This article criticizing the Russian music anti-fascists scene was published on the German website Linksunten in February and had a great resonance and a storm of discussion in the international anti-fascist movement, but has not yet been translated into English. We have corrected this for the readers who do not speak German, so they can take a look and make their own conclusions.
"I am a Russian, and you - Nazi whore», - WWF feat. MDB «to end."
This month begins a European tour known hardcore bands «What We Feel» and «Moscow Death Brigade». Traditionally, the anti-fascist media declared solidarity campaign in honor of the murdered Russian anti-fascist Ivan Khutorskoy. Russian anti-fascists are shown to us as street fighters who stand against the Nazis. For many people in Western Europe wide known Russian musical group «What We Feel» («What we feel", then «WWF») and «Moscow Death Brigade» («The Moscow team death", then «MDB»), as well as people behind them, are the embodiment of the heavy and dangerous anti-fascist struggle in Russia. Their texts and activities based on a public speech against the Nazis in Russia are considered very risky. That's what people in Germany and other European countries respect them for.
However, if you look closer to these groups, then the ideal image of the hero anti-fascist go cracks. Although these groups are positioning themselves as anti-fascist, some members of these collectives and communities sometimes manifest elements of racism, russian nationalism, sexism, homophobia, etc. Although the debates about liberating thinking in the subcultural circles continue, that is already happening among left activists, for example, the debate over so-called "gray zone", nevertheless criticism does not apply equally to all groups. People or musical bands from the 'anti-fascist scene' are rarely criticized.
It would be desirable if in this "scene" were established some rules, which do not contradict each other. Antifa - this is not the only brand in the fight against Nazism, it is also an ideology that opposes all forms of inequality and discrimination: chauvinism, racism, sexism, etc. On the example of «MDB», «WWF» and their surroundings seen a large crack between externally and this opinion so that critical thinking about them must finally be expressed. After the general work with comrades from Russia, we publish the first results of a long analysis and discussions that are designed to show both views, as well as to familiarize the reader with the development of "anti-fascist" scene in recent years in Russia.
It is important to emphasize that the group «What We Feel» and «Moscow Death Brigade» - the most famous representatives of groups, labels, fanzines and individuals. Much better known in Europe are only the group «Siberian meat grinder» (further «SMG»), as well as the Hatecore band "210" and «Razor Bois». We have identified the problem and quite a lot of strange utterances that sound from people in this "anti-fascist" environment in which you can see elements of racism, sexism or russian nationalism. This clearly shows that these groups are not just wallow in subcultural space, but also exposed the social contradictions in Russia, Germany, everywhere. What matters is how the people mentioned apply to such contradictions. If the team positions itself as "anti-fascist" and acts on this ideological scene, it shows itself inconsistent when admits in his personal and musical creativity, as well as in their environment actions which will be discussed below
"Apolitical anti-fascists" - what is it?
Before starting the analysis of this topic, it is important to study the history of the pretty young left scene in russia, especially in Moscow. In the late '90s numerous clashes between punk-hardcore kids and neo-nazi skinheads (so-called Bonehead) began. Not later than 2007, a group «WWF» and their surroundings began to organize against the nazis and fascists, build defense and create a space free from nazism. These were not the "classical left-wing" but people of different political views. Together they began to pursue a common struggle against the nazis under the "Antifa" brand, putting political differences on the background. As a result, such identification as "Antifa" began to dominate after the assassination of anti-fascist Timur Kacharava in St. Petersburg in 2005. Soon, in response to a significant increase in politically motivated murders of people with nazi anti-fascist stance, began to flourish cult of violence and masculinity. Thus, much of the movement "Antifa" was developed as a kind of reservoir for young people who want to fight the nazis. Long-term confrontation with the fascist ideology associated with the promotion of inequality, proved to be very difficult. Basically, the nazis were seen as a "sick society" problem, which should be cured. As a result of the lack of criticism of capitalism and patriarchy concepts, "anti-fascism" and "anti-racism" within the subculture "anti-fascist" medium mixed with the growing issue of violence. Most of these "anti-fascists" and "anti-racists" who called themselves "apolitical", at the same time adhere to such misanthropic ideas as hatred towards Caucasians and illegal migrants. People who were interested in further political changes, or turned a blind eye to this inconsistency, or even supports it as the main priority was the combat capability "anti-fascist" movement. But there were people who did not want to rely solely on street fighting but were trying to deal with an increase of discriminatory positions in the movement.
