Action Alert: Khimki Battle Solidarity 17-20 September

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

To all friends of forests and people worldwide!

Support Russian activists September 17-20

In a historically courageous struggle people in Russia have been able to halt the construction of a high way through the Khimki forest. While the forests were burning all over Russia the authorities started a wave of detaining, torturing and harassing people in movements defending the Khimki forest close to Moscow. They need our solidarity.

We call upon the whole international environmental and social justice movement and all wanting to stop criminalization of protest to support our friends in Russia. Take action on 17-20 September! Follow the call enclosed below issued by The Campaign for the Release of the Khimki Hostages for making actions at embassies and other places representing Russia.

Immediate actions are necessary. The decision by president Medvedev to halt the construction of the high way is only temporary. The heavy repression of the protest movement and especially the antifascist activists makes no halt. Environmentalists, human rights activists, journalists fighting corruption, Anarchists and other antifascists, alter globalization movement, Liberal, Communist and Left wing parties have been able to struggle in solidarity in the midst of heavy repression achieving this first victory. This in spite of different ideological positions and views on tactics. Their unity is an example for the rest of the world and needs support.

The Khimki forest conflict have become historically important and of global concern. Behind the destruction of the forest in Russia is a neoliberal development model which do not care for the environment. Three years ago the federal forest protection service was closed down and 70 000 workers mainly working in the field fired and replaced by 12 000 bureaucrats supposed to see to that others should do what the workers had done earlier. The result is a reduced lack of capacity to halt fires when the weather gets warmer and warmer. At the same time is dismantling of public services and support of privatization also at the core of construction of roads and cities were private profit becomes more important than protection of nature or the interest of people in common. Through the Khimki forest is the first toll high way in Russia between Moscow and St Petersburg planned making an odd detour through the green belt. Road construction is highly lucrative in Russia with its added possibilities for exploitation of land beside the road. Close ties between economic and political interests makes it possible to use any means against those opposing this neoliberal development model, a reason for why those openly criticizing the corruption in Khimki are murdered or maltreated followed by no serious investigation by the police.

Those making much profit out of the environmentally destructive development model are European banks and corporations. The high way is planned to be financed primarily by European banks and the French construction company Vinci is a main contractor. When our Russian friends are struggling to defend the Khimki forest they are also struggling against a neoliberal development model making Russia into a profitable market for Western corporations.

The Russian movement to defend the Khimki forest is a movement defending all forests. If corporations and politicians working in the interest of a global neoliberal and environmentally destructive model is able to exploit the Khimki forest and continue repressing the activists in spite of a historically broad and strong movement in Russia defending the forest, than it can be done anywhere. Solidarity with the activists is the only way to both stop repression and to save the Khimki forest more permanently. Please join the action called for by our Russian friends!
Badrul Alam, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Bangladesh

Patrick Bond, Centre for Civil Society Environmental Justice Project,
Durban, South Africa

Mark Barrett, Climate Justice Action London, UK
Mark Brown, Art Not Oil/Rising Tide, UK

Carmen Buerba de Comite de Defensa Ecologica Michoacana, Mexico

Nicola Bullard, Focus on the Global South, Thailand

Ellie Cijvat, Friends of the Earth Sweden

Joshua Kahn Russell, Ruckus Society, USA

Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción, Spain

Maduresh Kumar, National Alliance of People’s Movements, India

Marea Creciente Mexico

Adriana Matalonga, Miguel Valencia y Mauricio Villegas from Ecomunidades and Klimaforum10, Mexico

Tannie Nyböe, Climate Justice Action, Denmark

Uddhab Pyakurel, South Asian Dialogue on Ecological Democracy, India

Josie Riffaud, Via Campesina, France

Marko Ulvila, Friends of the Earth Finland

Thomas Wallgren, Democracy Forum Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, Finland

You find information and the call for action September 17-20 issued by Campaign for the Release of the Khimki Hostages in many languages at Below you find the text in English, Spanish, and French and more links on the issue.


