Solidarity Conference in Moscow 11-12 September
DEFENCE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS – AN IMPORTANT CAUSE OF ALL COMMUNIST, LEFT,
ANTI-IMPERIALIST AND PROGRESSIVE PEOPLE!
About the conference of the Movement in Defence of Political Prisoners – Fighters for Socialism 11-12 September 2004
As the result of the bourgeois counter-revolution of 1991-1993 in Russia and other former Soviet republics a small strata of bourgeois elements became a new social class of capitalists. Having seized the political power, this class, supported by the World imperialism, turned most profitable social industries into its private ownership and established a regime of exploitation and oppression. In 1992-1998 this regime resulted in a unique economic and social disaster, and when the Russian working class responded by manifestations of protest, strikes and so-called Railway War (that is blockading them by sitting on the rails), the Russian bourgeoisie and pro-bourgeois bureaucrats utterly turned from the poor formal democracy to the police state, and since 1999 they unleashed political repressions against radical Communist opposition, especially against the left and Communist youth. So there appeared new political prisoners – fighters for socialism. Among them such activists of youth communist organizations as Andrey Sokolov, Nadejhda Raks, Larisa Romanova, Alexander Shalimov, Anton Kaas and many others. They are first of all these people, who don´t beguile both themselves and others by parliamentary illusions and state openly, the necessity of the new socialist revolution and revolutionary violence.
In the same 1999 soon after the first arrests our Committee in Defence of Political Prisoners – Fighters for Socialism arose, which initially was called as the Committee in Defence of Andrey Sokolov. This Committee was formed by the initiative of the RPC (Russian Party of Communists), then it included representatives of about ten communist parties and organizations. At present it includes as its collective members the following radical communist parties and organizations: the Russian Communist Workers Party – Revolutionary Party of Communists – RCWP-RPC; the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks – the ACPB; the Communist Party of the Soviet Union – the CPSU (headed by Oleg Shenin); the Vanguard of the Communist Youth – VCY; the Russian Communist Youth League (the Bolshevist) – RCYL(b); and the Movement "In Defence of Childhood" - MDC. The Committee has support groups in Greece and Estonia.
Our first campaign in defence of Andrey Sokolov was successful, but the punitive organs of the bourgeois police state ware getting more and more arrogant and cruel. For instance, three young girls – Nadejhda Raks, Larisa Romanova and Olga Nevskaya were arrested and held in prison without trial for more than three years, during which the investigators had been compelling them to confess their fault. All these years the Committee was actively campaigning in their defence, but this time we failed to stop the judicial machine – the court sentenced these three to the imprisonment from five-and-a-half to nine years long, though as the result of the Committee´s efforts the sentences were twice as less than those demanded by the prosecution.
In the meantime the number of political prisoners – fighters for socialism in Russia is growing, mean while communist organizations either did not attach their proper attention to it or do not participate in a due way in the campaigns of protest against political repressions and solidarity with the political prisoners. So one of the main tasks of our conference is the intention to turn the communist and left forces in Russia and abroad to the struggle against political repressions and campaigns of solidarity with the political prisoners as at present they have become one of the most important and necessary forms of the class struggle.
Collective discussion of the ways and technique of judicial, material, moral assistance and support to the political prisoners and their families as well as the exchange of international experience in this field are needed first of all to make sure any revolutionary activist, that in case of repressions he/she will not be left without assistance and professional defence in captivity of the class enemy, that he/she may and must rely on the help and solidarity of all left, communist and anti-imperialist forces in both Russia and abroad.
Not less important it is to urge broad masses of progressive people to participate in the struggle against political repressions, to mobilize public opinion against them, and our international conference could also contribute to it.
Our conference is designed to attract new forces to the cause of defence of political prisoners – fighters for socialism: both new collective participants and individual activists. The circle of those invited is so more than the number of permanent participants of the Committee.
