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[Nettime-bold] mailghetto # 36 (A.Biriukov's letter)
Oleg Kireev on 13 Feb 2001 00:16:05 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] mailghetto # 36 (A.Biriukov's letter)

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Alexander Bitiukov is one the mostly discussed political prisoners who is injailed now in connection with a criminal case on the FSB’s office explosion at April, 1999. He’s also a second Larisa Schiptsova-Romanova daughter’s father.

“Revolutionary greetings to all the St. Petersburg anarchists!

(…) When giving the anarchists the name of left, ultra-left activists, I therefore accept the common terminology used by mass political language. I can’t say I’m satisfied with this kind of liberal bourgeois vocabulary, but at present moment my using it for communication with various different people appears to be quite effective for mutual understanding. So I’ll go on using it in my speech.

Let us go straight to the subject which is most actual and important for me. The case of NRA. My respondents usually avoid (personal responsibility) expressing their own opinion about NRA in their letters. Don’t get me wrong, I’m deeply thankful to all people who render support to both me and my friends, but often I cannot fully comprehend the point of view which many people who help us keep to. Everything’s so complex that there is no making head or tails of it. I shall now try to describe the situation as I see it. There is a criminal case on various acts of terrorism, and there is an organization named “The new revolutionary alternative” which took the responsibility for these acts. There are also people who are accused of being involved in the NRA, of organizing and executing those acts of terrorism. There are six such people and they’re currently kept in custody in several Moscow prisons. The accused themselves strongly reject their being involved into the NRA activities. Leftist terrorism is not a common thing for our country, and thus the erection of the NRA case caused quite expectable intellectual ferment among anarchists and communists. Opinions are stated, compassion or hostility is expressed, various actions dedicated to NRA are held. The range of opinions is great, and I want to describe the most common ones for example. The following opinions touch upon both NRA and the accused on the case.

  1. The accused are victims of political repression.

    I am not a victim! I am also sure my comrades do not accept this status either. As a rule, the term “political repressions” is considered to bear the meaning of preventive punitive measures undertaken by the ruling regime against persons or social groups potentially able to actively counteract the politics carried on by the state. I don’t really think this definition suits to what happened and still happens with me and my comrades. I believe that we are political prisoners rather than victims.

  2. Political prisoners.

    This definition seems to be objectively describing all the accused. Each of us, the accused, participated in social and political activities in different ways in proportions. Each of us insisted that: the state in its current condition or a state in general brings no benefit to its people, hampers social progress, enthralls the masses, serves to the purpose of a very small social stratum to the detriment of all the rest, and in general is inhuman.

    Therefore I can say with full confidence that our imprisonment is the reaction of the state to our struggle, and since this struggle takes place in the domain of politics, we are thus political prisoners. We fight the state, the regime using our own methods, and it in turn strikes back with its own. We fought and still fight the state with full understanding of possible consequences and from the point of view of the state we are far from being innocent lambs.

    Whether we are guilty of what we are accused with or not is another question, from the field of struggle tactics.

  3. NRA is a terrorist organization.

    Information about NRA is scarce and contradictory. However, judging by what is actually known, one can conclude that terrorism is not the goal-in-itself of NRA. The correct point of view is to consider NRA a leftist-oriented organization that resists the antihuman politics of the ruling regime with its own radical methods which include terrorist activities. We don’t know anything about legal methods applied by NRA, but this fact does not mean that such methods are not applied by the organization at all.

  4. NRA is either non-existing or provocative organization.

Those who insist on the fact that NRA is a mythical organization must also accept the existence of some non-corporeal beings which execute explosions in Moscow from time to time. The very fact of those explosions and also the fact that NRA took the responsibility for them make the epithet “mythical” false. I also admit that people who use this epithet are simply ignorant.

As to provocation, I can say that every kind of provocation has its goal. By saying that NRA’s activities are provocative people mean that conducting acts of terrorism provokes the state to apply repressive measures to the environment from which the organizers of terror originate. It is absolutely true. And not only terror. Activities of opposition in every country cause the reaction of the authorities. However, in some countries the authorities prefer to eliminate the reasons that cause criticism, and in some eliminate critics themselves. Russia seems to be following the second path.