There was no clear dividing line between these two camps, mainly due to tactical reasons. Discussion and debate between them is often blocked by "anti-fascist authorities." This is mainly due to the fact that many did not want to aggravate the ideological contradictions within the movement. Against the background of the superior forces of the far right, their attacks and killings, the topic was secondary. In the long term "apolitical" faction strengthened in motion. Socio-critical and emancipatory ideas lost their positions and were even openly rejected because of their "left character." At the same time, Russian society was moving in the direction of right thinking. Therefore, to express political opinions, debate and act in this direction was dangerous and unpopular. This public right shift also had an impact on "anti-fascist" environment that were becoming less and less "politicized." This resulted primarily in a positive attitude towards Russia, as well as hatred of all "non-Russians", including a "decadent West", for example, to feminism and homosexuality.
The soundtrack of the "apolitical" scene
Russian hardcore bands together with their environment, in terms of content, have a strong intersection with the above-described "apolitical" part of the "anti-fascist" movement and significantly affect them. Groups such as «WWF» and «MDB» are part of the music network, which also includes the group "210», «Siberian meat grinder», «Razor bois», «ZORAKI», etc. All of them are closely related, share many shows and recordings, personal and friendly relations (hyperlink). Often it is unclear what the musicians in which group play, or which group was created earlier. There are some people who are constantly active. One of these people is Gryundik, who is currently playing at the same time in the "210" and «Razor bois», and sometimes helps «WWF». Just how close he is to «WWF», shows his participation in the film «Sad but True», devoted to Ivan Khutorskaya killed by the Nazis, who in 2013 was produced and sold at their concerts in the spring tour 2014 «WWF» (hyperlink). Another important figure is Vova, who was also active as a part of «WWF». He currently plays in a band «MDB», «SMG» and «Razor bois».
"The group was created as an alternative for those who are alien to both nationalist and anti-fascist ideas. Take, for example, football fans. He goes to football, and he does not like what he sees in the stands, all this racism. But he grew up in Russia, and here their traditions. It is no European tolerance, it is not brought up in the belief that he has to respect someone. Because of this, he does not consider himself anti-fascist. Razor Bois, MDB and 210 were created for just such people "- Gryundik group" 210 »,« Razor bois », ex« WWF », an interview in 2014.
The premise of these words is this: the main thing that you were against the nazis, everything else is secondary. Although nationalism and racism on the one hand is rejected, on the other hand do not want to have anything to do with anti-fascism. Instead, they propose either "Russian tradition" or tolerance, that is, public mainstream in Russia or "discredited" Europe. These excerpts from the interview differ significantly from the passages of the socio-critical and political texts such groups as «WWF» and «MDB», right?
"I needed the money. Had to work a lot. When I came to Europe, I saw that in every squats lots of dogs. Thought, "What good fellows, take animals from shelters." And then I was told that they receive benefits for animal welfare and live on this money, not working and not doing anything. Mercantile asshole. Somehow in Europe rarely get to meet nice people. It happened "- Gryundik group" 210 »,« Razor bois », ex« WWF », 2014 interview.
"Russians against fascism"?
What is really promoted in this "apolitical anti-fascist scene"? Lifestyle, supposedly free from political beliefs and prejudices, which should help to deal with public opinion? Some of the statements in the interviews and the lyrics give a clearly understanding.
"Communism and anarchy - all dangerous utopias, clogging the people, especially the young, the head of fairy tales and distracting them from solving specific local problems. (...) Our views have not changed since our first rehearsal. We always laughed at the racists and fascists of all stripes and colors, as well as over tolerant fanatics of political correctness. (...) We have a positive attitude towards the idea of a healthy patriotism, which is expressed, of course, not in praise of the authorities and the hatred of the rest of the world, and in homage to his motherland, its traditions and culture and the desire to make it better "- Vova from" MDB »,« SMG »,« Razor bois », ex« WWF »in an interview« Razor bois »fanzine for« Made in Moscow », 2010 (hyperlink).
