info about the situation here: https://rupression.com/en/