On February 1, 2019, officers of the FSB, the Russian state security apparatus descended from the KGB, arrested a dozen people in the latest wave of their campaign of repression against accused anarchists throughout the country. After brutally torturing them over the following 24 hours in order to force them to agree to incriminating statements, they released 11 of them. The twelfth arrestee, Azat Miftakhov, temporarily disappeared within the legal system while the FSB continued torturing him and refusing his lawyer access to him. This is just the latest in a series of events in which the FSB have systematically employed torture to force arrestees to sign false confessions in order to fabricate “terrorist conspiracies” involving activists. This pattern will continue until people put enough pressure on the Russian government to discourage it from disappearing and torturing young people—or else, if this does not occur, until the secret police serving other governments, emboldened by the successes of the FSB, escalate their own use of torture and fabricated “conspiracies” to suppress activism in other countries as well.
The latest innovation of the FSB is to torture arrestees into making false statements to state media channels as well as police. After FSB agents tortured him with electroshock for two hours in the back of a car, arrestee Daniel Galkin was dragged before a reporter from the state television “First Channel” (Perviy Canal) and ordered to make statements discrediting the anarchist movement. All this is familiar from the methods that the state used against dissident communists in the 1930s under Stalin. Upon his release, Galkin made a public statement about the torture to which he was subjected and the methods the FSB used to terrorize him.
“I will speak, I will express what happened however I can, through all possible means and resources, I will do everything I can to tell people. I sleep very badly. I sleep and it seems to me that they will come after me, knock the door down and take me somewhere to the forest, because in Russia this is done to people, to activists.”
-Daniel Galkin on his experience of torture and being forced to make false statements to the Russian state media
Azat Miftakhov is a graduate student of the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics of Moscow State University, where his colleagues have signed an open letter of support for him. Extensive reporting on these events, including interviews with several of the tortured arrestees, is available here in Russian. For more background on the torture cases in Russia, read the full report we published last year. To keep up with Russian solidarity organizing around these cases, visit rupression.com.
New Repression against Russian Anarchists
On February 1, in Moscow, the Russian FSB raided several flats and arrested 10 people on charges of “conspiracy.” All of them were released after day-long interrogation and physical torture, except one person, Azat Miftakhov. He is accused of “fabricating explosives” and being a member of a “radical anarchist organization Narodnaya Samooborona” (Peoples’ Self-Defense). Over the past year, this organization has become the main target of police repression in Russia: several accused members of the group have been arrested, tortured, or threatened. Some had to leave the country under threat of long prison terms and torture.
One of the arrested anarchists, Daniil Galkin, has reported about the torture. After his arrest, he was beaten and tortured with electroshock in the police car for two or three hours. Under torture, Galkin was forced to say that Azat Miftakhov was an anarcho-communist and took part in anarchist actions. Galkin was forced to give an interview that was compromising anarchists to a federal TV-channel “First Channel” (Perviy Canal), and to promise to “collaborate with the police by providing information about anarchist actions.”
In the police station of Balashiha in the Moscow region, Galkin saw Azat: he was threatened by the FSB officers, and his arms were wringed. According to Galkin, Azat “did not look like a human being” as a consequence of the torture. He also said he heard the screams of one of the arrested women activists, who was kept in the room next to his. He also heard that one of the arrested anarchists had cut his veins and taken pills in order to avoid further torture in hopes of not giving any information about other comrades. According to other witnesses and journalists, that person was Azat Miftakhov.
We ask for solidarity actions, the spreading of this news, and financial support.
In Russia (and the recently annexed territories, such as Crimea), there are currently several penal cases in which anarchists are facing “terrorist” charges. These include the “Network” case, the case against anarchist Vyatcheslav Lukichev, the case against anarchist Kirill Kuzminkin, and the case against Crimean anarchist Evgeniy Karakashev.
In order to donate to the legal defense of Azat Miftakhov and other Russian activists: