<alter-ee> Anarchist mayday in Russia 2003

Aleksei alter-ee@lists.most.org.pl
Thu, 22 May 2003 10:56:39 +0400

Anarchist mayday in Russia 2003

This report has been collected from Russian anarchist internet,
and tries to be as comprehensive as possible. Note that
some reports have been heavily censored in order to
fit a-infos policy on "left unity";-). Unfortunately there is no single
report about Belarus or Ukraine, seems either like today information spaces
are cut according to state boundaries or activity has dropped
in these areas.

Since mayday demonstrations are one of the best indicators
about state of the anarchist movement, one may state that movement
is in a period of clear growth as for as number of cities is concerned,
growth in numbers of participators is also taking place but it is more
South of Russia has suffered a clear backlash. In general Russian anarchist
movement is still very small alltogether... some of the bigger actions, such
those of Omsk and Perm did not report amount of anarchists, but taking
the lower limit from all other cities this year counts 421 anarchists
demonstrating in
Russia alltogether.


Four anarchists were demonstrating in Chelyabinsk, with
banner "Autonomous Action" and placards "1st of May - day of
commemoration of general strike in Chicago 1886", and
"Heroes of first Mayday strike of Chicago were anarchists". There
was also one placard against the ministry of defence. All other banners
and placards were confiscated by police in one of the previous actions.

Anarchists gathered 9 AM at Orlyenku statue, where general
mayday meeting with rainbow coalition of political forces from ruling party
and pro-Kremlin yellow unions to red-browns, fascists and liberals took
place. Anarchists sold various press, such as "Avtonom" and
"Ultimatum" of Autonomous Action and "Pryamoe Deystvie"
of KRAS-AIT, and distributed leaflets against war in Chechnya.  Some
new people were interested to join anarchist activity in Chelyabinsk.
After general meeting, local group of Autonomous Action had a meeting
in which it was decided to do anti-fascists activities in the victory day
9th of May.


Anarchist mayday in Irkutsk was succesfull. There were some 32 persons,
among them 7 anarchists of older generation. Anarchists had 3 black flags
with red
stars, and one red and black flag with star. There were only few fascists
anarchists managed to get rid of them quickly. Anarchists distributed
propaganda, and
later in the day there was a meeting of anarchists from Irkutsk.


Only 3 anarchists demonstrated in Ivanovo. Anarchists joined general action
with black
flag red star on it. One cop tried to harrass anarchists, but other
participators intervened.
Boneheads tried to follow anarchists (Ivanovo is a nazi stronghold - ed.),
anarchists managed to drop them. Anarchists sold paper Ultimatum, police
to intervene another time in the general meeting after demonstration, but
participators intervened again when anarchists began to make noise.


In Izhevsk, 20-35 persons participated to independent Mayday demonstration,
organised by "left-wing radical and anarchist group Atak", not to be
confused with
social democrat/trotskist western movement with a similar kind of name.
gathered around Lenin's library and began march from crossing of Pushkin and
streets. Some journos tried to stick to action, but demonstrators managed to
get rid of them quickly. Action was not legalized, but police decided to
just accompaign
demonstration, not trying to arrest anyone. Demonstrators had two banners
 - "All states are concentration camps" and "Death to global capitalism".
10 nazi skinheads were following action, but everything ended without


Anarchists organised a separate bloc to general Mayday demonstration.
Some 50 persons participated to anarchists bloc, under banners "Good
capitalism is dead capitalism", "Putin is their president" (with a picture
of a
yuppie, a bureaucrat and a cop),  "People have only one way around -
revolution", "You forgot 1917? Time to remember!"
and others. March went peacefully with only minor trouble by police,
but in the meeting in the square of Victory after march one fat cop
and even more fat FSB agent tried twice to harrass anarchists with
claims that they were walking around masked and had not put their
contact to the leaflet (which is not required according to law). There
was also a clumsy attempt to have a very obvious provocator united
to ranks of anarchists. General public in meeting and march
reacted positively to anarchists.

Anarchists had a puppet of a bourgeoise with a placard "spit bourgeoise",
which they raised to tribune, but soon it was thrown away by police.
After meeting it was regained by anarchists, who marched with it away
from meeting towards their own festivities. In the end, bourgeoise ended
up to a trashbin at Lenin street.


8 anarchists participated to Mayday picket in Gorki park, raising flag
of Alliance of Anarchists in Kazan and selling anarchist press. Picket
took two hours, some journos came and were told to get away. Police,
as well as Zhirinovsky's LDPR party took video footage from
everyone, but there was no any special incidents with them.


3 anarchists joined the general march with black flag. Anarchist decided
to murder capitalism and fascism on the place, taking respective symbols
with them. Police tried to stop anarchists on the way, but anarchists
managed to get rid of them. In meeting anarchists sold Avtonom, and
raised banner "No war between nations, no peace between classes".
During the general march one comrade was arrested, and police managed
to free hostages of anarchists, capitalism and fascism, so they were not
this time. Rest of the anarchist failed to get support to prisoner
solidarity picket,
but demand to free arrested anarchist was raised many times from the
After meeting, another third of anarchists was arrested. Besides
few backlashes, anarchists were content of the Mayday in Kolomna.


