Black Petrograd - 04



The anarchist festival "Black Petrograd-04 " taken place November 6-8 in St. Petersburg, collected about hundred anarchists from several cities of Russia (St. Petersburg, Moscow, Petrozavodsk, Tyumen, Perm, Neftekamsk), and also several comrades from Belarus, Finland, Sweden, Germany and Romania. Actions within the framework of festival as a whole have passed successfully, changes of preliminary program appeared to be insignificant.


The festival has opened on November, 6, about 11.00, in the building of Centre of Information and Science "Memorial" with the lection on history of makhnovist movement in Ukraine; an audience has gathered about 30 persons. Upon termination of lecture anarchists, as an organized group went to meeting “Against the Regime of Terror”. The meeting begun at 14.00 near the intersection of Nevsky Prospekt and Malaya Konyushennaya in the Peterburg city center. The action was organized by participants of Petersburg Anti-war Committee - anarchist Pyotr Rausch, trotskist Alexey Drozdov and right-protecting activist Ekaterina Vargina. The action collected about 70 of comrades. Meeting passed under three black banners (liberal anti-fascists and bolsheviks-internationalists had not brought their flags).  Petersburg anarchists have been developed an orange header with slogan "Freedom to the people, death to the empires!" and a black one "Death to fascism!"; the Moscow comrades from "Autonomous Action" brought a white header "Death to the state and the capital!" and a yellow "No war between peoples, no peace between classes!". Speeches were made by: Pyotr Rausch (the participant of Petersburg League of Anarchists / ADA / IFA), Ekaterina Vargina (the participant of Independent Right-protecting Group), Alexander Skobov (Chechenian Peace Initiative), Alexei Petrov (member of trotskist group “Worker democracy”),  Andrey Kalenov (Petersburg League of Anarchists / ADA / IFA), Pavel Viktorov (editor of anti-war paper “Antivoennyi Westnik”), comrade Ukrop (Moscow group of “Autonomous Action”), Deni Said Teps (president of Chechenian World Congress) and comrade Arlequin (participant of Peterburg Antifa-Punk group “Punk-Revival” and Petersburg League of Anarchists / ADA / IFA). After the meeting, that past without any excesses, at 17.00 in the building CSI "Memorial" took place a collective viewing of video about anarchist actions. The first videocassette contained records of actions of Petersburg anarchists - pickets of Anti-war Committee, May Day demonstrations in 2003 and 2004, meetings of movement “For Election Boycott”, demonstration of 7.11.03, XVII congress of ADA etc. The Second one consisted of clips made by Moscow collective "Indyvideo", mainly about actions in Moscow (happenings, manifestations, performances, graffiti-campaigns on ecologist, right-protecting, feminist and antimilitarist subjects), with addition of some plots finished shot in other cities (Azov Anti-methanol Ecological Camp 2003, demonstrations in Peterburg and Nizhniy Novgorod). Video viewing ended with display of the French film about counter-summit against meeting of G-8 in Genoa. The concerts, originally planned for November 6 and 7, were not possible to conduct that days, because it turned out not possible to agree upon rent of location before the 8th.