A Call for International Days of Action in Support of Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov

September 17–20, 2010

On July 28, 2010, more than two hundred young antifascists and anarchists carried out a spontaneous demonstration outside the town administration building in Khimki, a suburb of Moscow. They demonstrated in defence of the Khimki Forest, which was at that time in the process of beings cutting down for the needs of big business. The demonstration, during which several windows were broken, received a great deal of public attention. The authorities responded with a wave of repressions. The day after the demonstration, two well-known social activists, Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov, were arrested. They are now threatened with up to seven years in prison for disorderly conduct, although there is no evidence of their complicity in illegal activities. Meanwhile, the police continue to hunt down and harass other activists, especially those involved in the antifascist movement.

The campaign to save the Khimki Forest has been going on for the past three years. The authorities had decided to build a segment of a planned Moscow–Saint Petersburg toll highway, the first of its kind in Russia, through the forest. This would lead to the deterioration of environmental conditions in the region, and local residents and Muscovites would be deprived of yet another recreation zone. Despite the availability of alternative routes that would not require clear-cutting the forest and vigorous protests by environmentalists and ordinary citizens against the planned route, the authorities f0r a long time ignored the voice of society and on several occasions took measures to suppress their critics.

Khimki authorities and the highway project contractor have used violence and other tactics against Khimki Forest defenders. They refused to give permission for protest demonstrations, recruited nationalist thugs to break up a peaceful protest camp organized by environmentalists and local residents, and illegally arrested and beat up journalists covering the story. Nearly two years ago, Mikhail Beketov, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Khimkinskaya Pravda and a critic of the local administration, was severely beaten by persons unknown; the attack left Beketov permanently disabled. Sergei Protozanov, the layout designer of another local opposition paper, was murdered in similar circumstances six months later.

After the July 28 demonstration, the Russian police and secret services unleashed an unprecedented dragnet against antifascists. People who had even just once come to the attention of the Center for Extremism Prevention and FSB for their involvement with the antifascist movement have been forcibly taken in for questioning. In several cases they  have been subjected to harsh physical coercion in order to compel them to give the testimony required by investigators. In addition, illegal searches have been carried out in their apartments. All these actions on the part of law enforcement authorities are violations of Russian and international law.

Frightened by the numerous and growing protests against the clear-cutting of the Khimki Forest, the authorities have finally made concessions by agreeing to review the advisability of the planned route for the toll highway. But this does not mean victory. Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov are still in police custody for no reason at all. They are hostages of the authorities.

In late September, the next hearing in their case will take place. The judge will decide whether to keep them in police custody pending completion of the investigation and trial. Everyone who cares about the fate of these two young men must do everything in their power to see that they are set free. The Campaign for the Release of the Khimki Hostages calls on people around the world to organize days of action on September 17, 18, 19, and 20 to pressure the Russian authorities to release Alexei and Maxim.

We ask you to hold protests outside of Russian Federation embassies, consulates, trade missions, and cultural centers, as well as at public events and concerts connected to Russia. We also ask you to send faxes, e-mails, and protest letters to the court, the prosecutor’s office, and the country’s political leadership. In the very nearfuture we will inform you of addresses where you can send these protests as well as more details about the ongoing repressions in Russia. Look for this information on our website in English, German, Russian, and French.

Join our campaign!

Campaign for the Release of the Khimki Hostages

+7 (915) 053-5912 * *


Back ground information:

Chtodelat news, Khimki Territory of Lawlessness
Khimki: Territory of Lawlessness

Why we need solidarity with Russian environmentalists and antifascists

Why we need solidarity with Russian environmentalists and antifascists


Below the call issued by Campaign for the Release of the Khimki Hostages also in Spanish, French and Russian:

Llamamiento a acciones internacionales en apoyo de Alexei Gaskárov y Maxim Sólopov del 17 al 20 de septiembre de 2010.