Tolerance and "political correctness" is placed on the same level as racism and fascism, and "common patriotism" is positioned as the only alternative. The same position is expressed in such slogans as "Russians against fascism." Banners with appropriate inscriptions were, in particular, at a rally against fascism in 2009 in Moscow, where he also acted «MDB» (hyperlink).
"As for patriotism, then, in my opinion, this word is understood wrongly today, as the total approval of the existing regime, the worship of power, running down all foreign and other nonsense. For us to be a patriot - trying to make the place you live the best. This is our scene, our streets, our city and, in the end, our country, "- excerpt from an interview« MDB »in 2010.
"Not with us those who are spreading to enemies and traitors russophobia with dead brain's fear. Not are led to the nazi dogma and nonsense ultra. Politics are for the weak, your own opinion - for the brave. (...) The boys raising the movement, whores arguing like children. We try to act in a way not to shame our grandfathers and fathers. My Moscow, Russia, together we will be with you until the end "- an excerpt from the song« MDB » «Your card bet"(hyperlink).
This pseudo rebel and patriotic opinion in the German context is presented in such musical groups as «Grauzone» or representatives of the so-called "German rock." These groups are also not far from the open propaganda of various discriminations.
"I am against illegal immigrants, if we talk about migrants. But if this person is an expert, can and wants to earn money or learn, I dont see any problems in his presence. If he obeys the laws. (...) Feminism in Russia and Europe is sucked out of the finger. We have no problem with it. A woman who is smart enough can succeed in any field "- Gryundik group" 210 »,« Razor bois », ex« WWF », an interview in 2014.
"The critics, politicians, out of the box vile faces. The nazis, pedophiles - pair of every creature (...) You beg for money, and we fought for our tours. chased, beaten, hung out in police stations (...) communicate with friends and those who are close in spirit. This is me Russian, you - a nazi whore. Against politics and racism of all shades of color. Chaos comes, but we've got something to tell him, "- excerpt from the song" Until the End »« MDB »and« WWF »from the album« WWF »« Our 14 words "in 2009.
English translation for the song "Until the End", printed on the booklet, which was distributed during concerts teams in Europe
It is interesting to look at this as an excerpt from the song printed in the booklet in English. As you can see, it differs significantly from the original, that is, of course, a lot of questions: "Nazi whore moan about patriotism. They are - nothing but a disgrace to our people and country. Fight against racism and political shit all shades of color. " In these texts, we see a nationalist and mysoginistic rhetorics. On one side is a Russian man shown as the ideal man, on the other - "non-Russian Nazis", and between them the word "whore", which qualifies as a negative for the "Russian national community" ("our country and our people"). Based on this design, you might think that the whole neo-Nazism in Russia is a "non-Russians." This is a false and simplistic vision, as from the middle of the Russian society, which is deeply ingrained imperial consciousness, also comes homophobia, nationalism, racism, anti-semitism, sexism and other forms of discrimination.
"Healthy patriotism" as a ground for racism
The so-called "healthy patriotism" that musicians often say openly includes racist remarks, for example, about the bad Caucasians, which we often hear from representatives of the above groups and their environment. This attitude is based on the popular Russian social attitudes that promote Russian Nazis, and which reads like the Caucasians have been the main enemy of Russia since Chechen war mid 90s.
"For us there is no difference between a clown, screaming" Sieg Heil ", and cattle from the mountains, shrieking" Caucasus above us, below us Russia "- neither one nor the other has no place on our streets," - Vova from «MDB», « SMG »,« Razor bois », ex« WWF »in an interview« Razor bois »fanzine for« Made in Moscow », 2010.
In these words we can clearly see the declared "anti-racism" when people from the Caucasus, who are called "cattle from the mountains," put on a shelf with "Nazi clowns."
