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BROWN DAWN OVER THE BLACK SOIL - THE CASE OF THE KRASNODAR THREE
(a fuller and updated description of the case of anarchists arrested in Krasnodar, Southern Russia, on dubious charges)
It all started in a very familiar way. On November 28, 1998 at Krasnodar railway station the cops apparently disliked the way several young anarchist punks looked and the fact that they drank vine in public. A search followed and some explosives were found in the bag of Gennady Nepshikuyev. Police has arrested him and 2 other people, namely Maria Randina and Jan Musel, a Czech citizen. Jan was released after a while on the insistence of the Czech consulate, Gennady and Maria remained under arrest.
Little if any information is available on what happened between their arrest in November and February 2, when two more searches in the flats of anarchists were conducted by FSB (successor of KGB) in Moscow and a third person, Larisa Schiptsova, was arrested. On this very day Vlad Tupikin, a Moscow-based anarchist whose house was searched and documents and computer confiscated, was asked by the FSB whether he knows of Shiptsova's attitude towards "national policy of governor Kondratenko". That's when the anarchists began to understand that they are part of the great Zionist design to overthrow the beloved governor of Krasnodar, whom the region's dwellers refer to as "batka Kondrat" (father Kondrat). This was just a first sign that the paranoid anti-Semitic governor and his lackeys are looking forward to present the case as an attempt on his life. The plot to assasinate Kondratenko will become just another minor detail (although nobody knows to which proportions it can be blown) of his own policy to blame everything on Jewish and other conspiracies.
Nikolai Kondratenko became notorious after he made public chauvinistic and anti-Semitic statements on the regional TV (later aired on the national channel as well) and his support of regional Nazis became widely-known (Russia's largest fascist party, Russian National Unity, or RNE, operates legally in Krasnodar). Southern Russia is a fertile ground for Russian nationalism, with Cossack militias, who are usually racist and anti-Semitic and who are actively trying to arm themselves and get some legal status (the same as RNE, the Cossacks usually work together with police in patrolling the streets and fighting "people of Caucasian nationality").
For the Krasnodar anarchists it should have been little surprise that their comrades became the targets of Kondratenko's paranoid search for enemies. Kuban Anarchist Federation (FAK) was almost the only political group in the region to have the guts to openly demonstrate against nationalist policies of Kondratenko and the thugs of RNE. Local anarchists had a few fights with the Nazis and constantly received threats of murder. Maria Randina knew it too well - she was the most active anarchist to resist the establishment of nazi-controlled University police in Krasnodar (for which she was thrown out of the Krasnodar Uni). Besides that for a few years now Krasnodar anarchists were under close surveillance of the regional FSB, which was also due to the active anti-fascist stance.
Although the 3 persons arrested to this date are formally charged with transportation and possession of explosives, and no charges of terrorism and establishing a criminal group were presented to them, the regional papers controlled by the governor reported that an attempt to kill him was prevented. Kondratenko himself is reported by the press to be telling that the terrorists were going to plant a bomb into his office and that they were acting on behalf of "certain" (one can be sure, "pro-Zionist") circles in Moscow. "What else but money could bring together a Czech, an Adygeyan and a Russian from Siberia?" Kondratenko is reported to have said at a meeting of nationalist writers. (Nepshikuyev lives in Adygeya, a region bordering on Krasnodar region, Randina is originally from Siberia.)
THE SITUATION OF THE KRASNODAR 3
Some serious difficulties have already emerged for the arrested people - while the usual cases of carrying explosives are investigated by the local police, the Krasnodar 3 received special treatment. They were placed into the prison of the regional FSB and the case is being conducted by the regional procurator's office and the Krasnodar FSB.
Larisa Schiptsova is suffering physically the most since she is 4 months pregnant and the nutrition in Krasnodar FSB prison is outrageous (a plate of watery soup with just a little cabbage and potato once per day). Already after 3 weeks of imprisonment her dents were bleeding and doctors already detected some problems in fetus' development.