And, after all, after September the 11th the growth of political repressions and, in particular, arrests and imprisonments of representatives of radical communist and anti-imperialist parties as well as progressive national liberation movements is more and more getting the main characteristic feature of the present World of imperialist globalization and US dominance. This subsequent turn of imperialism to reaction makes the defence of political prisoners a really international cause and requires from all communist, left, anti-imperialist and progressive people not only solidarity, but also a close coordination in their actions as well as constant exchange of experience in this cause, that is rather new and not easy for us. We have already got the experience of such actions, as holding of meetings and pickets of protest in both the Russian capital and other Russian cities, collection of signatures in defence of some political prisoners, promotion of articles in local and Russian national press about some cases of political prosecution as well as judicial, material and moral assistance and support to the prisoners and their families. Being well aware of the necessity of international solidarity, the Committee took an active part in the defence of Slobodan Milosevic, Miguel Martinez (the general secretary of the Communist Party of Spain (restored), the five Cuban citizens arrested in the USA for false charges, and ten members of communist parties and youth communist leagues from Moldova, Russia and the Ukraine arrested in the Ukraine in connection with the so-called "Odessa affair". However, we do understand, that it is not enough, that there is a considerable international experience of defence of political prisoners and struggle for their rights. An organization of exchange of this experience as well as the discussion of approaches to the international coordination of these struggles are also among the purposes of our conference.
Among those invited to the conference are both local and central representatives of parties and organizations and individual activists (both members of parties and movements and non-party people), participating in the Movement, and those, who did not take part so far, but are willing to join the activities of the Committee. Representatives of communist parties from the former Soviet republics and other countries as well as the foreign branches of the Committee are presumably to take part. It is scheduled to discuss at the conference the problem of political repressions in Russia and other countries, to assess their scale and danger for the left and communist movement, to observe the organizational forms of participation of regional organizations and movements in the activities of the Committee, as well as to touch upon some other above-mentioned questions.
We ask you to take into consideration, that this conference is our first international experience. Unfortunately our Committee has no money to help you with the cost of tickets to Moscow; the question of accommodation is also not solved yet and one cannot rule out, that living will also need some contributions of the participants. Sandwiches and tea for meals. The Committee is likely to be able to help only those activists of the Movement, who represent its regional organizations and take part in its activity, so their participation in the conference is necessary.
We invite to the conference all those, who adhere to the left and anti-imperialist views. If you need a personal invitation to get visa in the Russian consulate, then, please, tell us all the necessary data to prepare it (your name, date of birth, place of official work, data of your passport, your formal citizenship as well as your personal phone and E-mail for immediate communication). Please, specify, what details are to be mentioned in the invitation for smooth processing in your Russian consulate. And if you cannot come to Moscow, we would very much welcome your messages of solidarity and support.
The Committee in Defence of Political Prisoners – Fighters for Socialism.
10, Bolshoy Haritonievsky pereulok,
Mailto: email@example.com and a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
Anatoly V. Kriuchkov
Chairman of the Committee in Defence of Political Prisoners – Fighters for Socialism,
Secretary of the RCWP-RPC Central Committee
The Statute on The Committee of Defending Political Prisoners - Fighters for Socialism
1. The Committee of Defending Political Prisoners - Fighters for Socialism (The Committee of Defending Political Prisoners) defend fighters for Socialism (Russian citizens and citizens of other political entities in the USSR): WW-2 participants, members of left parties, organizations and movements, who are repressed due to political reasons.
2. Collective members - parties, movements, and organizations of left orientation - shall form up the committee.
3. Each collective member can be represented in the Committee by only one of his individual members and has only one vote. The representation of parties´ (organizations´ and movements´) internal organs is not permitted.
4. Joining the Committee shall be approved by an official decision submitted to the Committee by the central organ of a party, movement, or organization.
5. …¾ of current members of the Committee are required for approving new members´ joining to the Committee.
6. All members of the Committee have equal rights; they are equally responsible for the implementation of taken decisions.
7. The Committee shall elect a president to guarantee organized work of the Committee.
8. The Committee works regularly and meets, as usual, weekly.
9. Decisions of the Committee shall be taken on the grounds of agreement. At least, …¾ of the members must approve the decision.
In the last situation taken decision shall consist of the names of those members who did not approve the document (if they insist on that). Moreover, the protocol of the Committee´s meeting must reflect their different point of view.
A collective member of the Committee, who did not approve the decision, cannot counteract its implementation.
Adopted on 6 March 2000, by representatives of the Russian Communist Workers´ Party, Revolutionary Communist Party – the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the All-Russian Communist Party of Bolsheviks, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Leninist-Stalinist), "Defend Childhood " movement and the Officers Union.
