Alisa Nikoulina on Wed, 12 Apr 2000 17:34:51 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> mailradek #27

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text # 86
I came to Geneva to participate in an exhibition called "SAPIENS/SAPIENS",
arranged by Igor Sacharow-Ross in the UN office during the UN human rights
comission. I was to make a report on repressions against the leftist
activists in Russia, thus becoming a part of the exhibition.
The day before the opening of the exhibition, on the 20th of March, we have
distributed a press release announcing the exhibition and the report. It
contained brief information on the recent rise of the special police's
activity, which has a certain connection with the elections. There were also
a few words about the Chechen war and explosions in Moscow, which served to
the purpose of lifting Putin's rating and arousing mass hysteria before the
On the 21st of March, the day of the opening of the exhibition, the Russian
mission officials sent more than five protest notes to the German embassy,
which presented the exhibition, and the German embassador in Switzerland
with his two assistants demanded that we should remove from the exposition
any information concerning actual political situation in Russia, otherwise
the exhibition would be banned. I have recorded the talk with a tape
Besides, there was active intervention by subordinates of Vladimir
Petrovsky, the head of the UN office in Geneva. Elena Ponomareva, who is
occupying some position in his office, tore from the wall the photos of
Larisa Shiptsova, biographies of political prisoners Romanov and Biriukov,
the documents of the Moscow Project against political repressions and other
fragments of Sacharow-Ross's collage.
At the opening of the exhibition I tried to speak on the subject of
political repressions,being constantly surrounded by the UN security service
men (a special security department, which is not a subordinate of the Swiss
police). Vladimir Petrovsky and the German ambassador made speeches, in
which they said that Igor Sacharow-Ross "during all his life had been
dreaming of making an exhibition in Palais des Nations before the UN human
rights commission" and that his dream "finally did come true".
On the next day I met the head of Palais des Nations press-service Muhammed
Cherif and arranged my making a press conference on the 23rd of March
concerning political repressions in Russia and censorship in Geneva. When
everything was ready, the UN security service arrested me 10 minutes before
the conference. I was taken to their office, where they took away the badge
which allowed me to enter the Palais des Nations, and then they saw me to
the exit. The security officer (who was dressed in civilian clothes,by the
way) explained that it was done according to Vladimir Petrovsky's personal
Journalists in the UN building have a special right to arrange meetings and
speeches of the people for whom it is forbidden by the Geneva UN office.
That is why Muhammed Cherif finally suggested that I should make a press
conference on the 27th of March. He also promised to supply me with such a
paper which would grant me access to the Palace, and even the Palace
security service wouldn't be able to stop me.
While waiting for the thing to happen, i reflect upon the past and the
future. The thought is quite actual, because the elections in Russia are due
to tomorrow, and, if my conference takes place, it is going to be the first
anti-Putin public event. My reflections are particularly stimulated by ORT
broadcasts, which I can watch in the hotel, and also those of BBC, CNN,
German, French, Swiss and Italian TV channels, where they discuss Putin all
the time.
So far I have only managed to inform two major Swiss papers of the events.
These papers are Tribune de Geneve and Le Temps. Sacharow-Ross published an
article in the German paper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. I have also posted a
couple of messages on the Syndicate, an international Net mailing list. The
most exciting thing happened right after my being thrown out of the palace.
Taken by paranoia, i was afraid of going to the hotel - I thought they could
arrest me there - and used a Swisscom street computer for posting the
So my first reflections concern the press and TV, since it's Sarurday
evening now and I'm watching Sergei Dorenko's program on ORT. During the 90s
in Russia the leftist culture  managed to gain certain importance because it
had been exploiting the media for its purposes. In 1999 in the course of
several actions (such as "Sex money power" in June and throwing red paint at
