Vladimir Akimenkov: Spring 2019 Fundraising Campaign for Russian Political Prisoners

akimenkovVladimir Akimenkov collecting money for Russian political prisoners. Photo courtesy of Vladimir Akimenkov

Vladimir Akimenkov: Spring 2019 Fundraising Campaign for Russian Political Prisoners

We are once again raising money to support Russian political prisoners and their families. Since I was released from prison, we have raised around 12.7 million rubles for political prisoners. This is not a lot of money, but it has supported over a hundred political prisoners, who range from people who posted something “seditious” on the internet to those who stood up against the machine of oppression and gave it everything they could.

When you donate money to us, you’re supporting the sending of care packages to the prisoners, helping their loved ones go on extended visits to the prison camps on the far side of the country where they are doing time, and paying for lawyers to visit particularly rough prisons, and generally supporting the expenses their families while their loved ones are locked up.

These expenses are exhausting for families and friends, especially if the political prisoners were breadwinners, and especially in Russia’s regions, where people are generally poorer than in the two capitals.

The children of political prisoners should not cry themselves to sleep at night because they are hungry. This is not a figure of speech, but something that really happens.

The political crackdown in Russia has become more intense, and the current regime has targeted an ever-expanding list of political and social groups. In particular, the Putin regime has unleashed its full fury against anarchists in recent years.

Meanwhile, the Russian state’s propaganda machine has taken pains to stigmatize political prisoners, depicting good men and women as threats to society. The Russian state would like to deprive those people it victimizes of support.

Let’s show them our solidarity. It’s so easy.

You can send donations via:
1. PayPal https://paypal.me/vladimirakimenkov (vladimir.akimenkov@gmail.com). UPDATE: On April 11, 2019, Mr. Akimenkov informed his supporters on Facebook that PayPal had blocked his account, unjustly accusing him of engaging in “commercial” activity. This is not his first unpleasant encounter with PayPal, but he was able on previous occasions to persuade the money transfer company that he was using the account only for charitable purposes. Some of his supporters responded by writing that PayPal had made various promises to the Russian federal communications watchdog Roskomnadzor in order to keep doing business in Russia. Those promises, allegedly, included shutting down customers who used their PayPal accounts to fund raise for opposition causes. If, like me, you find PayPal’s behavior towards Vladimir Akimenkov, a former political prisoner himself, despicable, please write them a letter. You may cite this blog post. For my part, I can say that Mr. Akimenkov is that rare thing: the real thing. Completely on his own, he has raised a considerable amount of money for Russia’s growing army of political prisoners and their loved ones. In short, Vladimir is one of the good guys. PayPal should not be trying to trip him up. {TRR}
2. Yandex Money: https://money.yandex.ru/to/410012642526680
3. Sberbank Visa Card: 4276 3801 0623 4433 Vladimir Georgievich Akimenkov (Владимир Георгиевич Акименков)
4. Bank Transfers in Foreign Currencies: SWIFT: SABRRUMM, Account: 40817810238050715588, Recipient: Akimenkov Vladimir Georgievich (Акименков Владимир Георгиевич)

Be sure to note you are making a “charitable donation” when you transfer funds by any of these means.

After the fundraising campaign wraps up, I will send a complete accounting of how much money was raised and how it was disbursed to everyone who donated and whose names and addresses are known to me.

If you are unable to make a donation, please repost this appeal. Make sure to disseminate this appeal on every platform you can think of, including Facebook, Telegram, etc.

Thanks!

P.S. There have been reports of glitches with Sberbank Online. Make sure the money you sent has been deducted from your accounts.

Translated by the Russian Reader

Goodbye to All That

pofigin forteWhatever Forte Chewing Gum. Improves emotional baseline. Gives peace of mind. Compensates for lack of positive emotions.” Scan of package by the Russian Reader

As of today and until further notice, I will not be publishing stories about human rights abuses, political prisoners, police frame-ups, attacks on Russian human rights, civil rights, environmental, and trade union organizations and activists, and related matters on this website.

I have decided to discontinue this coverage for a number of reasons. First, most of the work I have done on this subject over the last eleven years has obviously not made the slightest dent in how the current Russian regime and its opponents are viewed in my blog’s target audience outside Russia, even among people I have thought of, mistakenly, as allies, supporters, and friends.

