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(en) Anarchist anti-fascist actions in Russia 4th of November 2006 - a preliminary report (from www.avtonom.org)

Date Sun, 05 Nov 2006 10:03:12 +0200


preliminary report -- Last year, Russian authorities decided finally to get rid of the ceremonial

weight of the October revolution, scrapping the holiday of 7th of
November (which had for years been called "Day of pacification and
agreement"). But as increasing amount of working days would hardly make you
re-elected, a new holiday had to be added to calendar - 4th of November,
"Day of unification of the nation". As part of the same reform, mayday
holidays were shortened from two to one day, but holidays around New Year
were increased to ten days.
What is exactly speaking celebrated 4th of November? Orthodox
Christians celebrate "Day of the icon of Kazan godmother", which according
to legend was protecting militia of Pozharskiy and Minin during fight to
expulse Polish army from Moscow in 1612. But there was no fighting in 4th of
November - main battle, takeover of Kitay Gorod fortress which was then in
outskirts of Moscow took place 1st of November. Confusion with the dates is
a result of isconversion of dates from Yulian to Gregorian calendar - but
apparently nationalists and religious fundamentalists do not care too much
about math, as much of the mathematicians have been racially impure anyway.
And in the end, victory of Pozharskiy and Minin was worthless since next
year throne ended up to Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov, who had collaborated
with the Polish, and whose family was to loot the country for the next 300
years.

But no cause is too illogical for a nationalist to celebrate. And last
year they were pretty successfully - "March of the right" in Moscow gained
3000 participators, making it the biggest nationalist show off in Russia for
a
decade.

Much has happened during the year - first open collaboration of
Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) with emerging nationalist
umbrella Movement Against Illegal Immigration" (DPNI) in various social
protests and
during Mayday demonstration in spring of 2006, then raise of DPNI to
national and international prominence after their successful agitation for
pogroms in city
of Kondopoga in Karelia and resulting ethnic cleansing of the city
from Caucasian Migrants. This has eventually resulted KPRF distancing itself
from DPNI, but meanwhile nationalists have gained new allies from
Zhirinovsky's LDPR party, and first of all from Rodina (Motherland) party, a
pro-Kremlin "left" set up to take over communist electorate, and in
formation of which nationalists organizations played a prominent role.

Thus DPNI could build this years "Russian march" with help of
authority of a number of Duma deputies, but last years march with open
hard-line Nazi participation and events in Kondopoga had caused too much
public outrage for march to be allowed. Eventually among major cities
"Russian march" was only allowed in Irkutsk, and in most of the other cities
nationalists had to join other demonstrations or stay home.

Moscow

Moscow nationalists gained most of the previous hype, and last year
nationalists from many other regions had traveled to Moscow. Until very last
moment, DPNI was defiant, declaring that they will go for an illegal action
in case of a ban, if necessary in Moscow metro. Only in the very last moment
they announced that they will join legal demonstration by "People's will"
nationalist organization in Maiden Field square close to Park Kultury metro
station - it remains a mystery why nationalists wanted to demonstrate in a
square where a statue of religious anarchist Lev Tolstoy is located.

Although this announcement was made only one day before, anarchists of
and not of Autonomous Action had enough time to bomb square and its
surroundings with anti-fascists slogans and stencils - under statue itself
it was written "No-one is illegal", "It's no way to understand racists by
reason" and "Fascism won't trespass", stencils had texts "destroy fascism"
and "Antifa!" with some international clip art. Marching route of fascists
from metro was covered with slogans "Death to Nazism!", "Destroy fascism!",
"Antifa", "Russian=Jew=Caucasian=Human being" and others.



Already more than a week before collective of the website of
Autonomous Action had called for autonomous, non-centralized actions to
disturb fascist plans, as it was clear that no counter actions with a
reasonable anti-authoritarian political content would be allowed, but it
seemed likely that Nazis would be allowed at least a meeting if not a march.
In retrospect, this was the right judgment, but not enough to have something
even relatively successful organized in Moscow. Apparently many anarchists
have not yet realized, that even anarchists do not need leaders, but instead
they expect someone else to organize a show for them. Besides the graffiti
action night before, only decentralized anarchist action was a banner drop
10:35 at square of three stations where metro station Komsomolskaya is
located. This metro station was DPNI convergence point in a plan aborted a
day before, but a number of Nazis were gathering in the square. Banner had a
text "Death to Nazism" with a crossed swastika, and it was dropped from a
railway bridge - banner was in place for 10 minutes and none of the
participators of the action was arrested.






Anarchists were also splinted in the question whether to participate
some of the other Anti-fascists initiatives - these were networking around
Russian Antifascist Front (with curious initials RAF) of right-wing liberal
orientation, and

Left Anti-fascist Front (LAF) which included groups from Russian
indymedia collective and lesbian- bi- gay- and transsexual activist to
Trotskyites and Stalinist youth organization AKM (Vanguard of Red Youth).
RAF was only movement to have a legalized meeting, in Marsh square at Moskva
river.