No - to persecution due to communist beliefs
An Appeal to Left Organizations and Russian Workers
Since the beginning of March 2000 three girls – Nadezhda Raks, Tatyana Sokolova (Nehorosheva), and Larisa Romanova (Schipzova) have been held in prison. All of them are members of RKSM (b) – Young Revolutionary Communist League (of Bolsheviks). Organs of bourgeois "Justice" accuse them of exploding a FSB (Federal Security Service) reception-room in August of 1998.
Trying to keep their reputation, especially after the tragic events in Moscow and Volgodonsk, the Russian authorities decided to "play back" and punish these girls, who declare openly their opposite views and do not recognize the criminal bourgeois regime.
Nadezhda Raks had been an English language teacher. She organized teachers´ strikes in Kaluga in 1997, made up a Pioneer organization there. Tatyana Sokolova had been working in a tourist company. Larisa Romanova has two children. Up to the moment of their arrest Larisa´s elder kid was 2,5 and the second one – only 7 months old. Larisa is kept in prison with her small kid.
During the investigation process they had been in the FSB many times as witnesses and never thought of changing the place of residence. However, they were taken into custody, the court refuses to let them give a written undertaking not to leave their place.
The imprisoned girls refuse any involvement in the mentioned explosions, as a previously unknown organization "New Revolutionary Initiative" claimed its responsibility for those explosions.
Servants of the Regime want to put the terrorist acts on the young communists, make the opposition goes back on defending their comrades, make them scared and unable to combat against repression.
Our task is to demand the release of Nadezhda, Tatyana, and Larisa, repressed by the Regime for their believes, for devotion to the Communism, their loyalty to socialist Motherland, Soviet people.
We call all honest working people, all progressive political forces of Russia to organize a campaign in order to defend and release Nadezhda Raks, Tatyana Sokolova, and Larisa Romanova.
The Committee is waiting for your assistance:
- in organizing mass political actions for their release;
- in collecting signatures for their release and organizing a flow of appeals to concerned governmental and judicial instances;
- spreading leaflets and other agitation papers concerning political prisoners;
- organizing publications about these political prisoners in regional and other non-communist media, through local radio- and television companies;
- collecting financial resources in order to organize campaigns for the release of the political prisoners and providing their families with necessary aid and assistance;
- communicating with foreign communist, workers´ and left democratic organizations, in addition to MPs and media;
- in solving other problems.
RPK, RKRP, VKPB, RKP-KPSS, KPSS Lenina-Stalina, the Officers´ Union, the movement "Defend Childhood", and the Party of Social Justice have appointed their representatives to the Committee and provide it with their assistance.
We call other progressive political forces in Russia to send their representatives to the Committee for coordination and provide it with all possible help.
The Committee of Defending Political Prisoners – Fighters for Socialism.
She Will Never Conceal Herself
Vera Osinzeva, Nadezhda´s mother, had been staying in Moscow during few days. On 25th of August, after visiting her daughter in "isolator" num. 48/6, she met Kryuchkov, the Committee´s Chief, for second time. Here is a shortened version of their conversation.
Vera Vasilevna, you have met your daughter today. How does she feel?
I have not seen my daughter since April; she has grown thin in this time. She has headache, toothache. She could not call a doctor. She wanted to go on a hunger strike on a certain date unless the administration sends for a doctor. They said that there is only one doc for two thousands of prisoners in the whole isolator.
Hasn´t this doc visited her yet?
Once she has visited the doctor. I suppose it is because there were rumors that someone from the members of the State Duma is willing to visit the isolator. Although nobody from them visited the isolator, the rumors had a positive effect, and Nadya was allowed to visit the Doc.
When had she planned to go on a hunger-strike? Two weeks ago I had a phone call saying that she had gone on it.
She had planned to do it on 8th of August.
Yes, it is the same time. But it seems to me that the comrades understood this info incorrectly.
Nadya have told me today that her cellmates saw Larisa Romanova. She looks very bad. Probably, she is sick, maybe because she had been beaten. Her daughter is not bad.