the Duma in December) i  found out that they can no longer be used in such
way, because the journalists can now clearly differentiate between
profitable and non-profitable information. The information about the
radicals is neither profitable nor advantageous, and thus the journalists
are not concerned about it. The information of such kind used to be
important within the policy of "public opinion"-oriented democracy. Now it's
the media who create the public opinion.
In Europe this democratic freedom is unaffected by law, it is only
influenced by customers' concerns or by the market, but as for the law, the
media finds various loop-holes using its authority of a democratic
institution. Such loop-holes were used by Muhammed Cherif for arranging my
press conference in the Palace of Nations.
It is notable that in the Palace there is a prohibition upon direct
political propaganda, so the Russian mission representatives referred to
this very prohibition when protesting against the exhibition. During these
days i saw some Chinese and Kurds who protested against violation of human
rights standing outside the Palace gate.
We can easily get rid of quotation marks when speaking of democratic
liberties, because they can no longer be an object of criticism. These are
the liberties which exist under the social system called democracy. If it
were anarchy, the liberties would be quite different. During the 90s we had
been living under neither totalitarianism nor democracy. Having no state
organs, not feeling the state "taking care"of us, we had experienced
something close to anarchy. No matter what people used to say about
democracy. For example, it is democracy here in Geneva, and in Russia it is
now totalitarianism. Thus we have to struggle with the state as we used to,
but not against democracy for anarchy, but against totalitarianism for
democracy. It is important not to forget what democratic perspectives we
have managed to discover earlier.
Therefore one should pay specific attention to the style and intonation
recently acquired by the most radical representatives of the Russian
leftists scene. The ones who came in the vanguard of radical activities -
Larisa Shiptsova, for example - still remain there, but they have to speak
the language of the dissidents rather than that of anarchists. In the 90s we
used to make plans, do things, achieve local success. In the end of the year
1999 many of us looked back and saw that the rest could no longer do the
things they used to, because they had been either put in prison or searched
an interrogated. That's why we had to form the Commitee against political
repressions ect, to speak the language of "human rights", to read the book
"How to be a witness", which came back from the 70s, etc. Ilya Romanov,one
of the first to be put in prison, had written a text called "The Red
Dissidents". It is absolutely clear that my activities in Geneva were in no
way inspired by the belief in human rights or in the UN. I acted thus
because i had an opportunity to do something, because I happened to be here
in Geneva, during Putin's election. When the protests and arrests broke out,
I felt even more like acting, no matter what it could end up with. I had an
opportunity to annoy the coming power in rather an effective way.
The red, black and green dissidents should employ new methods of acting. The
media won't ever pay us as much attention as they used to. We should abandon
the humuliating role we have to play when inviting journalists to a
performance. The action should be direct. We don't have to think about
coordinating our activities. There can be no coordination center, but a
front of independent initiatives is necessary. These initiatives should be
able to form tactical coalitions when necessary. Every action which directed
towards the destruction of the system changes the way of history and makes
the situation more radical. That's why every kind of action is worthy, no
matter who acted. Every action must be effective, damn it! If nothing has
changed, why act at all?
Only those who prevent such actions or diminish their effect deserve to be
criticized. Usually it is connected with sectarian struggles and accusing
one's closest neighbours with deviating the righteous anarchist beliefs or
other similar principles. That's the way the Rainbow Keepers did, by saying
that they "would never work in collaboration with the communists"etc.,
though they, at the same time, had been arranging actions and piquets in
Pushkin square. That's the way the European squatters often do, but
mentioning them,  we risk drowning in a deep pool of mud that is nearly
impossible to get out of.

