Khimki victory: Maxim Solopov released!

Tord Björk | Action,Environmental movements,International action,Repression,Russia | Monday, October 18th, 2010

Maxim Solopov

Moscow and antifascist accused of actions in connection with the Khimki forest conflict is great news. Now we have one more possibility for historic victories against repression this year after the sentences stating that two spokespersons for Climate Justice Action in Copenhagen were not guilty. In both conflicts problems still remain. We have still not seen the end of the trials in Denmark and some 200 people were detained or interogated by the police in the repression wave after the Khimki conflict escalated. Gaskarov is still detained.

In both cases is neither the high way through the Khimki forest conflict or the much harder issue climate justice solved. But there is the possibility that some kind of repression in connection with summits as well as local environmental conflicts have reached a stage were the authorities cannot go to far. In the Russian case due to an extraordinary commitment from very different domestic actors to unite in solidarity against the repression, in the case of Denmark and the climate summit there was rather a lack of solidarity among domestic actors but the juridical system could not accept the extremist views put forward by the police which actually had backing from much of the political parties. The Danish state imploded when trying to combine the extremist authoritarian measures by the police and traditional Western juridical arguments.

In both cases international solidarity was helpful. Here both social forums and the climate justice movement have done very well. We may think we are small sometimes, and facing the present social and ecological crisis this feeling can be seen as justified. But we should keep in mind that also if we see ourselves with these eyes there are times when solidarity can arise. It is important ahead of COP-16 in Cancun and the future of local social and environmental conflicts what have happened in the struggle against repression this year. To me it is especially inspiring how Russian movements have been able to cooperate. They have been an example for the rest of the world. May we be able to follow their example and unite in solidarity across different ideologies whenever it is necessary to stop repression.

Thankyou everyone that contributed to the victories.

Tord Björk

Maxim Solopov released – English press-release (fast translation)

Khimki town court ruled to release Maxim Solopov from the arrest
Press release of the campaign for the release of Khimki hostages
October 18, 2010

Khimki town court has ruled to change the pre-trial restriction for Maxim
Solopov from arrest to a written pledge not to leave town. The court
lasted from 11 am to 4 pm today, October 18, with a three-hour break for
preparation of the court ruling. Judge Svetlana Galanova has ruled to
release Maxim Solopov from the arrest immediately in the court room.
Maxim was released in echange for the guarantees provided by Lev
Ponomaryov, executive director of movement «For Human Rights», human
rights activists  Sergey Kovalyov and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, State Duma
deputies Ilya Ponomaryov and Oleg Shein, as well as Maxim’s university
professors Galina Yershova, Dmitry Belyaev and Yekaterina Di Santo.
Human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov and profesor Yekaterina Di Santo were
present at the court hearings.

Yekaterina DiSanto testified in court for Maxim and told during the court
hearing that it is necessary to release Maxim in order for him to continue
his studies and pursue his career as a researcher. She told the court that
Maxim is «a very talented person, a good student and I’m glad that besides
that he is also an antifascist».

The prosecutors have presented to the court the same reasons for Maxim’s
arrest as before, which were not valid for ruling in favor of the renewal
of the arrest. The only new arguments provided by the investigator
Yermilov were the testimonies of some witness, which supposedly
incriminated Solopov, the photos which showed a person in black mask, who
was supposedly Solopov, and the document provided by the Federal Security
Service (FSB),that read that Maxim was detained on numerous occasions
during «illegal» manifestations. When asked how can you recognize Solopov
on these photos, Yermilov couldn’t provide any proof for his statements.
Maxim spoke in court and demanded that his own testimonies are considered
by the judges, including his statement that he was «taken as a hostage by
the unprofessionalism of the law enforcement agencies».

The testimonies provided by the investigators were proven wrong by the
defense — Maxim’s lawyer Yury Yeronin and human rights activist Lev
Ponomaryov. The latter indicated that during this court procedure not the
guilt of the suspect was to be established, but only the form of pre-trial
restriction was to be chosen. He also said that the procurator’s office
was currently checking the legality of the fact that Maxim was
interrogated in the absence of the lawyer and that he was subjected to
pressure by the investigators.

The court has considered the arguments of the defense and ruled to release
Maxim Solopov from the arrest.

«Everything that happened recently was considered. Both the wide social
support, the guarantees provided to the court, the speeches in court were
taken into account. This valuable result was possible due to all the
things that we did», said Lev Ponomaryov following the court ruling.
As part of the days of action, initiated by the Campaign for the release
of Khimki hostages, solidarity actions were held in 35 cities in 12
countries. Khimki town court and other administrative bodies in Russia
received hundreds of letters of protest from around the world, which
demanded to release the Khimki hostages and to stop the campaign of
falsification of evidence against them. This was partly due to the fact
that Alexey and Maxim are well known social activists, but also due to the
fact that the investigators used illegal methods when trying to get
evidence, including mass arrests of young people and torture. The
protocols of Maxim’s and Alexey’s detention were also falsified.
On October 15 Moscow regional court has annulled the previous decision of
Khimki town court for the prolongation of the arrest of another arrested
in the Khimki case, Alexey Gaskarov. His arrest is to be reconsidered by
the Khimki court some time before October 27.