Regarding Nadya, she has been in tears. – Why, what´s happened? – Andreev, an investigator from the FSB visited her yesterday. He had to interrogate her, but he didn´t. They were waiting for the lawyer Chernikov for an hour. Later we have found out that nobody informed Chernikov. They told Nadya that …‘we will get rid of this lawyer and ban your meetings with parents´. Thus, they put pressure on her again.
Why the investigator wants to get rid of Chernikov?
Because "Chernikov doesn´t do his work", - as they say. But the barrister told me that he has no permission to meet Nadya any time he prefers.
The investigators say: come to us. But there is always somebody absent – one or another. And every time Chernikov should spend very much time in order to have a conversation.
Today he´s told me that on 29th August the court will consider if the girls will remain in the "isolator" or will give a written undertaking not to leave the place. So, he says: "I cannot even talk to Nadya, make her prepared for how to behave in this situation ". He cannot, because has no access to her.
Nadya has told me: " Now we have generally a normal situation in our cell ". I´ve asked: " Anybody hurts you physically?" – " No ". – " And morally? " – Morally – it is very usual. When we have a walk in small groups (2-3 persons only), supervisors swear us saying: " You are prostitutes, drunks, murderers!.." and so on. " If you are here, all of you are the same ".
One day prisoners wrote a complaint. It had been considered, and supervisors were instructed to be careful in talking to the prisoners.
Are there any other complaints?
She´s said that she has written complaints and requests – about ten – to the office of public prosecutor, the Ministry of Justice, the FSB, and so on. However, she hasn´t received any response.
Until now she has no mail. She´s received two letters suddenly. One of them is mine dates back to 30th July. She´s received it when almost a month passed after I sent it
Do you send her often?
Yes. Since April I started to record all sent letters. – I´ve written 33 letters to her since that time. Nadya has received only five.
Have you tried to understand why she doesn´t receive your letters?
Andreev told me that there is 20th article of Federal Law, there is a censorship. I told him: "I know, that there is a censorship, and I cannot discuss the case and so on. But I write about work, the child´s trip to the Sea of Azov, about our life, about the struggle for Russian classes, send regards from our friends.. I think there is no secret in that. I write about what is happening at home ".
Vera Vasilevna! Try to address the FSB chiefs and the administration of the "isolator". They should explain what is prohibited in those words.
Nadya sent me a post-card with greetings on my birthday. I haven´t got it yet, though almost three weeks have passed after my birthday.
Maybe the censors thought that there is a secret symbol, and a mysterious meaning in the text.
No. We didn´t manage to agree on that.
Has Nadya told you about any attempts to put psychological pressure on her in order to make her recognize herself guilty?
I see that the pressure is permanent. For example, they say that she will not be allowed to see us, if she insists on her position and doesn´t want to recognize herself guilty, although they have "all evidences" against her. They showed her a video, where – as they said - she is recorded together with her friends during the preparation of the explosion. In fact, it is absolutely impossible to conclude who are recorded on that cassette. You can understand nothing: who are there, where is it, what is there. However, they say: here – it is you.. There are two homeless men and this – is you!
Have they showed you any other evidences?
She hasn´t told me. I´ve said: "I don´t believe that you could do that". She´s answered: "Mom, you are right. I didn´t do that".
How firmly, in your opinion, Nadya stays her position after all what happened to her in prison? I ask you not because I have any doubts, but some people talk about that.
You are right, you should not doubt. I can tell those, who have such doubts, that I´ve concluded from our conversation that my daughter isn´t going to change her position and give up her ideals. No, there will be nothing like that. She will never hide. She told me: "I cannot betray my Grandpa".
Right, Nadya will not give up her ideals. But what´s about you? What do you feel regarding the imprisonment of your daughter? Would you persuade her to give up communist activities? Or you think that your daughter is right?
I think we will discuss all the points and we will have a sincere conversation. In general, we had no secrets; we have always understood each other. We will just discuss critically all what has happened. The last half a year has explained much; you see and understand that it was a fair struggle. At the same time you see, that you have to learn to distinguish between the truth and the lie.
I don´t think that she will give up communist activities. Should I give her an ultimatum? – But I myself cannot accept all what happens in our days. My opinion is: yes – to Socialism, no – to Capitalism. There is no doubt.
