CrimethInc: Two Letters from Russia, On the Protests of January 23

January 24, 2021

We have received the following reports from anarchists in Russia, describing the situation there during the protests of January 23, in which tens of thousands across the country rallied in response to the arrest of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny—expressing anger that runs much deeper. It had been our hope that sooner or later, the unrest from Belarus might spill over into Russia—this is certainly the best hope for rebels in Belarus and elsewhere around the sphere of Russian influence, as well as all who suffer under Putin. We publish this here in the interests of fostering international perspectives among all who endure the consequences of capitalism and state power. May every revolt deepen and spread.

Letter I

Today, January 23, a spark has been lit in the Russian Federation. From Moscow to Ulan-Ude, tens of thousands have poured into the streets for protests against Putin, corruption, and repression. At first glance, these demonstrations may seem like the same opposition protests that kick off every time a prominent opposition candidate is acutely repressed. But to us on the ground, we feel that something has shifted.

The usual passive attitude that is typical for these kinds of protests has been abandoned. People are fighting back against the police. Likewise, these rallies aren’t just in the typical places, nor are they comprised of just the same politically active upper-class people. From the city of Chita, we hear stories that the cops have been routed. In Perm, a crowd applauds after anarchists speak about rebellion, self-organized activity, and solidarity against repression. In Irkutsk, people are receiving anarchists and their words warmly as well. In one place, people block police cars, while in another, they de-arrest a protester. On one street, a man knocks out a cop, while on another, people chant “Freedom! Freedom!” as a woman wrestles a baton from a cop’s hand. Beyond the growing interest in anarchist ideas, which is certainly exciting, there is an even more exciting anarchic potential in the revolt that broke out today, however humble.

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