Another example is the rhetoric of anti-Caucasian group "210", which is working closely with «WWF» and «MDB». During their performances they often use racist images that show if Caucasians always wear expensive designer clothes, they have black hair and hairy arms. For example, it shows the flyer Spring Concert 2013, when a "patriotic skinhead" wins "bull" and people descripted in a totally racist way. About this anti-Caucasian picture tells a member of Gryundik:
«There is a caucasian negatively depicted on our banner. But this is a collective image, as you can see by his clothes and attributes. He does not like Russians, there's a bloody knife in his hand. It is socially dangerous, we basically against socially dangerous people, "- Gryundik of" 210 »,« RAZOR BOIS », ex« WWF », an interview in 2014.
Groups such as «WWF» or «MDB», who call themselves "anti-fascist" and "anti-racist", overlooked this clearly racist position in their immediate environment, and not trying to somehow resist. Instead, they continue to cooperate with the above people and groups, such as 13/09/2014, in Minsk (hyperlink). In addition, members of these groups are temporarily integrated into the «WWF» as session musicians, giving these racists another public platform, for example, showing them in the film «Sad but true», dedicated anti-fascists murdered by the Nazis Ivan Khutorskoy, or acting together in concert and writing songs together.
Racist flyer group "210" with a concert 20/04/2013
Friendship and business of «WWF»: the label «Street Influence Records»
An important business partner group of «WWF» is the Moscow music label «Street Influence Records 21" (here and after «SIR»). He appears as an exclusive "wholesaler" and distributor of the product group «WWF» in Russia: CDs, clothes and other things. In addition, the latest album «WWF» titled "Our 14 Words" was released on the label «SIR» on vinyl in 2013. The new CD-splitsingl «One World - One Crew - To Continue Or To Give Up», recorded «WWF» together with the Frankfurt group «Stage Bottles», was released in Germany labels «SIR» and «Mad Butcher Records».
The same label «SIR» also distributes products of the "210". In 2010, their second album, "No steps back" was released on the label «Mangy Little Mut Records 22" (here and after «MLMR»), which belongs to the same «SIR». Label «MLMR» released in 2013 sampler called «Oi! - This Is Russia! Vol. 1 ". In this collection we see tracks by right-wing bands, such as "Labour teacher" and "apolitical" "red skinheads” band «Klowns», known for its anti-migrant and texts about "tolerant West." In the above group has a song sampler «Disorderly Conduct» titled "keep it simple", the text of which resembles the rhetoric «WWF», «MDB» and their environment and promotes racist and Russian nationalist worldview that is widespread on the Russian stage.
"He came from Asia or the Caucasus into a stranger monastery with his charter. He behaves as at home, doesn't know a word in Russian. They do not understand our standards of conduct, they are strangers, it is beyond doubt. Noone wants to see nazi-russophobes, fuck off from my country!"- Excerpt from the song" Keep it simple "group« Disorderly Conduct ».
If you look carefully in the booklet of this sampler, you will notice a pattern known Belarusian tattoo graphics Eugene "Abu" Zavadsky. In this image, next to the name of the Stalinist group "red skinheads" entitled «Rock Proletario», seen open advertising ultra-rock «RAC» (Rock against communism, Rock Against Communism). Even outside of Russia Zawadzki develops flyers, T-shirts, album covers for the famous "skinhead" -bands and their samples.
In addition to working with groups such as «Emschekurve 77» and «Volxsturm», "Abu" also designed for ultra-musical scene. For example, Alex designed the cover of the album "Street Music - Music for the Masses" of the Polish right-rock label «Olifant» and the Italian right group «Brutti e Ignorati». Zawadzki not shrink from a direct relationship with the far-right camp, for example, with Valery Zolotarev, founder of the RAC-label «St. George Skins ». As we can see, for the "anti-racists" with «WWF», «SIR» and «MLMR» partnership with the ultra as "Abu", does not create any problems. On the contrary, they open up for people new sites for development. Also, Alex Zawadzki, besides the already known to us Semler «Oi! This Is Russia! Vol. 1 ", designed covers for other bands of the label« MLMR », such as« Rude Riot »and« The Zapoy ».