No! I will never accept what´s happened after the coming of Bourgeois Authority in the country. To accept means to live as an animal. – To think only about how to remain alive, to give birth to a baby. But what if your baby is sick and you cannot treat him? In past we had given birth to many children, nowadays – to one only, often a sick one.
I don´t want anybody suffers like me. Sometimes I cry.. However I will never ask my daughter to give up her ideals and goals.
When you live months having no wage – is it a life? We are not poor-educated. My husband and me have a high education; we want to give education to our children. But how should we feel when Andrei couldn´t go to the school this year, because no a Russian class can be formed?
And try to visit your relatives! – All my family is living in Ural. I´m not sure if I would see them sometime or not. We have no money to visit them. When my father had died I called them, begged to find some money to let brother come.
That means the problems in Ukraine are stronger than in Russia?
Sure, there are very big problems. The only assistance is pieces of land. Everyone has a small piece of land, a small garden. We can cultivate something there. It feels like you are not such extremely poor, and you will not die of hunger.
Vera Vasilevna, you have mentioned that you have high education. What is your specialization?
I am an industrial chemist.
What and where do you work now?
I am a teacher in a Textile college
You have mentioned Russian classes. What is the problem in that?
We have a Russian community. Inside this community many problems are discussed: political and cultural. A big problem has appeared, because there are no Russian classes. The parents are seeking for it in order to send their child to study. But there are no classes with teaching in Russian. There are many newcomers, who are particularly suffering from that. Among them those Ukrainians, who come back and their children don´t know the language. It is difficult to go to the school, which has no Russian classes. Me, as the mother of Andrei, who hasn´t finished his study at school yet, some other parents, and schoolteachers are working on this problem. There is a violent attempt to eradicate Russian language. In the district all parents want their children to study Russian. However in the city of Rovno directors (of schools) say that nobody here wants to study Russian. They say that children want to study the history of the Motherland, religious ceremonies, and regarding Russian language – no, nobody wants to study it. We have visited the mayor of the city he is Russian himself. Now he is under the influence of those, who belong to fascist party, which keeps everybody under pressure. They said, that nobody wants to study in " Moskal´skaya mova " ("Russian" – Ukrainian, disapproving). Nobody at all. If there are anybody wants to do it – write an application to the 1st class. Last year 26 requests were written, every parent had a conversation with the director of the Education Department. They told the parents that their children would not be able to study in high schools and so on. Not everyone can prove the opposite. For instance, I can prove that I learnt Ukrainian from 2nd year in a Russian school. But the people cannot prove they are persuaded that to study in Ukrainian is better. As a result, from 26 requests remained only 14, and no Russian class was opened. They said that there should be 29 pupils, and there is no money to finance a class made up from 14 pupils.
We have a tendency for closing Russian schools. When Soviets were in power, we had 26 schools – 20 Ukrainian and 6 Russian ones, we had a choice. Now there is no a Russian school at all and only 4 classes in different schools.
My son Andrei finished 9th class in Russian, then it was said that in 10th class teaching will be in Ukrainian. We wrote 22 requests, they said: "few", seek for other 6 persons. What does it mean? – To put an advertisement? – You have no right to put an advertisement, - said the City Department of Education, - only we have this right. – Well, do it, please! – We will not! What should we do? – To cry aloud? There is one more Ukrainian school, but why should they go from there to study in our school? That means, if we don´t find six children, who have learnt Russian since 1st year, the Russian class will be closed.
Let´s return to the main topic. Have you made any attempts to make Ukrainian Communists pay attention to the problem of Political Prisoners in Russia, as your daughter is one of them?
- Yes, I have.
To whom have you addressed your requests, and what was the result?
Immediately, as all this happened, in February, I addressed to the organization of the Communist Party of Ukraine in Rovno. They know me, thought I am not a member of the Party. My father, the grandpa of Nadya, is a member of the CPSU since 1932. It was banned for a period of time in Ukraine, right after the disintegration of the USSR. And when it had been recognized, he restored his membership in the Party. It was supposed to be like that, thought he was saying that he did not restore the membership, because he had never left the Party. Thus we knew many leaders of the local branch of the CPU – Communist Party of Ukraine.