P.S. 6.04.2000. The conference took place on Monday, March 27th, the first
day after the elections. I don't know what sort of information has appeared,
but thanks to internet reports, at least the events became known to people.
Anyway, Andrey Sokolov had been arrested before I came back to Moscow, and
Larisa Shiptsova was arrested in the street yesterday.
Oleg Kireev

INFO: Larisa Shipsova was arrested in the street on the 5th of April. The
officials claim that Larisa was taken into custody as a "forced witness",
but some days before the event the head of the FSB investigation department
had informed Larisa's mother that this time Larisa was going to stay in
prison for quite a long period. Since Larisa is a nursing mother, she is
going to be put in investigation ward 6, where she will have to wait for
further verdict. However, it is possible that Larisa will be treated like
Andrey Sokolov - having been arrested in the end of March for 10 days, he
has been violently beaten several times, the guards tried to strangle him
with a gas mask, they also tried to rape him. Sokolov was threatened that
the same thing could happen to his wife Tatiana Nekhorosheva, who had been
arrested for the NRA case some time earlier.
Larisa's friend Andrey Sadovnichy had also experienced certain attention of
the FSB officials: they stopped him in the street and tried to put a packet
of marijuana into his pocket, but he quickly estimated the situation and
arranged a "voluntary giveaway" in the presence of witnesses. Secretly
planting amounts of drugs onto somebody is the FSB's usual practice, because
it's based on their assuming every radical person to be a drug addict, thus
drugs have now become as useful a reason for arrest as a book of
Solzhenitsyn in the 70s. Then the trial and the investigation is led under
their control, and the FSB interrogate the accused on completely different
issues, and the verdict is much more severe than in any usual drug case. By
the way, the cops and the FSB officials deserve to be tried on every
possible accusation connected with drugs, and that is certified even by
legal media, such as "Kommersant-vlast" (see 4th of April issue, article
"Cocaine for the elector").
The trial of Ilya Romanov, a veteran of the radical movement, one of the
editors of the "Grass and freedom" magazine, ended on the 5th of April. He
has been sentenced to forced treatment in a general type psychiatric
hospital. But the falsified drug case, which had been led under FSB's close
control with many violations of the law, is not complete yet. The project
against political repressions, which pays for attorney's services, intends
to make a legal complaint and send it to the Strastburg court, if necessary.
Again: The project against political repressions lacks money badly. Service
of one attorney for the duration of a trial costs at least $100, and the
budget of the project is practically depleted (while the need for attorneys
is constantly growing). Your financial support is badly needed. The project
account information:
Correspondent bank of Savings bank of the Russian Federation:
Bank of New York, New York, NY, USA
Account of Savings bank of the Russian Federation with correspondent bank:
Correspondent bank of Beneficiary bank:
Savings bank of the Russian Federation. Moscow, Russia
Beneficiary bank:
Savings bank of Russian Federation, Moscow Bank. Moscow, Russia
Cheryomushkinskoye branch 7980/0483. Moscow, Russia
Beneficiary customer (name, surname, address)
Model Dmitrii Alexandrovich
Izumrudnaya 11-44
Beneficiary account
42301. 840. 2. 3828. 0100191

Project against political repressions:

A conference called "Pro & Contra" is expected to take place in May in
Moscow. It is curated by Olga Shishko, Tatiana Goriucheva and Alexei Isayev
(MediaArtLab), and is dedicated to media culture, radical politics and
Internet. Participation of many analysts, practicioners, internet and media
campaigns curators expected. There also will be present journalists and
publishers, such as Misz Flor, Inke Arns, Ivan Zassoursky, Josefine Bosma,
Tetsuo Kogawa, Vadim Gushin etc. A catalogue will be published, and several
educational meetings and seminars will be help. Internet address is

Alexei Tsvetkov's site "Anarch" supported by publishing house "Guilea"
( is alive and functioning. It contains materials on leftist
culture and reviews of mass media products. The site is also supported by
Red Banner broadcast at Narodnoe Radio (612 kHz SW), and there's one
interesting thing: after the very first issue the site was completely
destroyed by some unknown hackers. The site had provoked some hostility even
before it appeared on the Net. English version of mailradek which had given
information about the site, provided a reason for an American anarchist
Laure Akai to spread letters filled with indognation against Tsvetkov,
containing such statements as "though he is no longer a Limonov's friend, he
's a fascist anyway". She also suspected the mailradek publishing team for
having incorrect convictions. Laure Akai, who had been living in Moscow for
quite a long time, is known as the author of many letters of such kind. She
has once distributed a list of Russian activists with whom the Western
anarchists should not communicate, for example, one shouldn't communicate
with Model because he once visited Northern Korea. That's why she had to
bring public excuses at the Anarchist Movements Association meeting.
They're so much concerned about the "purity of members" that they have
forgotten the aims of anarchism and resistance.

Special reading recommendations: Published in very small number of copies, a
book of an Austrian journalist G.-P.Martin and a German writer G.Schuman
called "The globalisation entrapment" appeared on the market. One of the
first books to introduce Russian readers into the widely discussed discourse
of globalisation of economics, concentration of capital, world-wide
monopolistic elite. The book is expressively written, sometimes too
pathetic: the authors speak from the position of social justice, but
nevertheless give a whole lot of interesting facts and give a good idea on
the subject.

Sites to visit: (the homepage of mailradek project, information on
political repressions, radical politics, culture; the Against all parties
compilation. In english and Russian) (Vadim Gushchin's homepage, intellectual projects and magazines) (the homepage of the Project against political english and russian) (Alexei Tsvetkov's site, in collaboration with Guilea
publishing house: leftist culture and politics; mass culture) (Ivan Zassoursky's site: joking on Putin's election,
information on the boycott of the elections. In russian and english) (ArtMediaLab site: a conference for Internet and
political campaigns. In russian) (mailing list for the elections, political
technologies, boycott and Against all campaign.)

translated by Alexei Kovalev

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