http://khimkibattle.org

Khimki battle solidarity campaign continues

Tord Björk | Action,Environmental movements,International action,Repression,Russia | Monday, September 27th, 2010

Today the court in Khimki decided to prolong the police custody for Alexei Gaskarov for another two months accused of organizing an action against the Khimki town hall for protection of the Khimki forest. Tomorrow the court will decide about the fate of Maxim Solopov facing the same charges. Thus the campaign for Freedom for Gaskarov continues. The protests in Russia and internationally have been wide spread in 32 cities in 12 countries. Here you find a video message by th publisher of this blog which was sent on request to Moscow, the video is made by Marwin Wettlestam Palm and Victor Sjöfors:

The campaign has received wide spread support a group of 50 well-known Russian public figures and human rights activists. They addressed an open letter to the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev. They call on him to secure the release of the Khimki hostages, Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov, and to investigate the numerous violations of Russian laws and human rights committed by local authorities and law enforcement agencies against antifascists, social activists, and journalists during their investigation:

http://khimkibattle.org/?p=914&lang=en

Read more about the international campaign at: http://chtodelat.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/international-solidarity-with-the-khimki-hostages-the-campaign-continues and more about the lack of evidence and the odd idea that the accused have to prove he is not guilty: http://chtodelat.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/khimki-the-town-where-youre-guilty-until-proven-innocent/

Khimki Battle videos

Some videos first giving a general back ground to the conflict and then videos from different occasions during the course of events in the Khimki Battle. The original text describing the video at the Youtube web site is in italics. When the original text is in Russian it is translated rudimentary with the help of google translate. Some of the videos especially about the general back ground is in english, most videos on the day by day course of events in Russian.

General back ground:

December 10, 2009

A good starter is this main stream TV program made by the Russian media channel RT (www.rt.com). It describes well the Khimki forest with nice pictures and then the director of Greenpeace Russia in the studio explains for the journalist why it is in need of protection and what is wrong with Russian protection of forests, in English. “Khimki Wood or highway, Money or Nature!”

July 29, 2010

“Protest’s to Save Forest” – A good general picture of the conflict is given by this Al Jazeera news made by a reporter that goes out into the forest and covers the course of events in English broadly July 29.

Russian environmentalists armed with fireworks and molotov cocktails have a stormed a town hall building near Moscow, the capital. They trying to stop the destruction of the Khimki forest, one of the last natural woodlands on the edge of the city. The area is in the path of a proposed highway, an eight billion dollar project connecting Moscow to Saint Petersburg. And environmentalists have accused “hired thugs” of trying to evict them from the forest. Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker reports.

August 1, 2010
General about the conflict early August, AFPTV, Agence France press TV (in Russian), the describing text in English: Russian demonstrators have hurled smoke bombs and smashed windows in a rare violent protest against the building of a road through a forest outside Moscow. Dozens of local residents, environmentalists and anarchists have been gathering in recent days to save the Khimki forest, highlighting a growing trend for Russians to demonstrate about civic issues. A natural sound version of an AFPTV report:

You have to go to the youtube web site to see this as embedding is not allowed by AFPTV.

Course of events in the Khimki battle:

November 24 2009

Music video : Khimki district was the most green area of Moscow region before the arrival of the current administration. Portraying the Khimki mayor and the protests.

Video message to the president of Russia Dmitry Medvedev. The leader of the Movement for the Defence of Khimki forest Eugene Chirikov demanding the resignation of the government Vladimir Putin. On Web sites, and http://ecmo.ru http://ecmoru.livejournal.com activists also issued a detailed appeal to the President, which called the Putin government the main obstacle to development and modernization of Russia. Also November 24, 2009.

December 14, 2009

Appeal to participants at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen

This early video from December 14 starts with some photos from the Khimki forest in the winter and than a longer interview in Russian with Environmental movement spokes person Chirikova in Russian. It shows the sincerity behind the protest and the will to reach out with arguments in spite of lack of technical know how in making videos.

http://ecmo.ru, http://ecmoru.livejournal.com: OPEN LETTER TO participants of the Copenhagen Climate Summit FROM Save Khimki Forest Movement (Russia). “We kindly ask participants of the Copenhagen Climate Summit to take an appeal to EBRD, EIB and the Vinci Company asking them to stop financial support for the Moscow St. Petersburg motorway project in its present state (i.e., through the Khimki Forest Park)”.

February 26, 2010

Reporter Irina Yassin, rian.ru in its author’s program “The ABC of change” is trying to solve the riddle: Why fee route Moscow-St Petersburg is designed so that logging in Khimki, it must make a strange detour in the direction of the Khimki woods? Who benefits from destroying the forest and why? Details and collecting signatures for the forest: www.ecmo.ru, http://ecmoru.livejournal.com.