The First Secretary of the Obkom (Oblast Committee of the Communist Party) knows me very well due to my assistance during their election campaigns. I had addressed him and explained the situation. We had written a letter to Simonenko - the leader of CPU, this letter had been delivered very quickly. He received the letter, corrected it and sent to Zyuganov. – We asked for studying the case and assistance. We have received no reply. In April, when I came (to Moscow), I called the CPRF office, they told me that they had received the letter from Simonenko and would study it. Then I found out that Bindyukov Nikolay Gavrilovich got a commission to work on the problem. I called him yesterday and talked to his adviser. He told me that Bindyukov is on leave.
Andreev, the investigator, told me that they received a request from Ilyuhin. I think that they had made the request as a reaction to our first letter and calls. However, I don´t receive any responses from them. During the 5th Conference of the Communist Party of Ukraine I wrote a letter to the leaders. They gave a commission to work on the problem to our representative in the Highest Rada, who was the First Secretary of the CPU local organization.
I wrote about offences, which you´ve mentioned in a note of Your Committee and asked to reply whether or not the CPU would help my daughter-communist. I addressed Simonenko to ask anybody – whom he find necessary - to defend Nadya. Simonenko asked Zyuganov.
Did you know at that time that our Committee addressed an Appeal to communist parties of Nearest Abroad and the CPU as well?
No, I didn´t know. I read the Bulletin yesterday only.
In that Appeal we´ve asked to join the struggle for the release of Russian political prisoners in accordance with the principle of Solidarity, as we did when were fighting for the release of Rubix. Not only Latvians fought, in Russia we had a campaign as well. We had participated in that campaign. We´ve asked Ukrainian communists to join the struggle for the release of concrete political prisoners in Russia and take concrete actions. They could organize protests in front of the Russian embassy, collect signatures in support of our demands to release the members of Komsomol and, at least, to put an end to violations and offences. They could collect donations in order to help the girls – political prisoners. Thus, they could take many actions, as we do. Have you asked for that?
I didn´t know that. In Rovno I have attended the last Plenum of the Obkom, collected signatures.
It is your work. And what is about local communists?
We have sent lists for collecting signatures to different districts, I hope to get them back full of signatures. I was in my local housing committee, a meeting was held there. All people, who attended the meeting, put their signatures. My Andrei brought the signatures from members of Komsomol; guys from our town brought some signatures of Komsomol members from different cities in the Crimea. Guys from Lugansk said that they collected 20 lists of signatures.
When have you written to Simonenko?
In July they held a congress. I wrote ultimately – I wait for any response. Even if they refuse to have anything to do with it. I did not know that Zyuganov would attend the congress. The Secretary said that Zyuganov gave my letter to Simonenko personally. I receive "Communist" newspaper. I have written to the newspaper that the girls – members of Komsomol need help. Let´s study the case and fight.
Until now the assistance of Ukrainian communists seems to me strange. Not all communists, of course. – I mean first of all their leaders – Yazenko, in particular. He promised me to explain to the communists in Rovno who are the Russian political prisoners, why they were arrested, and what they were fighting for. In fact, he told something unclear, and as a result, only 40 from 90 communists put their signatures in support of the Girls. The rest had gone.
Vera Vasilevna, unfortunately, the Communist Party of Ukraine doesn´t respect not only you. Its leaders didn´t react to our Appeal, which was sent few months ago. They behave not as comrades at all, don´t respect the Committee, the communist parties – the members of the Committee, appeals to show solidarity in the struggle for the release of our comrades, who were taken prisoners by the class enemy.
Such a position doesn´t make Ukrainian communists popular. Anyway, those of them, who know about the arrest of the Komsomol members, avoid supporting us.
As to our Committee and Russian Party of Communists, which I represent, I´d like to assure you that we will leave neither your daughter, nor other members of Komsomol. We will do our best and will try to make our struggle for their release more active.
- Anatoliy Victorovich, Nadya and me – we thank the Committee of Defending Political Prisoners and especially the Russian Party of Communists for providing the struggle-mates with a real assistance. I see that your Committee organizes its work very well, spreading its activities on a wide scale. Thanks a lot to all members of the Committee, to all, who responded to the Appeal and joined the struggle in order to free my daughter and her comrades in Combating the Criminal Regime.