Anarchists from Autonomous Action and social ecologists from Atshi-community
organised a common bloc of 30 persons to general Mayday demonstration. Most
of the banners were with ecological or animal rights themes, there was also
one with text "Against power and capital". Bloc went with 50-60 meter
distance from others, sang revolutionary songs with guitar. When march
arrived to square where the meeting was supposed to take place, group of
police and FSB agents came to harrass demonstrators, demanding pulling down
of banner "Against power and capital". Anarchists organised their own
meeting in the opposite side of the main meeting, and distributed leaflets.
During the meeting anarchists could not raise black flag due to police, but
when meeting was finished police lost their attention and anarchists went to
march down the main street with their banners. Police managed to stop some
10 of the participators, when those marching in the front expected that
general arrest and excesses will start anyway and there is nothing to loose
anyway, they also raised the banner "Against power and capital" again. But
police failed to bring in any support, and stopped anarchists were able to
their way and to reunite with the forward group. March went to end of the
Krasno-Oktyabrskoy street, where police managed to bring a full-packed car,
but anarchist managed to quickly hide their banners and disperse, and no-one
was arrested.


45 people demonstrated under black and red and black diagonal
flags in Moscow 1st of May 2003. This was the
biggest anarchist mayday march in Moscow since 1990,
twice more people participated than to fiasco  of the last year.

Demonstration went from Metro Universitet via Lomonosovskiy,
Leninskiy and Universitestkiy streets to place where
Jerry Rubin club organised a concert for inhabitants of
Gagarinskiy area. People from Autonomous Action and Rainbow Keepers
participated, biggest group of participators were propably "unaligned
anti-authoritarians". Journos did not showed up but who cares.

Demonstrators distributed leaflets and carried banners "Against
power and capital" and "Our enemy is not in Chechnya, our enemy
is in Kreml". Bypassers voiced supporting comments. Slogans against
state, FSB (xKGB), fascism and Chechnyan and Iraq wars were shouted. March
not legalized, which usually means that someone (or all)of the participators
get arrested. However although march took 40 minutes and cops were observing
the situation since the beginning, no-one was arrested due to tactical
superiority of organisers in comparaison to cops.


In the action which was propably northmost anarchist mayday ever,
25-30 anarchists and non-authoritarian leftists gathered to general meeting
organised by both "communists" and pro-governement trade unions. Anarchists
had a red and black diagonal flags, a black flag with red sabocat, as well
as other flags and banners. Anarchist block was in the very end of the
demonstration, but with its drum it was more energetic than most of the
rest of the march. Anarchists distributed manifesto of Autonomous Action,
and in the end some senior citizens came to have a chat: "Soviets without
- that's the right way!".

Nizhni Novgorod

Almost everyone of anarchists had working day or left city in Mayday, so
two anarchists decided to make a provocation in the Mayday demonstration
of pro-Kremlin FNPR trade unions. They raised banner "FNPR - renegades!
you sold the working class!",when column of FNPR was passing by.
Soon a copper was intervening, shouting "get to fuck from here as fast
as you can, running". Anarchists made a tactical retreat, not running. Omon
also showed up, so there was no time to have talk with rank and file of the
FNPR march.


Translated from message of Vasily Starostin

This year Mayday action was splitted in
Omsk, FNPR (yellow pro-governement trade unions - ed.) and KPRF
("communists" - ed.) had their separate marches, which went the same route
with one hour difference. Omsk Confederation
of Labour was not aware of this, and we ended up to trade union march from
Drama theatre to gorki. FNPR had few flags, and thus red and black diagonal
flags of SKT were dominating the meeting. FNPR was not playing games, and
thus we managed to take our place in the very beginning of the march, behind
orchestra. On the way we saw a group
of young people with a single red flag. We asked if they are from Komsomol,
they said they are anarchists, and took red flag only because they had
else around. So we gave them a pen so that they could write encircled A to
the middle of the flag. We told that although we have written in Siberian
Confederation of Labour to our flags and  we are syndicalists, anarchists
also march
under red and black or just black flags.

In the meeting we distributed paper "Rabochiy" (Worker), and just talked
with each other. Some students from institute of transport came to us, most
of them were sent to demonstration by
student union. But there were also some conscious ones, Lena Starostina told
them about the history of Mayday. We learned that some of the students were
interested about anarchism and non-authoritarian marxism. We got idea, that
there is some interest to leftist movements among youth, at least some
cases. During last couple of years we have not observed anything like that.
We talked to students about plans to have a Siberian Social Forum organised
in Barnaul this summer. Some of them were interested, and we exchanged
telephone and e-mail contacts.

There were some 300 persons alltogether in the trade union meeting, since we
distributed 250 issues of our paper almost everyone got their issue. On the
way back
to our office we sold KPRF march with some 100 persons. Edinaya Rossiya
(governing party) was not in the meeting, we saw three of them in the bus
stop, distributing well printed booklets. We also noticed people from SPS
(Union of Rightist Forces, right-wing liberals). In this election year they
also decided to celebrate Mayday.