May 6

Confronting exploiters in the forest, Moscow Region, Khimki forest. The preparation for the construction of road Moscow-Petersburg. Shooting Dmitry Zykov for www.grani-tv.ru

May 29

Shevchuk asks questions Putin on freedom of speech,
and the March of Dissent. ! From the video cut out a small piece Full video of the meeting: http://premier.gov.ru/visits/ru/10771 …

July 7

Environmental action in the forest, Chirikova confronts men in suit and old woman continius the graffiti struggle, In Russian – Moscow region, Khimki.The rally and march against the felling of oak Left Bank for the construction of luxury housing. Shooting Dmitry Zykov for www.grani-tv.ru

July 15

SvobodaRadio | July 15, 2010
Environmentalists report that started clearing forests Khimki from Sheremetyevo. Leader Ekooborony Evgeny Chirikov, said in an interview with Radio Liberty that the trees were destroyed illegally and that the work was temporarily stopped due to the efforts of the assembled on-site logging community members.

July 19

Ecodefence in the forest trying to stop the cutting of trees

July 22

Environmentalists protecting the forest brought the petition to the Government. It is “adequate” replied .dopinfo – http://www.greenpeace.org/russia/ru/n … This is the video with by far most viewers, the rest of the videofiles have from 100 to 5000. This one in mid September more than 2.338.000. It is bad quality and not from the most conflictual action but clearly showing how the police are acting against the activists.

From the event reporter, and his eyes from the words of activists, advocates. Deforestation in the far section between Khimki and frontal to July 22 by the defenders stopped, a statement to the police to ask to examine the law and to require permits – has been sent. Technique with this site builders gradually exit. (Question: Where? Not to whether the opposite site of the same forest?)

Support solution to defense ecmo.ru site and on site Demokrator (issue 1403)! Gathering signatures for collective treatment August 1, 2010 the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology. Draft treatment here: democrator.ru/problem/1403. As can be seen from the movie, are not only required the signature: provides results and more effective aid. However, the “longhorn” does not stand idle and also asked the police to protect them from the defenders of nature! See news from July 23 to say “Khimki forest. News text from this video: democrator.ru/news/280641.

July 23

Khimki woods July 23, 2010. The attack on environmentalists. Amateur video

Shooting made the morning of 23 July during the defeat of the tent camp ecologists who attempted to stop the illegal, from their point of view, the cutting of forests Khimki. SvobodaRadio

In Khimki forest is a clash of people in masks and anti-felling of trees. According to the defenders of the forest, the camp included about a hundred masked men with weapons in their hands. They detained several activists and severely beating a woman.

July 26

Moscow Region, Khimki forest, 26 July 2010. Defenders try to stop logging in the forest. Shooting Dmitry Zykov for www.grani-tv.ru

Greenpeace

July 28

RuNewsweek: The direct action against the Khimki town hall

July 29

Can a civilized way to resolve conflicts of local residents with the developer in Russia, when it comes to building roads of federal importance? His position in the “third sector” have expressed opposition parties in Khimki forest standing on opposite sides: the representative of the builder – Deputy Head of Federal Roads of Russia Yevgeny Nosov and party movement in the protection of forests Khimki Gennady Rodin. Also in the transfer involved the independent experts: Head of Institute of Transport and Roads Mikhail Blinkin and a specialist in environmental assessment, a lawyer Legal Centre “Rodnik” Catherine Khmeleva. Full version of this program, “third sector” in the air with Radio Liberty on July 31 at 18 o’clock in the program. SvobodaRadio

August 2

Liberal party Yabloko video from occupation in the forest stopped by the police..
August 2, 2010 Starbeevskoe field, Khimki
Riot police disperse a peaceful gathering of defenders Khimki forests. Video detentions Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin, an activist of the Left Front Constantine Kosyakin and others vanishing

August 4

http://grani-tv.ru/
Police steals leader of the social activists of the Khimki city, brave fighter against corruption Eugenia Chirikovа after her press conference in Moscow/ 4 aug 2010

August 22

kp.ru news starting with Gaskarov and Solopov solidarity banner and then the whole concert-meeting:

www.nevex.tv
Artem Troitsky, Yuri Shevchuk, the group “Bart, Evgeny Chirikov … Although no amplifiers, can hear everything. And seen.

Authorities allowed a rally-concert in support of Khimki forest, but was not allowed to sound. vedomosti

Meeting concert in support of Khimki forest

Saxophone & megaphone

Videomade with expensive equipment critizing the concert: pravdavideo | August 22, 2010
The much-touted “Solidarity” rally in defense of Khimki timber failed. Not helped, and Yuri Shevchuk, and who could not “warm up” the audience, Ecology. In which, despite the promotional efforts, on Sunday gathered only 800 people.

Longer unedited piece from Pushkin Square 22.9 with Chirikova and Shevchuk, The New Times:

August 26

President Medvedev has ordered the construction of a motorway through Khimki forest to be suspended. This comes after Russia’s ruling party publicly backed the campaign to save the forest. primetimeru

August 27

Public hearings to start on fate of Khimki forest

September 9

The revelatory film about Moscow mayor Luzhkov, shown on Friday evening by NTV, included the theme of the Khimki forest (Part 1: 5.40-7.40)

Interview with Yevgeniya Chirikova about the talk in the president’s reception office and her involvement in politics.