Appeal to All Readers of Northstar Compass!
Write a letter during this Holiday Season to these young Soviet political prisoners who are languishing in prison for standing up to the regimes that are now in the service of US imperialism! Somehow many in the world progressive movement outside the former Soviet Union have forgotten them. Their struggle our struggle!
Below we publish their stories, their photographs and their addresses in English and Russian that you can just cut out and paste on the envelope, which will contain your message of solidarity to them.
Editor of Northstar Compass
The Committee for Defense of the Political Prisoners – Fighters for Socialism
THE STORM PETRELS
(Burevestniki or the Birds Forecasting the Storm)
Political Prisoners – Fighters for Socialism
Several years have gone by since the counter-revolutionary coup in the Soviet Union and many young people joined the struggle for the Soviet Motherland in all of the republics. The passionate hearts of these young people refused to put up with the injustice of capitalist existence, with the destruction of their native country, with abject poverty and lawlessness, which befell upon working people. Bourgeois government responded to the youth protest with arbitrary actions, repressions and savage brutality. Hence, for several years now, prisoners of capitalist regimes, who entered a fight, which has no compromise, are languishing behind the bars in many republics of the destroyed Soviet Union.
Ill-wishers and confused or cowardly narrow-minded men spread many tales about the prisoners. Today, we want to emphasize over and over again: it is the categorical disagreement with the imposition onto the country of all-destructive capitalism that called these young people to struggle. The best testimony about the cause of their struggle are the speeches made or the letters written by these prisoners, as well as their selfless dedicated conduct during humiliation and tortures, which they were subjected to in prisons.
Nadezhda Raks is a young teacher (born in 1973), a member of the Komsomol League: RKSM(b) – Russian Union of Communist Youth (Bolshevik) and a communist: RKRP-RPK – Russian Communist Workers Party – Russian Party of Communists. Immediately after her arrest in February 2000 she wrote to her friends: "Young people who used to belong to various groups now are united in their struggle against the regime… We all are ordinary people. However, how wonderful it is that unlike others we found courage, to the detriment of our personal well being, not to sit on our hands. We have chosen our direction in life, our battlefield, just like grandmothers and grandfathers did during the war. I do not want to adjust… I am glad I bare no shame in the face of my grandfather, in the face of those Soviet people who gave the most precious thing they had – their life – for our future , for the Soviet power… Many times I was told during the interrogations: " There is no point playing a role of a hero from Krasnodon Young Guard" (young heroes of the WWII). Yes, times have changed. It is 2000. Fifty five years passed since the Great Victory. However, the concepts of honour, dignity, courage and decency do not ever change their meaning."
As verdict of the capitalist system sounded from the behind the walls of SIZO (Isolation Prison) words of the Assistant Chairman of Odessa Regional Soviet of All-Ukrainian Union of Workers, communist Andrey Yakovenko (born in 1969):
"During the last fifteen years, after the demise of the Soviet Union, in the republics it consisted of, big and tragic changes took place. I will speak about Ukraine, although more or less this relates to all the population living today on the territory of the former Soviet Union.
Economic reforms being conducted today in Ukraine under the leadership of International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization and other organizations, which dictate its will to all the planet’s population, led Ukraine to horrific results. Industry is almost completely destroyed and unemployment reached 30%. In some regions of Ukraine unemployment reached 50%! This entailed a catastrophic decline in the standard of living. Impoverishment, degradation, alcoholism, drug addiction became a mass phenomena in Ukraine. Medical care became very expensive, which led to explosions of horrible epidemics of tuberculosis, hepatitis, cholera and dysentery, since people do not have the money to receive necessary medical assistance. Physical extinction of Ukrainians reaches 400,000-500,000 people a year. The same problem of lack of money and impoverishment crossed out the any opportunity to receive education for many Ukrainians, especially after introduction of fees for education. The government does not follow the Articles of the Constitution about social rights and freedoms of citizens. All indicators are showing that the government of Ukraine conducts genocide of its people."