El 28 de julio de 2010 en frente de la administración municipal de Khimki, una ciudad en las afueras de Moscú, más de 200 jóvenes antifascistas y anarquistas mantuvieron una manifestación espontánea en apoyo del bosque de Khimki que en aquel momento estaba siendo talado para las necesidades de grandes empresas. La acción, durante la cual varias ventanas fueron dañadas, recibió una amplia publicidad. Por su parte, las autoridades respondieron con represalias. El día después de la manifestación dos prominentes activistas de un movimiento social – Alexei Gaskárov y Maxim Sólopov – fueron detenidos. Los dos jóvenes podrían ser sentenciados a siete años de prisión por vandalismo mientras que no existen pruebas de su implicación en las actividades ilegales. Otros activistas, en particular los que están involucrados en el movimiento antifascista, siguen siendo objetos de una cacería policial.

Ya hace tres años que la lucha por la salvación del bosque de Khimki continúa en esa pequeña ciudad rusa. La intención de las autoridades locales es utilizar el terreno para la construcción de una autopista de pago – la primera en Rusia – de Moscú a San Petersburgo, que finalmente conduciría a un deterioro de la situación ecológica en la región y privaría a la población local y los moscovitas de una zona recreativa. A pesar de la disponibilidad de rutas alternativas que no requieran la tala del bosque, y las protestas rigorosas de ecologistas y ciudadanos de a pie contra el trazado elegido, las autoridades no quieren escuchar a la población. Por el contrario, las autoridades muchas veces han tomado medidas para silenciar a sus críticos.

Las autoridades de Khimki, junto con la empresa constructora más de una vez han recurrido a la violencia contra los defensores del bosque de Khimki: varias veces han desestimado la opinión pública, se han negado a ponerse de acuerdo sobre las protestas, han recurrido a los nacionalistas para disolver protestas pacíficas de ecologistas y de la población local, han detenido ilegal mente y golpeado a periodistas. Desconocidos mutilaron al crítico de la administración municipal, el editor jefe del periódico “Khimkinskaya pravda” Mikhail Béketov, y mataron al compaginador del otro periódico de oposición Serguei Protazánov.

Después de la manifestación del 28 de julio de 2010 la policía rusa y las fuerzas de seguridad iniciaron una cacería sin precedentes a los antifascistas. Las personas, una vez hayan sido detectados como antifascistas por el Centro para la lucha contra el extremismo y el FSB, – contra todas las normas jurídicas – están siendo detenidas y transportadas a la fuerza para ser interrogadas mientras que sus apartamentos son registrados sin ningún orden judicial, y en algunos casos en los interrogatorios se recurre a la violencia para extraer declaraciones necesarias.

Asustadas por muchas protestas contra el talado del bosque de Khimki que cada vez ganaban en fuerza, las autoridades finalmente hicieron concesiones, dispuestos a comprobar la ruta elegida de la autopista. Pero esto aún no significa la victoria. Alexei Gaskárov y Maxim Sólopov continúan en custodia sin ningún fundamento, mantenidos por las autoridades como rehenes.

A finales de septiembre está programada una sesión judicial donde se decidirá sobre la medida preventiva contra Alexei y Maxim. Todos los que se preocupan por su destino deben hacer todo lo posible por su liberación. La campaña por la liberación de rehenes de Khimki llama a organizar acciones internacionales y realizar presión sobre las autoridades rusas del 17 al 20 de septiembre de 2010 para lograr la liberación de Alexei y Maxim.

Hacemos un llamamiento para celebrar mítins cerca de las embajadas, consulados, misiones comerciales e culturales de la Federación Rusa en el mundo, en los actos públicos y conciertos relacionados con Rusia, así mismo enviar faxes y cartas de protesta al tribunal, la fiscalía y el gobierno rusos. Las direcciones para enviar las protestas y la información detallada sobre las represiones en Rusia serán enviadas más adelante. Próximamente serán disponibles en nuestra página web en inglés, alemán, ruso, francés y español.

La campaña por la liberación de rehenes de Khimki

Contactos: +7 (915) 053-59-12

Appel à des Journées d’action internationales

Liberté pour les ôtages de Khimki!