In the morning of November 7, anarchists, participating in actions of festival, gathered near  Concert Hall "October", whence was planned to move to the city protest meeting – in common column with communists. According to tradition of last two years, the arrangement with Committee of Uniform Actions in Protection of the Social and Labor Rights of Citizens was reached, according to which leaders of the Committee were official co-organizers of the         demonstration and provided anarchists with a guaranteed place in the column. However, when a group of approximately 80 anarchists, having lifted black, red-black also it green-black banners headers, tried join the general column, it was blocked by OMON patrol. Numerous attempts to explain to the policemen the groundlessness, illegitimacy and criminal character of their actions (an item 136 and item 149 of Criminal Code the Russian Federation), undertaken both participants of the anarchist block, and the communists who have supported them (from the Committee (E.A. Kozlov and V.M. Soloveichik) and “Worker Democracy”, brought no result. At first, the policemen asserted that that question could be solved only by representatives of city administration, that were present in that location. They soon appeared on a place of the conflict, but the situation has not changed. In reply to stated in the nebulous form assertion of official from Smolnyi that there are no legal obstacles for participation of anarchists in demonstration, OMON lieutenant-colonels, surrounding the anarchist block, declared that they need a command from their direct heads (having thus shown that the OMON is not subordinated to city authorities). After that the representative of city administration, wishing not to argue with OMON, started to lay down some sort of idiosyncratic offers: "Curtail flags, for a short while - and the police will remove the cordon". But execution of the strange request of the official had no effect on the behavior of policemen. The communistic column at this time passed by, showing no reaction on the incident. While group of NBP surrounded by police, having approximately same number as anarchists,  anarchists began to declaim the slogan "Fascism will not pass!". NBP began to scan same slogan, and NBP group passed by, not confronted by the police (for a while). Appearing of colonel Kabatsky, the commander of summary unit of St. Petersburg OMON, at the Concert Hall just added to cops’ obstinacy. After 20-minute-long standing at concert Hall, when the tail of the basic column turned from Ligovski to Nevskyi prospekt and disappeared from a visibility range, it became finally clear, that joining of anarchist group to the main column was not admitted. Then the two participants PLA, which appeared to be in the external side of cordon, went to catch up with a column to nevertheless join it in the area. The others - about 80 persons, surrounded by the cops and supported by ten outside the cordon - were kept at the place for about 25 more minutes. Only when the basic column passed the bridge through Fontanka, OMON cordon was unblocked (as was found out later - to throw the same unit against NBP). The unblocked anarchist column was pushed out to Nekrasov street; when it was crossing street of Revolt, police escort was completely removed, and comrades began non-authorized march, scanning slogans under the banners, to the Palace square. However, vast majority of anarchists didn’t success to get to the meeting: near the Palace square anarchists have run into a circuit of "blue division", tried to find the other way and met all the same OMON in the square near the Winter palace (which by this time had already dissipated the column of NBP and now had being thrown against previous opponent). Almost all anarchists stood most of the meeting near to the square; only eight person from eighty managed to get in: two under a black flag in a red column, four in the individual guerrilla and two that were late for the gathering. They distributed to the area there about 30 newspapers and about 400 leaflets in an hour. By the end of meeting, OMON started to push anarchists who had not got into the square from the Winter palace aside the Admiralties; the cops behaved more and more impudently. Taking into account the threat of mass arrest and impossibility of break into Palace square, the group decided to cross Neva and to move to the Peter and Paul’s Fortress. As a new place of disposition was chosen a park near the monument to destroyer-ship "Stereguschiy". After the end of meeting, those who managed to get on it also came there. In the park took place a brief discussion, which has defined the further actions for the rest of day, and first of all -  ones connected with the fact, that during movement to Palace square cops have arrested (and delivered to 76th police department) four Moscow comrades. During the discussion, a group of anarchists under a black flag organized distribution of the remaining leaflets among passers-by. After finding out an exact site of arrested persons, the great bulk of comrades has moved through Troitsky bridge and the Mars field to the "Memorial", assuming therefrom to go to 76th PD together with legal experts. However, after some minutes through mobile communication appeared a message that arrested persons are released after check of documents. The last occasion of the day was, as it was initially planned, the discussion on topic “Anarchy against the regime of terror” (though, contrary to an initial plan, discussion took place in "Memorial" in a mode of tea drinking and it has been devoted not to the theory, but to the practical side – analysis of results of last day and discussion, aiming to work out exact recommendations of struggle against police arbitrariness during open street actions).


Day of  November 8 began with the second planned discussion: “Perspectives and strategy of anarchist movement”. Representatives of three most widespread anarchistic tendencies of modern Russia took part in the discussion: participants of the ADA / IFA (supporting the anarchist organization making decision without voting, with a consensus), members of "Independent Action" (anarcho-communists of platformist orientation, having democratic intra-organizational structure), and anti-organisationist comrades, grouping around Russian Indimedia,  so-called "Tupikin mafia", considering any organization immanently harmful and building their actions on the base of DIY principles and only by informal interactions. Discussion began at 12.00 and took two hours. Its purpose, obviously, was not to find the certain compromise uniting everybody, but to compare positions. Those comrades who have joined movement not long ago, had an opportunity to compare distinguished positions and to estimate arguments of participants of dispute - that, probably, wasn’t completely useless for them. After the polemic was over, under the offer of the Finnish comrades were made two reports which originally had not been included in the plan of festival, but certainly were of some interest: about modern anarchist movement in Finland and Romania. The further program was continued by excursion on the anarchist points of the city - from a point at the subway station “Dostoevskaya”, where anarchist demonstrations of 1992-2002 had usually begun, by former anarchical squat of year 1991 in the Candle lane, to a former Palace of Culture Light Industry Workers in the street of Truth, where in 1989-90 assemblies of Free Anarcho-Syndicalist Association had taken place. At the same building a conference of Association of Anarchists had been carried out in May 1990. The Association had been one and a half month later reorganized in Association of Movements of Anarchists (Associacia Dvizheniy Anarhistov, ADA). After that, the excursion continued to o the house 4 along the Zaslonov street (from October of 1989 – to May of 1990 there operated three anarchist squats: "Anarcho-club", "Zastava" and “KPZ”), further by the subway to Gostinyi Dvor (formerly known as "Wall of Tears" and being the main place of distribution of the anti-governmental periodical press in Peterburg in 1990-2000) and to the building of Suvorov School on Sadovaya street (where in XIX century had been situated Page Corpus in which Kropotkin had studied). Due to the lack of time, only four anarchists have reached final point of excursion - the Mariinsky palace (on adjoining of Herzen street and Voznesenskiy Prospekt where in August 1991 under black flags stood anarchist barricades).


The last – and, maybe, the loudest - chord of "Black Petrograd " was a punk-rock concert, that took place in the evening of November, 8, birthday of Nestor Makhno, in club "Legend", near the subway station "Ladozhskaya". All known reviews of the concert have extremely enthusiastic character.