More protests needed to defend Russian activists

demoOne month ago, we, representatives of the Russian radical left, turned to you with a call for solidarity. We asked you, our comrades and fellow thinkers, all who treasure freedom and the just right of the people to protest, to go to the representatives of the Russian Federation in various countries in the world and express your attitude towards the unprecedented wave of political repression mounting in our country. We spoke about how the shameful “May 6th affair” was directed not against individual people or groups, but against the entire new protest movement that has arisen in Russia over the last year. Freeing political prisoners, consequently, has become one of the most crucial issues for the future of that movement.

The response to our appeal exceeded our expectations. Days of united action against political repression, November 29th through December 2nd, were held in 15 countries in the world. Actions of solidarity took place in London, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Milan, Dublin, Geneva, Colombo (Sri Lanka), Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, and also in Riga, Kiev, Kharkov and Almaty. Letters of support came in from Hungary, Belgium, Germany and Turkey.

Leading intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky, Étienne Balibar, Michael Levi and Alex Callinicos spoke out in solidarity with our demand for the immediate release of all those arrested over the “May 6th affair.” The internationally renowned director Ken Loach also expressed his support. During those days, activists gathered on the streets of 20 Russian cities, in order to clearly express one more time their readiness to fight for the freedom of the political prisoners. This massive campaign inspired the participants of the protest movement in Russia, and demonstrated our general capability for international mobilization.

However, that remains too little for victory. In the month that has passed since our appeal, the first of those arrested over the “May 6th affair,” Maksim Luzyanin, was sentenced to 4-5 years in prison. They are separating a second prisoner, Mikhail Kosenko, from the rest and planning to send him to involuntary treatment in a prison-like psychiatric hospital. Practically all of the other prisoners have had their pre-trial arrests extended until spring of next year. The Investigative committee at the center of the campaign of repression has already officially announced its readiness to start another investigation, linked this time not only to violence against police, but also to calls inciting massive disorder.

In Moscow new witnesses are being interrogated, searches are prolonged – and in the early morning of December 13th, police broke into the apartment of renowned film director Aleksandr Kostromov, currently the co-author of a documentary film on the Russian opposition. There can be no doubt that the Investigative committee is planning new arrests and is even now preparing a large political trial as an example.

With enormous gratitude and admiration for your support, we ask you not to stop, to remain attentive to the tragic events going on in Russia today. We suggest creating an active information network linked to the opposition to repression in Russia, and beginning preparations for a new series of protest and public actions in January of next year.

No to repression!
Solidarity is our weapon!

The Russian Socialist Movement
Autonomous Action
The Left Front

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