Second, my recent campaign to rally support and solidarity for the blog was a near-total failure. Even people who have personally benefited from coverage on the blog ignored it altogether, once again confirming to me that not many people agree with me that solidarity is a two-way street.

Finally, I’m tired of dealing with the rather large amount of snarkiness towards me and the blog. If this snarkiness were limited to weird comments by total strangers, I could deal with it just fine. But when people who know me well resort either to telling me peremptorily what I should and should not publish on the blog or, on the contrary, ignore altogether the efforts I make on behalf of campaigns and organizations in which they are directly involved, I lose all sense that what I do matters to anyone but me and a handful of apparently misguided people.

Since this is the case, I will now confine myself to dealing with other subjects that interest me. I hope they will interest my readers as well. As I now realize, however, I literally cannot do anything at all to increase overall interest in the Russian Reader, certainly not explicit, enthusiastic support for it.

So, from now on, I will devote whatever time I have for the blog to no less interesting topics, but ones in which I have much less emotional and personal investment.

It is simply too hard for me to continue as if I didn’t notice all of the things I have mentioned above.  {TRR}

Russian Reader Charity and Solidarity Appeal

fullsizeoutput_2158-EFFECTSDespite rumors to the contrary, the Russian Reader is not financed by anyone, least of all George Soros, nor is it produced in this knockoff on Furniture Street of the Vorontsov Palace on Sadovaya Street. Photo by the Russian Reader

If you want to support my blog in a way that feels, sounds and looks like support, please stop whispering barely audible sweet nothings into my ear when no one else is around to hear or see you.

It is nice, of course, but it makes me think you think there is something really embarrassing and shameful about supporting me publicly and openly.

A few days ago I added a “Donate” button to this blog’s sidebar. It is an experiment of sorts, but it is also partly a forced measure because, for various reasons, literally no one for whom I have done paid work (and lots of it) this past autumn has yet paid me for this work, and I suspect some of them will fail to pay me altogether.

The skinny is that I have always imagined I “paid” for the work I did on the blog with the money I was paid in real life for real work. But since that seems more and more of a fanciful notion—that I translate things, and people pay me for them—in a world where people who think they can get away with it try not to pay me at all, I will have to look for other, more gainful employment.

Although these past eleven years I have put in the time it takes to do two jobs while being paid (sporadically) for only one, I am not going to do that anymore. When and if I get a real job, I will board up this blog for good.

When it comes to the blog, I do not have a thing to be ashamed about. On the contrary, I have racked up approximately 609,000 views for the 2,009 posts I have published on the Russian Reader and its sucessor/predecessor/interloper, Chtodelat News, since October 2007.

But for those of you who think I should go on producing the Russian Reader on a wing and a prayer just because the cause needs me to do it, I think you would find things would not have come to these desperate straits if you had actually given me real, tangible support over the years instead of giving me starvation rations of lip service and sweet nothings.

Since I see quite clearly the things and people on which you do, in fact, lavish support, publicly and openly, I know that you are capable of supporting other causes and people when you want to do it.

By support, I do not mean you have to donate money to me. I could live happily without explicit financial support if the amounts of non-monetary support were more apparent and more frequently rendered. Since they are not, however, the readership numbers for the blog suffer as well, meaning your lack of support on the invisible front means fewer people get to read the blog, because fewer people see your nonexistent reposts and links.

Solidarity is a two-way street. {TRR}

Solidarity with Alexander Kolchenko!

JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN FOR
ALEXANDER KOLCHENKO!

kolchenko0
Alexander Kolchenko is a Crimean anarchist, social activist, and antifascist who is being held by the Russian authorities. Along with other Crimean activists, he was kidnapped by the Russian FSB (ex-KGB) and is now detained as a political hostage in Lefortovo Prison in Moscow. He has been charged with committing “acts of terrorism” and “belonging to a terrorist community.”

Why is Alexander Kolchenko in jail?

Alexander, who has proven his antifascist stance over many years, is facing preposterous accusations of belonging to Right Sector, the radical Ukrainian right-wing organization, whose real role in Ukrainian events has been blown out of proportion by Russian official propaganda.