Appel à des Journées d’action internationales pour Alekseï Gaskarov et Maxime Solopov

Les 17-20 septembre 2010

Le 28 juillet 2010 plus de 200 personnes, jeunes antifascistes et anarchistes ont mené une manifestation spontanée devant la mairie de Khimki (la banlieue nord de Moscou), à la défense de la forêt de cette ville qui a été abbattu au profit du grand business. L’action lors de laquelle plusieurs vitres ont été brisées, a trouvé un large écho. De leur côté, les autorités y ont répondu par des répressions. Au lendemain de l’action deux militants des mouvements sociaux connus, Alekseï Gaskarov et Maxime Solopov ont été arrêtés. Ils sont menacés de 7 ans de prison pour vandalisme bien qu’il n’y ait pas de preuves de leur complicité à des actes illégaux. D’autres militants, surtout des antifascistes, subissent des poursuites policières.

La lutte pour la conservation de la forêt de KhimkI dure déjà depuis trois ans. D’après les projets des autorités, c’est à travers de cette forêt que doit être construite l’autoroute à péage Moscou-St-Petersbourg, la première de tel type en Russie; ce qui menera à une dégradation de la situation écologique locale et privera les moscovites et les banlieusards d’une zone de recréation en plus. Malgré l’existence des plans alternatifs pour l’autoroute qui permettraient de se passer d’une déforestation et au dépit des protestations actives des écologistes et de la population locale, les autorités ont refusé d’y prêter l’oreille. Au contraire, elles ont fait plusieurs démarches visées à imposer le silence aux contestateurs.

Plus d’une fois les autorités de Khimki (en concertation avec la compagnie de bâtiment chargée des travaux) ont recouru à la violence contre les défenseurs de la forêt de la ville: en négligeant l’opinion publique, en refusant de permettre des actions de protestation, en appellant les nationalistes à disperser les piquets des écologistes et des habitants de la ville, en arrêtant illégalement et en attaquant les journalistes. Les “personnes inconnues” ont mutilé le rédacteur en chef du journal local “Khimkinskaïa Pravda” Mikhaïl Beketov qui avait âprement critiqué les autorités, et ils ont assassiné le metteur en pages d’un autre journal d’opposition, Sergueï Protazanov.

Après l’action du 28 juillet 2010 la police russe et les services secrets ont déclenché une chasse aux antifascistes sans précédents. Les personnes une fois signalées à l’attention du Centre anti-extrémiste et du Service fédéral de sûreté (l’ex-KGB) en tant qu’antifascistes, sont amenées de force aux interrogatoires, les visites à domicile illégales se tiennent chez eux; il y a des cas des pressions physiques atroces pour arracher des dépositions dont l’instruction a besoin.

Ayant peur d’une vague montante des protestations contre la déforestation, les autorités ont enfin reculé en exprimant la volonté de reviser le projet de l’autoroute. Mais il n’y a pas lieu de crier victoire. Alekseï Gaskarov et Maxime Solopov sont toujours en prison sans droit, pris en ôtage par les autorités.

A la fin septembre se tiendra la prochaine audience pénale qui devra prononcer sur une mise en liberté d’Alekseï et de Maxime dans l’attente du jugement. Tous ceux qui s’inquiètent de leur sort, doivent faire tout leur possible pour les arracher de la prison. La Campagne pour la mise en liberté des ôtages de Khimki appelle à des Journées d’action internationales les 17-20 septembre 2010 pour mettre de la pression sur les autorités russes en vue d’obtenir la libération d’Alekseï et de Maxime.

Nous appelons à organiser des manifestations devant les ambassades, les consulats, les missions économiques et culturelles de la Fédération de Russie, aux événements publics et culturels qui ont des rapports à la Russie, tout comme d’envoyer des télécopies et des lettres au tribunal, au Parquet et au gouvernement russes (la journée principale de la campagne fax sera lundi le 20 septembre). Les adresses nécessaries et les détails supplémentaires sur les répressions en Russie seront bientôt communiqués. Vous pouvez les trouver aussi sur notre site web: en anglais, allemand, français et russe.

Unissez-vous à l’action!

Campagne pour la mise en liberté des ôtages de Khimki

Tel.: +7 (915) 053-59-12


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