Larisa's attorney, Stanislav Markelov, also attracted attention from the investigators - all of the anarchists interrogated in Krasnodar at the end of February were questioned not only about the case, but also about where Markelov comes from, etc. It is no coincidence that searches in Krasnodar were carried out in the flats of people whom Markelov met when he was in town, even those who are not active anarchists and have no relation to the case. (Markelov was also an attorney for Andrey Sokolov, a young Stalinists sentenced recently for blowing up a monument to the Russian royal family. His case was reconsidered in mid-March, he got softer sentence for vandalism, not terrorism, and was released from prison.) There are chances that the investigators simply want to replace Markelov with a more obedient lawyer.
Something similar to that was happening to Maria Randina, because until recently she only had a lawyer recommended by the investigator (since pressure was put on her relative who had to sign a contract with a lawyer). Fortunately another, more experienced lawyer was found for Maria, the one who has some experience at defending the "politicals".
Gennady Nepshikuyev, in whose bag the explosives were found, seems to be too talkative and his words are the only evidence for charges against the other two arrested. There are reasons to believe that he basically tells what the investigators want to hear (naming people, who cannot even be connected with the accused). Unfortunately FSB keeps his testimonies secret and there is no detailed information on that. Some anarchists believe that Nepshikuyev was either used by the authorities to create a "conspiracy" or is too willing to cooperate with the investigators now.
PROTESTS AND MEDIA BLACK OUT
On March 30 anarchists and human rights activists picketed the Federation Council (upper houses of the Russian parliament) demanding release Maria Randina and Larisa Schiptsova. The protestors handed out leaflets, held large posters against the police state, for the release of the arrested anarchists and chanted slogans "The state is the main extremist", "FSB (KGB) is child murderer", etc. On the same day pickets were organized in Yekaterinburg and St.Petersburg (Russia) and Berlin. Various human rights, ecological and leftist groups are sending their protests to the Krasnodar authorities.
So far there is very few reports of the case in the Russian media, which apparently finds the story not spectacular enough. Now, with the war in Yugoslavia and nationalistic craze here in Russia, there are even fewer chances that the Krasnodar case will be among the topics actively discussed by the media. Not a single journalist showed up at the demo on March 30 (partly due to the fact that the media was preoccupied with Yeltsin's address to the parliament which happened on the same day, unfortunately at a different building). Groups set up in Moscow, St.Petersburg and other cities to campaign for the release of the arrested anarchists are continuing their efforts to break the media blockade.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Spread this information as far as possible. Demonstrate at the Russian embassies and consulates in your countries. Send petitions to the Russian ambassadors.
Please, send protests to governor Kondratenko and the regional procurator's office, which investigates the case:
Nikolai E. Kondratenko, governor of Krasnodar region
350014 Krasnodar, ulitsa Krasnaya, 35
Tel.(7-8612) 62-57-16, fax (7-8612) 68-35-82 & 68-45-38
Krasnodar regional procurator
Fax (7-8612) 68-30-95
Donations to cover legal and other expenses are welcome. People in North America can send checks and money orders (both of which can be made out to M.Laskey or S. Hyland) to: WE DARE BE FREE / INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN PO Box 390085, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Since International Solidarity Campaign also collects funds for Czech anarchists' legal defense, please, indicate that your donation is for the anarchists arrested in Krasnodar.)
There will also probably be an address for donations from Europe, it will be published later.
INFORMATION AND CONTACTS
You can get in touch with the Moscow Group for counteraction against political repression at the following addresses:
113208, Moscow, m-208, P.O.Box 80, Vladlen Tupikin (please, don't write the name of the group, just a person's name on the envelope).
All of the information available on the "Krasnodar case" can be found at www.ecoline.ru/actions/bomba/ Most of the information is in Russian, but there are German and English sections as well. The site also features photos of Maria and Larisa, as well as photos from the demos in their support held in Moscow.
"AN-PRESS": Tel./fax: (812) 247-8572, e-mail: AnPress@mail.admiral.ru