In modern Russia, any activist — left wing, anarchist or liberal — can be slandered as a member or sympathizer of Right Sector. This situation is comparable to the hunt for nonexistent Trotskyists under Stalin, or the McCarthy witch hunt for communists in the US. Putin’s authoritarian and nationalist regime, which uses everything from religious prejudices and conspiracy theories to outright racism in its propaganda, shamelessly steals antifascist rhetoric. And yet anyone who is considered bothersome is called a fascist, even if he/she stands on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

The case against antifascist Alexander Kolchenko and civil activist and film director Oleg Sentsov (investigators enrolled them in the same “terrorist” group) is political. It is meant to intimidate the inhabitants of Crimea and prevent any resistance on the peninsula. The most authoritarian of methods are now used in annexed Crimea to repress all dissent. Many people have been forced to leave Crimea because their life and freedom were threatened: lawyers, left wing activists, student and trade union activists, anarchists, antifascists, and Crimean Tatar activists who have fallen victims of ethnic discrimination.

What does Alexander Kolchenko face?

Alexander Kolchenko is threatened with a terrible prison sentence of up to 20 years for a non-existent “terrorist attack” in which he was not involved. Kolchenko and other Ukrainian political prisoners have been detained only to demoralize the opposition through show trials. Their freedom is directly linked to the stability of the Putin regime. If we can shake Putin’s confidence in his impunity, the prisoners will be set free. There is no hope that Kolchenko, Sentsov, and others will be given fair trials. Their arrests were unlawful, and the charges against them are far-fetched. It was not a mistake: the regime knows what it is doing.

How can you help Alexander Kolchenko?

We are asking international left wing and libertarian forces for help. You can organize and lead actions of protest and solidarity, write letters to Kolchenko, and send donations to pay for lawyers, food parcels, and support for his family. It is also important to spread information about his case. Most of all, we need to dissociate ourselves from any forces that support the aggressive expansion of Russian nationalism, even if they cover it up with leftist and anti-imperialist rhetoric. Putin’s regime is doing just fine without your sympathy. You had better save it for those who are its victims.

When should you start?

You can start right now by helping us spread this appeal, translating it into other languages, and sending it to comrades. We also strongly encourage you to organize demonstrations from April 1 to 7, 2015, in support of Alexander Kolchenko and other political prisoners jailed in Russia. Sentsov’s and Kolchenko’s current terms in pretrial police custody end on April 11 and 16, respectively. In the first half of April, Lefortovo District Court in Moscow will decide whether they should await trial in jail, be placed under house arrest or be released on their own recognizance, Only strong, massive pressure on the Putin regime and protests around the world will make it possible to set our comrades free. We demand their immediate release and the dropping of charges against them.

kolchenko6

You can find more information below.

 

Contact us at freekolchenko@gmail.com

Solidarity Appeal from the Trade Unions of the Flood-Stricken Russian Far East

perc.ituc-csi.org
The trade unions of the flood-stricken Russian Far East ask for your help

29 September 2013: The Association of Regional Trade Union Federations of the Far East has issued an appeal to trade unions around the world

Наводнение ДФО 188

Dear sisters and brothers!

Enormous floods continue in the Far East of Russia for the second month. The Khabarovsk Region, Amur Region and the Jewish Autonomous Region have been hit hardest. Several hundred thousand hectares of cultivated land are submerged; tens of thousands of houses are submerged or damaged. Communications and roads have been damaged as well. Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes and other belongings. Thousands of people are living in temporary shelters, including elderly people and children. The flood still threatens many communities along the lower reaches of the Amur River. Winter will begin here in the coming weeks, and in November we will face the usual temperatures in Siberia for this time of year—between -25 ºC and -40ºC.

Наводнение ДФО 268

Inhabitants of the flooded areas are doing their best to overcome the disaster: they are building dikes, draining water, and repairing houses. But they need urgent help. They lack the money to buy food, warm clothes and shoes, personal hygiene items, and other staples.

That is why we are asking the international trade union movement to show their solidarity and provide financial assistance to flood victims.

Наводнение ДФО 230

We ask you to send your donations to the bank account of the regional trade union federation of Khabarovsk Region:

NOMOS-REGIOBANK Branch
NOMOS-BANK (OJSC)
Postal Address: 18, Amursky Boulevard, Khabarovsk, Russia 680000
SWIFT: REGK RU 8K
KHABAROVSK KRAI CONSOCIATION OF TRADE UNIONS
Account Number: 40703840108011000004
Khabarovsk, Russia 680000

[NB. Russian banks do not use IBAN numbers.]

For information in Khabarovsk, you may contact Galina Kononenko by e-mail: gal_kononenko@mail.ru

Photos by Yulia Ryzhenkova