Solidarity needed – Russia

Socialists brutally attacked after environment protestOrganise protests at Russian embassies and against the Vinci company – send copies of solidarity Following a week of intensive actions against the attempts of the French company Vinci, supported by the Russian government, to cut down a section of an important forest providing vital green cover for Moscow, particularly in the current heat wave and smog, a group of 15 thugs, at least one of whom was armed with a baseball bat, has attacked three Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) members in Moscow.

One has had his eyes damaged, another ended up with stitches. The third, Igor Yasin, a leading member of the CWI, has been badly hurt with a broken skull. At the time of writing he had spent an uncomfortable night in hospital where doctors were unable to stop the bleeding and he is currently undergoing an operation.

The attack took place in a most cowardly manner. A successful protest had been held in the centre of Moscow against the attempts to rip out the forest. But the fascists obviously did not want to attack a large group of people. It was two hours later that the three suddenly found their way blocked by these thugs and although Gosha and Ivan managed to get to the nearby Metro for cover, Igor was viscously attacked.

Afterwards the thugs run off shouting “Russia – vpered” – “forward Russia”.

Witnesses report that the thugs were dressed like football fans, in much the same way as those that attacked the camp of the environmentalists defending the Khimkinskii forest at the beginning of the week. Once again the ultra-right thugs have demonstrated that despite all their words about fighting the regime, in reality they are just pathetic marionettes used by the regime and its big business backers to try and frighten political and social activists. They will not succeed.

The Vinci company is a major French construction company, whose website carries several news stories presenting it as a caring and socially responsible company concerned about the safety of its personnel and the environment. Yet it is quite happy to stand by while the Putin’s police regime and these fascist thugs are used to protect their business interests in Russia.

This attack comes at the end of a week of wide scale attacks on Russia’s opposition. At the beginning of the week, the environmentalist camp in Khininskii forest was broken up by a similar group of thugs, during which police looked the other way commenting ‘this is what you get for attacking Putin’. Fifty people were later arrested as they tried to join the environmentalists in solidarity. In St Petersburg over 90 were arrested, and in Moscow another 50 for their attempts to take part in protests to protests at further restrictions, on democratic rights. Individual arrests have also taken place on framed up charges of two young anti fascists and the leader of the environmentalists.

But such attacks will not succeed in stemming the flow of protests that is expected to grow in the autumn as budget cuts begin to bite.

On the contrary, they just show that activists have to step up their struggle.

The CWI in Russia is demanding:
– An end to the persecution of protesters and anti fascists
– An end to the use by the state and big business of violent thugs against peaceful protesters
– An end to the destruction of Russia’s forests and green belts in the interests of big business and the elite
– For an open conference of environmental groups, workers’ organisations and residents to draw up a proper plan to tackle the environmental and transport crises in the interests of ordinary people and not big business.
– For an end to the Putin-Medvedev police state, to be replaced by a democratically elected government of working people with a socialist programme.

Please organise protests at Russian embassies and where possible against the Vinci company. Please send copies of solidarity to Igor and the other comrades at:

iasineigor@gmail.com

with copies to

robert.cwi@gmail.com

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