In Russia, in the case called "New Revolutionary Alternative" besides Nadezhda Raks also is held behind the bars Larissa Romanova (born in 1974) who in 1997 graduated with distinction from Russian Economic Academy named after Plekhanov. She is a Komsomol member – RKCM(b) - and a mother of two young girls (born in1997 and 1999). Another prisoner is Olga Nevskaya (born in 1978), a mother of a 3-year old boy. Alexander Birukov (born in 1974, arrested in 1999) was arrested and judged in the same case. He spent two and a half years in Butyrskaya prison (Butyrka), and later was put through compulsory psychiatric treatment, which was meant to cure him from revolutionary ideas. Anticipating increase of repressions by the regime against the opposition Alexander wrote as long ago as 2000: "They want to take away our right to resistance; this is the leitmotiv of the government’s actions. If we give in now, they will stamp us into the dirt and our descendants will have to start over again. If we hold out now, we will be winning in the future battles as well".
Birukov wrote about his valid observation during his time in Butyrka, which became a valuable material exposing the state of affairs in prison. These are published in Bulletin KZP #2(15) 2002. In May 2005 Birukov was let free.
Larissa Romanova in her last word at the court on April 29, 2003 said:
"Regardless of a cruel sentence, which prosecutor Zaraev demanded for me (13 years of imprisonment), I do not regret living my life the way I do. I believe I bare no guilt before my country and before the society.
I declare that I will not retract my beliefs neither now, nor later. No matter what the final verdict will bring, I will fight for social justice.
The true judgment is the judgment of history and society. It will determine who deserves respect from working people and who ended up being weak and a traitor."
Right after Larissa, Nadezhda Raks proclaimed:
"I believe I do not have personal enemies. Even prison guards respected me because they understood I had principles. My principles lie in the fact that every decent human being must strive for something higher. I want to live in the country where doctors and miners, teachers and metal-workers (metallurgy), scientists and designers will be paid a salary; where there will be no homeless children and semi-starved pensioners; in which no one will throw outside people who did not pay utility and maintenance fees, whom the government deprived of basic means for existence. I want to live in a country where people can attend concerts and not be afraid to be captured as hostages.
However, today we live in a different country, a country of total fear. This is because it is easier for the ones in power to have control the country where fear rules. Our case is being used by the government to intimidate youth: be quiet, or you’ll get a prison sentence as well. This is why they are trying to make horrible monsters out of us so they can justify the dreadful sentences. This is the main reason why they act against the law in our case.
I, just like Larissa Romanova, am certain that history will do its own judgment, will sort everything out and will punish the ones who are truly guilty according to their crimes."
In the psychiatric hospitals near Moscow (Podmoskovie) are being treated for holding the precious revolutionary ideas Komsomol members (AKM – Vanguard of Communist Youth) Viacheslav Lunev (born in 1978) and student Igor Fedorovich (born in 1981).
The so-called Odessa affair (since December 2002) introduced us to more glorious names. It also reviled new crimes of the new government and their servants. There are no words to describe lawlessness of Ukrainian Themis. Especially refined and severe tortures was subjected Igor Danilov (born in 1967). Igor was a mail carrier from the village Birsk in Bashkortostan, who had earlier undergone a school of struggle for justice in Transdniestria and Abkhazia.
The Ukrainian prison guards tortured him with especial cruelty: they hung him on the rack by the arms forged behind his back, they let electric power through his handcuffs, they put needles under his nails (a year and a half later Igor can barely keep a pencil in his hands – that’s how mutilated his hands are). They choked Igor in a gas mask, hit his head against the wall and cracked his skull, by jumping on him they crushed his chest and broke seven ribs, one of which cut his lung. Finally, they chained Igor without clothes to an iron bed and left him like this for several days in a room without heat. For several days Igor could hardly breath and spat blood. All Igor’s bodily damages he got as a result of torture are documented. Igor held out with exceptional courage, he did not give away anyone and did not testify against any of his friends.
After tortures in Nikolaev prison Igor was very ill for 3 months with pneumonia, purulent pleurisy and abscess in the lung. The prison hospital did not provide him with necessary antibiotics, and when his comrades on the outside finally managed to pass some onto him, the medicine did not reach Igor.