Alex "Abu" Zawadzki (left) together with neo-Nazi Valery Zolotarev (standing to the right of "Abu" T-shirt "Rock Against Communism")
Label «MLMR» supports not only the rights of artists "Abu" and distribute right music, but also organizes concerts for groups whose political position (with the anti-fascist point of view) at least questionable. We mean such groups as «Evil Conduct», «Jenny Woo», «Booze & Glory» (hyperlink). Groups such as «WWF», which position themselves as "anti-fascist", must understand that they are responsible for who publishes their product and sound, with whom they work and who organizes their concerts (hyperlink). If they had a problem with «MLMR», «SIR» or other leaders, they had to find a way to change your cover at least to deal with these incidents.
"Antifa" - not only a brand
The above examples show that the thinking of the audience of the "anti-fascist" scene is moving towards the mainstream in the Russian bourgeois and the right of public opinion. Politics of the antifascism narrowly reduced only to fight against the Nazis, not touching at the same time racist, Russian nationalist, sexist and homophobic positions. Thus, the "anti-fascism" is shown as an "apolitical" lifestyle. We understand that such groups as «WWF» and others, have made a great and very important contribution to the publicity and struggle with the problem of neo-Nazi violence in Russia (including the West), as well as providing support to those who suffered from this violence. Nevertheless, there is a very important question: why examples of Nazi violence in Russia are the only single person, such as Ivan Hutorskoy or Timur Kacharava? They seldom remember about people perceived as “non-russians” being attacked by neo-nazis, for example, Caucasians are not remembered in the texts or public statements in any other places. At the same time, state repression against people who are not surrounded by group members or are not well-known rock-authorities, just largely hidden. This is not a comprehensive "anti-fascist" perspective, but only selective perception of the social situation.
The above facts about «WWF», «MDB» and the other can not be challenged argument: "In Russia may be the only way." Such criticism can only use one-sided and distorted image of "Russian anti-fascist", which allows only favorites opinion. All written views and differences that exist within the Russian anti-fascist movement hiding. Critical discussion in this situation is necessary because these groups act freely among people who consider themselves to be fighting against all forms of discrimination, including on grounds of gender and race. At the time, as long as these contradictions accumulate, these groups, which are in fact either antifeminist and "patriotic" or have a direct connection with the ultra-right groups and individuals.
We understand that it is impossible to assess the situation in Russia from the German perception. In addition, the medium «WWF» and «MDB» not homogeneous, so a differentiated approach is required. Critical discussion can contribute to changes in the situation. Facts about «WWF», «MDB» and other neglected part of the "anti-fascists" in Germany, so there is no solution in connection with this problem. This can lead to a de facto lack of solidarity with the anti-fascists from Russia, which express such criticism aforementioned musical groups and individuals, and are subjected to pressure and threats from fans and the environment of these groups. Thus, this discussion should not lead to a complete lack of support for the anti-fascist scene in Russia.
Also, after the latest tour of the groups «Moscow Death Brigade» and «What We Feel» this topic should not be delayed. For example, a thrash metal band «Siberian meat grinder» (Siberian meat grinder), consisting of members of these groups, and has cited the group «Razor bois» become widely known outside Russia. For this reason, the organizers of concerts and visitors, especially those who consider themselves anti-fascists, such as festivals «Riot in my heart» Rostock, «Ultrash» in Potsdam, «Resist to exist» in Berlin or the upcoming «KØPI-Fest» should understand: not always the ones who call the "anti-fascists" are those actually.
Antifascist Subculture Worldwide
Here are answers of the accused 210 band and Moscow Death Brigade. These guys are applying to a mainstream conservative russian rhetoric, explaining everything through "the cultural and historical differences in evolution of russia and western europe". They accuse the authors of the article in 'blatant expression of Western European imperialism and elitism' and show the complete misunderstanding of the basic terms. They are applying to a prison code and their working class backgrounds to excuse their behaviour.
A moment with the song "kick homophoby our of our scene" by razor boys, which from the words of MDB proves their antihomophoby, was recorded quite some years ago - on the theme of this song there were severly figths in the band, after the guy who wrote it left and the song was never played ever after.
On a rights of a translator and a participant of russian antifascist and anarchist movement can say that its hard to imagine more mysoginistic, sexist, homophobic and macho scene than russian antifa + anarchist movement is and has always been. Much is said above but much more stays uncovered and silenced. All these machos' excuses sound too fake when you know the way it is in reality.