Archive for March 2008
On Saturday March 22nd at 3 pm we were surprised to receive a visit from the landlord of our headquarters offices in Moscow, a visit which had been expected the following day at noon. No sooner had I won my freedom from illegal military conscription than it appeared the Kremlin was turning to another tactic, eviction.
The landlord arrived in the company of four police officers, and within the next few hours a large crowed of two dozen was present, including Oborona members, police and journalists. The police demanded the identification documents of all the members without explaining the basis for their demands.
“Why do they want to evict the leader of Oborona from his apartment?”
An interview with Oleg Kozlovsky (pictured above, orange shirt)
By Matvey Ganapolsky & Masha Meyers
Echo of Moscow Radio (Audio Link Available)
Originally Aired March 18, 2008
Translated from the Russian by the La Russophobe blog
GANAPOLSKY: Our guest today is the leader of the movement “Oborona” — Oleg Kozlovsky. Greetings.
KOZLOVSKY: Good afternoon.
GANAPOLSKY: Tell us your story.
Elizabeta Klepikova, shown above, a member of the Oborona (“Defense”) youth political action organization, wrote the following on a Russian blog on March 20th (her screen name is Whitecup and she has her own blog as well, with pink petals for her avatar):
Today I stood alone in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russian Federation, holding high my picket banner, calling for the release of jailed Yabloko party leader Maxim Reznick. Hardly had I take my place before I was approached by police officers who demanded my identification. It seems that the sight a lone protester greatly antagonized them.
The name “Yabloko” sounds like the Russian word “apple,” which is why Elizabeta is holding the fruit in the photograph.
You probably can guess what happened next, though perhaps the manner in which it occurred you will not suspect. The officers told Elisabeta that she should be careful about standing around alone in that neighborhood as there were all sorts of dangerous characters about. And no sooner had they departed than a crew of young thugs appeared, approached the young lady and tried to rip the sign out of her hands. She fought back, they knocked her to the ground and fled. Meanwhile, not a single member of the “law enforcement agency” she was standing in front of lifted a finger to help her. She approached the nearest policeman and asked to register a complaint, but he refused to take it. She called the police by phone, nobody responded. When she called back, she was accused of illegal picketing, so she walked herself to a nearby hospital to have her injuries treated. The nurse who attended her said: “Nothing will ever be accomplished in this country, certainly not justice.”
Note: This translation of a Russian blog post was supplied by the Publius Pundit blog.
Note: This essay was originally published on Robert Amsterdam’s blog.
In expectation of the inauguration of Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian siloviki structures are conducting their latest “mopping up” of the opposition not under their control. The hopes of optimists for a “thaw” are being demolished by these police operations. On 17 March, I had a talk with officer of the militia Sergey Nikolayev, the policeman responsible for one of the precincts of Moscow. In this precinct is being rented an apartment, where meetings of the movement «Oborona» take place. Lying on the desk in the policeman’s small office as “material evidence” are newspapers put out by the organizers of the «Dissenters’ Marches» and «Oborona».
Note: This interview was originally published on Robert Amsterdam’s blog.
INTRODUCTION: The leader of “Oborona”, Oleg Kozlovsky, definitely creates the impression of a thinking, daring person, interested in the fate of his country. Oleg is an active participant in and organizer of the “Dissenters’ Marches” — public protest actions by citizens of Russia against the arbitrariness of the powers. To these actions, the power responds with even greater arbitrariness — arrests of the activists, the filing of fabricated criminal charges, beatings. Oleg has already spent five days in a cell at a “special receiver” (that’s what they call the place where they hold persons who have been temporarily arrested; previously, these establishments were used exclusively for holding alcoholics and street vagrants. The Putinite power has come up with the idea of holding political prisoners and all manner of dissenters in them) for participating in an allegedly unsanctioned rally (the fact is that under the Constitution of the Russian Federation, permission is not required to hold a rally — the organizers simply have to notify the power of the place and time such a rally will be held). Then it turned out that Oleg Kozlovsky is so disliked by the Putinite power that they had decided to isolate him for a long time. But here, let him tell us in his own words how this took place.
GRIGORI PASKO: Oleg, how did it happen that almost immediately after the “vagrants’ cell” at the “special receiver” section, they forcibly “shaved you into a soldier”?
[Translator's Note: The Russian idiom used by Pasko, zabrit' v soldaty, refers to the fact that one of the first things done to a young man to turn him from a civilian into a conscript is to completely shave his head (this is also done with new prisoners)]
OLEG KOZLOVSKY: Everything happened unexpectedly. After getting out of the “special receiver,” section, police officers came to the address of my certificate of domicile in Moscow and started asking the neighbors about me, supposedly because someone suspected of extremism had come to me. When I was leaving for a while to Ukraine, police officers stopped me at the railroad station and said that I was an extremist. I felt that something was afoot. On the Day of the Chekist, 20 December of last year, I went out of the house in the morning. Suddenly I was stopped by policemen and two in civilian clothing [colloquial Russian for plainclothes officers working for "the organs" --Trans.] (later, at the military commissariat, they told me that they were from the FSB). The policemen said that they have a paper from the military commissariat and that I need to go there.
Welcome to my English-language blog. Here I will tell the story of my efforts to bring democracy and civil society to my country, Russia. The following essay was originally published on Robert Amsterdam’s blog.
In the political street battles that have swept the streets of Russia’s cities, black-and-white flags with a menacing stylized fist on them are becoming an ever more frequent sight. These banners are always unfurled at the forefront, always right in the thick of things. These are my brothers-in-arms, the activists of the Russian «Oborona», who are rushing into the fray, ready to fight to defend their freedom and the truth from a power that is trampling on these ideals.