Nonetheless, the Ukrainian "justice system" managed to achieve even more "serious results". Tormented by the butchers, handcuffed to the hospital bed on November 1, 2003 died a Komsomol member Sergei Berdugin (born in 1983). In court the prison medical expert declared "stomach hematoma and break of the liver and internal injury of stomach", i.e. murder.
Igor Danilov, who due to his enormous will of power managed to conquer death, in his last word at the court said:
"You can destroy us, but this will not change anything. Your strength is only in your numbers. However, this is not forever. You try us today, we try you tomorrow".
Illia Romanov (born in 1967), as well as Komsomol members Alexander Smirnov (born in 1981) and Bogdan Zinchenko (born in 1983) also held themselves with dignity at the trial and while in prison.
Unfortunately, some of the prisoners gave up, mainly under the tortures. They betrayed their former comrades and helped the investigation and the court. Nonetheless, they did not determine the overall outcome of the trial.
The bright side of the trial are its heroes. They committed a heroic act of self-sacrifice – they managed to remain true to their ideals and remain firm fighters not only when free, but in prison as well.
Illia Romanov participated in the defence of the House of Soviets in 1993 and in 1998 was the representative of the trade union Student Defence during the miners’ picket in Krasnaya Presnia. Illia put it very well in his letter from prison:
"We, political prisoners, compose a brotherhood of some sor,t which, I am certain, will exist until the last days of our lives. We are one big family and we will help each other until we die. This is what I want to end with. Until we meet free, and freedom, undoubtedly, will come."
Freedom undoubtedly will come. And we, who are on the other side of the prison bars, are sure of this too. However, it is not enough to be sure. We must work on bringing this freedom closer. This is where every person’s contribution helps.
We must carry the news about these unconquered fighters for socialism to every corner of our country.
We must make sure the letters from each one of you constantly fly across the barbed wire to support our comrades morally and to scare their torturers by their abundance.
We need material help as well. We need money for food parcels, medicine and lawyers. We can supply the political prisoners only by putting together efforts of thousands of people who care about the faithful and courageous sons and daughters of our socialist Motherland.
All supporters of socialism must more actively get involved in the struggle for liberation of the prisoners of the regime. Helping imprisoned revolutionaries today is the first and foremost duty of everyone.
How did you help?
Freedom to the Fighters for Socialism!
You can write directly to a prisoner or contribute to them financially via the Committee’s address at the bottom of this list.
You can simply cut out and glue an address to your envelope as is. You can photocopy the addresses for future use if you are planning to write more than once.
155400 Ивановская область
улица Шуйская, дом 1
ОК 3/3, 1-й отряд
Ракс Надежде Георгиевне
(to Nadezhda Raks)
601395 Владимирская область
ОД 1/1, 2-й отряд
Романовой Ларисе Валерьевне
(to Larissa Romanova)
143202 Московская область
Учреждение ФГУ-ИК-5, 7-отряд
Невской Ольге Александровне
(to Olga Nevskaya)
улица Люстдорфская дорога, д. 11, ОСИ-21
Смирнову Александру Владимировичу
(to Alexander (Sasha) Smirnov)
улица Люстдорфская дорога, д. 11, ОСИ-21
Данилову Игорю Владимировичу
(to Igor Danilov)
улица Люстдорфская дорога, д. 11, ОСИ-21
Зинченко Богдану Леонидовичу
(to Bogdan Zinchenko)
улица Люстдорфская дорога, д. 11, ОСИ-21
Романову Илье Эдуардовичу
(to Illia Romanov)
Пер. Школьный, дом 12
Яковенко Ольге Ивановне
для Яковенко Андрея Олеговича
(for Andrey Yakovenko)
Please send any material and financial help for the political prisoners of the Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners – Fighters for Socialism ("КЗП") or letters to the Committee to the address:
Большой Харитоневский переулок
дом 10, комн. 5
КЗП – Ивановой Татьяне Борисовне
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