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A Call for Solidarity with the Avtonom-journal, several issues of which are now banned in Russia!

On Thursday the 28th of November, the Lenin district court of the city of Tyumen upheld the request of the prosecutor of said district in recognizing five articles of the journal Avtonom as “extremist.”

Of these, two are available in English:  is an obituary written by a friend in memory of Moscow anti-fascist and anarchist Ivan Khutorskoy, who was murdered in November of 2009. This text was published in issue 32 of the journal, and according to experts, it was “instigating hatred against the social group of right-wing radical skinheads.” Another of the banned texts which is available in English is “On anarchism and violence” by Antti Rautiainen, originally published under a pseudonym in the 33rd issue of the journal in the fall of 2011, and translated for this occasion.

is from 2007 , it is about Vladimir Spirin who threw a hand grenade at a police station in Yekaterinburg in 2005. It was banned, although editors stressed that they do not want to encourage anyone to such acts. The two remaining banned texts are from .  and , both on the court the case against Belarusian anarchists accused of arson attacks against various targets. This case has been covered extensively in the english section of the Avtonom website:

The “investigations” being carried out against the journal in Tyumen began more than 3 years ago,  . Obviously, these articles do not include any condoning of “terrorism” (whatever it may mean), nor can one consider “right-wing radicals” as a group against which one could incite “social hatred.” That is to say, there is no it is no means these texts could be included in the scope of Federal law 114-FZ from July 25 2002 "On counteracting extremist activity."

The practice of “Listing extremist materials in the Russian Federation” is based on . This law includes 9 different kinds of activities considered “extremist,” four of which are related to security issues (including “terrorism”, which is not defined at all within the law), and five which are various kinds of “hate crimes.” According to the law, one of the target categories for such “hate crimes” can be a “racial, national, religious or social” group. This fourth category is especially vague, and it has been used (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to prosecute authors who have criticized police or politicians.

A “list of extremist materials in the Russian Federation” . The list currently consists of 2142 books, flyers, webpages, audio recordings, videos, slogans and paintings. I haven't found any up to date statistics on the distribution between various political ideologies, but I have the impression that Islamist materials make up the largest subgroup, followed by racist and fascist materials. Besides these, the list includes amongst others books of scientologists, as well as pamphlets by Jehovah's Witness and Falun Gong. The list also includes the letter written by “Voice of Beslan”, an NGO set up by the victims of the terrorist attack, to leaders of the USA and EU, and “The innocence of muslims”-movie and songs(is it plural) by Stalinist bard Alexandr Harchikov. Until now, anarchism has only been represented by some declarations from the webpage.

The distribution of extremist materials” is punished according to the “Administrative codex”, which is the rough equivalent of a misdemeanor. Section 20.29 of “Administrative codex” limits the maximum penalty for this offense to a fine of 3000 rubles (around 70 euros) and a short prison sentence of up to 15 days. However, even this limited sanction is enough to hamper the distribution of the journal, so issues 29, 32 and 33 are no longer being distributed by the editorial collective.

After discussions with human rights activists with background on the issue, we (part of the editorial collective of the website) concluded that challenging this decision in court is not a viable option. Russian authorities have managed to create a system of uninterrupted and unchallengeable growth of(increase in) the list of “extremist materials,” and thus constantly employ thousands of bureaucrats. As Autonomous Action attempts to be an organisation which is as open as possible to everyone who wants to struggle for libertarian communism, we are now obliged to take some defensive measures.

As the court decision will be valid after 10 working days, that is, as of the 12th of December, we will take the following defensive measures after 9th of December.

Firstly, these five articles will be removed from our website, as we want to be as accessible as possible and do not want to be blacklisted by the Russian communications regulation authority RosKomNadzor. From now on, these texts will be accessible via the website , which will not be linked from from the 9th of December onwards.

Secondly, from the 9th of December onwards we will cease to distribute issues 29, 32 and 33 of our journal. This means that it would be very helpful for us if you ordered and bought them now, until the 9th of December! Note that Russian law only sanctions the storage of “extremist materials” with the goal of distribution, production, but storage without the goal of distribution is not sanctioned! This means, that you may order a single issue of the journal, and it would remain legal even inside Russia.

Thirdly, you may join events via VK and Facebook: to support this action.

Issues 32 and 33 cost 2.50 euros, and issue 29 costs 80 eurocents. Add an additional 4.50 €/6.50$ground mail for one issue, if you want air mail several issues, contact the distribution for price: avtonom (at) or avtonomjournal (at) for price . As we have little time, Paypal is the only feasible option of payment from abroad. Pay via Paypal account of Moscow ABC, abc-msk (at), and confirm your payment to editorial collective e-mail addresses above!


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