I don’t understand how people who accuse NRA of being provocative imagine political struggle in general (I mean in Russia). It applies very simple arithmetic. If the state represented by the ruling regime considers you a threat to itself, then, guided by just common sense, tries to annihilate you in moral or even physical way, or does everything within its power to restrict your ability to function. If you do not pose any real threat to it, then you can hope for relatively calm life with calm and peaceful people just like you in a political reservation. But if you don’t pose any threat, who are you at all? Fancier of some sort of political twaddle? Then go in peace, get out of our way, don’t try to call people who do something real “provocateurs” while protecting your ass even in safety!

What else do people who call NRA a provocative organization have in mind? Perhaps they want to keep themselves from suffering occasionally, groundlessly? They say “we’re ready to fight, but we surely don’t want to pay for the deeds of the others”… This way of thinking is also unacceptable for the opponents of the regime. Every NRA action, as far as I know, was motivated by several demands and requirements typical for most leftist movements. One’s belonging to some definite party could not be clearly seen in these demands, for both an anarchist and a communist can say the same things. NRA methods can be protested after all, but its goals – never! Therefore, NRA cannot be considered to be a stand-alone organization, isolated from the leftist movement. It used to support the common cause, resisted the regime, and common cause means sharing the difficulties. There was much arguments whether the people kept in custody really belong to NRA or they are just victims of slander, hostages in the game that FSB plays. I think it does not matter now. All the accused on the NRA case belong to various political movements. Raks, Sokolova and Sokolov are young Communists from RKRP-RKSM(b), Nevskaya is anarchoecologist from “The Rainbow keepers”, Larisa Shiptsova (Romanova) is an active participant of the Anarchist movement association, participant of many ecological and rights-defending projects (after joining RKSM(b) in 1999, Larisa was automatically excluded from AMA ranks. This fact does not mean that we cease to support her and other political prisoners – ed.). I don’t belong to any movement, so you can call me just a progressive young man. Each of the organizations mentioned can consider accusations against its members to be an act of aggression on the part of the state and regime. The conflict is escalating. And thus I can say that whether the accused actually belong to NRA or not is a question of little importance. For instance, if Nevskaya really blew up something, then, by arresting her, the state in turn blows a strike not against Nevksaya personally, but against “The Rainbow Keepers” instead. Nevskaya is only an excuse for this blow. And if Nevskaya did not blow anything, in this case her arrest is nevertheless an excuse, now a really forced one, which states a new era of anti-ecologist policy. I can say the same thing about every other accused man and organization. In order to prove the fact that the case of NRA is just an excuse for starting a legal war against the leftist and ultraleftist movements I can also remind you that the first NRA actions took place in 1996 and were repeated many times since. Now that, according to the FSB press service, the head members of NRA have been arrested, it turns out that during all this time the accused did not hide anywhere, led active political life and advocated radical methods of struggle instead of trying to conceal them. And still the secret police could not reach them. What does that mean? Either FSB employees are exceptionally stupid or NRA is a remake of “Red devils” made real. Of course nothing of the sort. The ruling regime cannot ignore various acts of extremism already. The restoration of capitalism in Russia has ugly, morbid forms and is taking very difficult course. The masses begin to protest slowly but firmly. The protesting masses make good ground for various radical leftist movements that are capable of not perhaps stopping the restoration of capitalism at all, but correcting its course not to the benefit of the propertied classes. This is obvious, and the regime, still bound by its own laws, tries to successfully suppress the left in a seemingly legal way.

That’s how I see NRA, and I think that NRA should be supported by leftist powers (which include anarchists, as to my opinion), should become the symbol of protest and the school of solidarity. Collaborate actions of support to the accused on the NRA case can bring much experience in coordinating rights-defending activities. One does not need to approve or disapprove the actions of NRA. One should only believe that at the present moment legal methods of defending one’s rights, and first of all the right to live, do not work in Russia, that one’s ability to apply these rights fully depends on the will of the state which is not at all interested in this. In official politics held by the state one can also clearly see features of genocide against its own people. All these things give people the moral right for armed resistance in any possible forms. That’s all. By supporting NRA you support the resistance that belongs to people, not to any party.


Letters to political prisoners should be sent to:

111020, Moscow, E-20, p/o box 201, Nevskaya Olga Aleksandrovna

103055, Moscow, str. Novoslobodskaya 45, IZ 48/2, Biriukov Aleksandr Anatolyevich