Oleg Kireev on 13 Feb 2001 03:11:09 -0000

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<nettime> 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 

  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 

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