Anarchists from "Anarcho-Ecological Resistance" participated to
concert organised in the morning with black flags. Alltogether some
300 young people came to this action.Marchers shouted "Hooray to
sellout unions" to trade unionists passing by. March went by Lenin street
and ended up to
October square, where pro-governement trade unions were gathering.
of the youth action went insulting speakers and members of rightist SPS
general public (according to inflated police claims 20 000) was quiet,
seemingly just waiting to get their pay for the action, 50 roubles (1.50

After meeting there was a general march of the "left", anarchist pushed to
the front. Most mentally deranged elements among communists tried to assault
them, but were pushed back.


27 activists and supporters of Autonomous Action from Rostov and Zverevo
participated to general meeting and demonstration. Some 2000 persons
gathered to meeting in Teatralnaya square, most of them were supporters of
KPRF in one of their last demonstrations in this world. Every year
"communists" are less, and anarchists more. Anarchists had two red and black
diagonal flags, one
red flag with encircled A and banners
"Against power and capital" and "Autonomous Action of Moscow". There were
only few nazbols and nazis around, since nazbol leadership travelled to
their party meeting in Moscow. One of the few who remained was Chuka, who
his national-bolshevik activities is also chair of Rostov NNP party (more
traditional nazi orientation that NBP), and is a trader of toilets by
profession. Together with some stupid pro-fascist football hooligans nazbols
tried to assault anarchists, but they got what they deserved, and aryan face
of nazbol-skinhead Pichurin was deformed. After
this backlash nazbols and nazis decided not to come around to demonstration.

In the demonstration anarchists were leading together with Libanese
communist students. Anarchist section was the most active one, shouting
slogans such as "Cut the rich", "People are the governator - throw Chuba v
jail" and so on. When column reached Gorkiy park, the privileged part of the
population spending free day there was somewhat disturbed.

In the evening after day-long festivities, anarchists went to park of
students to
harrass students of cadet school with shouts "Undress your uniform, get some
decent clothes on!", "Budanov is a prat!" (Budanov is a general, currently
in Rostov jail accused of raping and murdering a 18 year old Chechen girl),
"No soldiers - no wars!".  Cadets were
preparing for a fight, but after a ten minute discussion about purpose of
the Chechen war, privileged sons of generals decided to retreat towards
their school.


This year anarchists of Sankt-Petersburg were splitted on the issue should
they organise their own march, or just to join the general march
their own materials there. Traditionally anarchists have organised their
non-legalized march from Metro station Dostoyevskaya, joining to general
column after Moyki, but last year
the march was repressed by police before it could even start. Only few weeks
before police had brutally beaten up anti-war demonstration of anarchists
near US consulate, and due to pointless 300 year festivities of
Sankt-Petersburg it was very much expected that police would brutally
repress any independent, non-legalized action.

However, 7 anarchists maintained importance of independent action, and
marched "traditional" anarchist route with placards "Death to fascism",
"Rights are not given, rights are taken" and 3 black flags. Luckily this
small march was not stopped, and anarchist managed to arrive to square which
was tightly surrounded by police without incidents. When a group of police
officers in the square saw anarchists, they shouted "Stop them! Catch them!
Do not let them go!". Anarchists went searching a hole in the police cordon,
and managed to sneak in from between stupid enough officials who were not
following what was happening around. Participators of anarchist march united
with 20-30 other anarchists, who had sticked together with the main action.
Anarchists were in a side of the demonstration, and police tried to stop
them when they moved towards the main
part of the meeting, even threatening to call OMON special forces. However
anything was finished without police excesses.


Most of the demonstrators were students,
which were forced to participate to meetings due to unability to comply with
various rules of their institute. After the official part, "communists" of
KPRF, NBP and KPRF's youth organisation SKM organised their meeting in the
same square. Two anarchist disturbed speeches of leaders of the
pseudocommunists, when threatened by SKM they had to make a tactical


Five anarchists headed to general Mayday action of Ufa, only to learn that
it was already finished. Rest of the day
anarchists distributed leaflets in the city.


Since first two anarchist Mayday actions ever in Volzhk were repressed in
2001 and 2002, local anarchists decided to join the general march this year.
Anarchist flags and explicitly anarchist banners were banned by
"communists". Some 70 persons alltogether participated to anarchist block,
besides Volzhk, there was also guests from Volgograd, Astrakhan and Kiev.

However the compromise reached with "communists" was not enough to police,
which began searching people, confiscating flags and banners. About every
second of punks was searched.
Some 12 people protesting were arrested. Some of others had also to leave
march in order to work for arrested, but part of the anarchist bloc went
along the main column in order to disturb concert which was about to take
place in Lenin square. This group had to fight a bit with boneheads.

All but 2 of arrestees were freed soon due to pressure from outside. These
two were only ones with documents, so cops decided to do the required
bureaucracy. Those remaining outside made a small demonstration, which
annoyed coppers and they beated up one girl, confiscating all but one of the
remaining banners. Soon remaining 2 arrested were freed, and anarchist
headed to celebrate Mayday to bank of the river Axtuby.


About 60 persons participated to anarchist march. No other information.