Positive side of KPRF flirting with fascists is that a number of
communist youth organizations have developed towards more autonomous
direction,

even Stalinist AKM welcomed gay and lesbian activists to their
traditional annual "Anticapitalism"-demonstration in September. This
disappointed traditional AKM allies the National Bolsheviks to such extent
that they did not joined the final rally of "Anticapitalism 2006", and
perhaps there will now be a row between AKM and nazbols for good. In another
hand, AKM is still hardly any anti-authoritarian Organization, and according
to preliminary reports no participators of LAF could organize anything very
interesting to disturb fascist action, so yet there is few base for "let us
stick together" argument of "left unity" anarchists. Eventually most of the
LAF joined right-wing liberal RAF action, but it remains to be seen if
anything positive may emerge from the resulting mish-mash of 1990's
murderous neo-liberal reformers, Stalinist youth, well-intended
"independent" anti-fascists and "left unity" anarchists. A number of
hard-line Nazi groups promised to attack RAF demonstration in Marsh square
but little came out of their plans.



Eventually Nazis managed to rally up to 1000 people to Maiden Field
square, this was three times less than last year, but pretty much taking
into account promises of authorities to suppress any nationalist protest
with a heavy hand. Liberal demonstration was about the same size. More than
200 people, most of them Nazis but also some anti-fascist were arrested,
apparently most of the Nazis were arrested randomly before they committed
any violence. Reportedly Nazi goons beat up some journalist at their
meeting, but no other violence has been reported yet.



Although guess of Autonomous Action group of Moscow about course of
events was quite right, it was still hard to organize anything successful as
it is always harder to organize a counter-action than it is to organize in a
situation where you are having the initiative. Fascist plans and policies of
the authorities were just changing too quickly for us. During last few years
interest to common anarchist street actions has been falling in general in
the scene, and in Saturday morning it became clear that critical mass for
having an illegal anarchist march may not be reached .



There is no lack of people in extreme antifa actions - 15th of
September it was up to 100 people storming fascist concert in club "Tochka"
in Moscow, this is not only more people than in any anarchist action in
Moscow during a decade (with exception of anti-G8 protest in June), but also
more than any independent political youth organization besides national
Bolsheviks may bring to their actions in Moscow. Last year 4th of November
antifa smashed boneheads successfully in Chistie Prudy metro station, but
results

of militant antifa this year are unknown to us - Autonomous Action
prefers to organize actions which are not so exclusive in terms of physical
and

psychological requirements, and which do not result us getting
classified as a terrorist organization. But these days our kind of actions
are less popular than extreme sports Moscow style.


St. Petersburg



This far only reports from St. Petersburg are from mainstream and
fascist sources, and they are contradicting each others to some extent,

thus there may be mistakes in the following reconstruction of the
course of events.



Although St. Petersburg mayor Matvienko had promised to suppress any
nationalist actions with a heavy hand, police did not put much effort to
stop

nationalist march leaving from movie theater October to main St.
Petersburg street, Nevski prospekt. Some 200 nationalists participated to
the march, and hard-line Nazi component with "traditional Slavic" sieg heil
greetings was even more visible than in Moscow. Nazis carried picture of
pagan god Perun and shouted "All power to Slavs", "Kondopoga" and "Long live
Rusi" (ancient name of Russia).



Some 40 anti-fascists attempted to block fascist march in the crossing
of Nevski prospekt and Liteiny prospekt, most of these anti-fascists were
anarchists but some authoritarian Marxists and democrats were involved.
Originally Nazis retreated, but eventually they managed to run over
anti-fascists whom they outnumbered 5 to 1, pepper gas which anti-fascists
shot to defend themselves was not enough. Police did not interfered
beginning of the fight, but then they arrested people. Nazi sites are
bragging about antifa taking heavy casualties, but this information must for
sure be taking with a big grain of salt.



Eventually OMON stopped Nazi march at Fontanki, and authorities could
force Nazis not to organize planned rally at Kazanskiy cathedral. 120
people, among whom both fascists and anti-fascists have been reported
arrested during the day, but most of them were released during evening. It
is yet unknown if charges are pressed against some anti-fascists.


Tyumen



In Tyumen of Siberia, anti-fascist action was organised by local group
of Autonomous Action in cooperation with Yekaterinburg group of Autonomous
Action. Meeting took place from 11 to 12 AM in central square of Tyumen (at
statue of Lenin), protest was directed against racism, Nazism and fascism.
Action was legal and gained much attention from different mainstream media.
30-40 people were participating, which is pretty much for Tyumen. Besides
Autonomous Action which organized action, people joined from United
Antifascist Front, greens, AKM, Vpered (trotskists), Memorial and other
organizations. Authoritarian Marxists behaved themselves and did not make PR
for their sects. There were banners "Our fatherland is the whole humanity",
"Dump Nazism", "Capital is father of fascism" and others, and plenty of
black and red and black flags. Speeches were made and there was some
guerilla theatre, leaflets were distributed as well. Some Nazis were seen
monitoring the meeting, but eventually no-one tried to jump the
participators.


www.avtonom.org collective

(check also russia.indymedia.org for pictures and video footage)
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