Press release: Solidarity with Two Activists Arrested in Moscow

On January 19th, 39 activists were arrested in central Moscow with libertarian communists, left communists and anarchists among them. They were involved in a campaign protecting tenants from “raiders”[1]. Next morning they were released, but two activists were re-arrested and taken to the Khamovniki police station. They are detained for 48 hours with a criminal charge under article 213 - hooliganism (5 year imprisonment) opened against them. The detainees' surnames are Pogosov and Polozenko.

Some context

A workers’ hostel in central Moscow, inhabited by 10 families, have been targeted by private eviction raiders. Legal means of eviction had failed due to the families' registration. Instead, the building’s' status was changed from residential to industrial. This allowed the private security raiders to harass the tenants by other means. The raiders insist that the tenants have been provided with flats outside of Moscow, but these are still in possession of the “Moscow Silk” firm, which is threatening eviction.

On January 14th, stoves and tables were removed from the kitchen. Audio and Video surveillance was set up, a security guard was stationed at the premises and a coded lock installed at the entrance.

On January the 15th the hostels were stormed by security. They took a door away and broke through a wall of a room inhabited by a women and her 6-year old child. Activists and lawyers were barred from access. Only one activist managed to get inside. Talks with security broke down, and the tenants remained imprisoned in their own homes.

On January the 18th the water supply was cut off.

On January the 19th the 39 activists were arrested on Bolshoy Savvinkiy Street. Prior to this, they had assembled at the hostel’s entrance and attempted to break through to the tenants, who were still trapped inside. The Moscow Silk raiders are attempting to evict their former workers and their families with the help of hired security. The social and political activists, which included libertarian communists, left communists and anarchists, organised a 24-hour watch at the halls, but security erected grating at the entrance. On the 19th, activists were met with gas and steel girders, but nevertheless broke through into the hostels.

Police were at first reluctant to intervene, and only removed some journalists from the stairwell used by activists to access the tenants. After that, the police negotiated with the Moscow Silk raiders to switch electricity in the hostel back on.

Then, at 20:15, the police received an order to storm the premises. Everyone but tenants and journalists were arrested and taken to the Khamovniki police station. No cases were filed, but some activists were at times separated for “talks”. The next morning, everyone was released. However, as the day went on two activists (Pogosov and Polozenko) were re-arrested and were returned to the station, and have been accused under article 213, which may lead to a 5 year sentence.

This is not the only instance of tenants being raided for eviction and of anarchists and left communists coming to their aid.

We call for an end to bourgeois and police harassment! Freedom to the prisoners!

Anarchists and Left Communists of Moscow

[1] Raider means invader, encroacher or usurper. So they are people who illegally take someone's property by making fake documents or bribing authorities. In Russia such people are called raiders. In the situation above the firm "Moscow Silk" have stolen housing from workers.

The image at the top of the article says "so many people without houses, so many houses without people"

Wednesday, January 23, 2013