As we have reported previously, Russian CWI activist, Igor Yasin, and two other CWI members, were brutally attacked by thugs on Saturday, 7 August, following a peaceful protest in the centre of Moscow over the proposed construction of a major new road through the Khimkinskii Forest, part of Moscow’s green belt. All three CWI members suffered injuries, with Igor, suffering a fractured skull. The thugs were dressed similarly to those who attacked an environmentalist camp at the Khimkinskii Forest earlier that week. It was reported that during this vicious assault the police stood aside. The French based multinational, Vinci, has been given the contract for new road project.
Igor was released from hospital last weekend. On behalf of the Executive Committee of the CWI in Russia, he sent the following message to CWI members around the world, and all those socialists, trade unionists and activists who have protested on his behalf.
On behalf of the CWI comrades in Russia, we would like to thank you very much for your support after a group of fascists attacked our comrades in Moscow.
As different catastrophic events in Russia, Pakistan, China and other countries have shown recently, the capitalist system, which is responsible for climate change in the first place, is also incapable of preventing new catastrophes from happening. The burden of forest fires, floods, earthquakes and etc, lies on the shoulders of workers and the poor.
In many underdeveloped countries, working people suffer much more because of widespread corruption and the lack of basic democratic rights and freedoms. This week, the head of Vinci’s sub-contractor, a Bishop in the Baptist Church, Semchenko, admitted to ‘Komsomolskaya Pravda’, one of Russia’s main newspapers, that he hired the thugs (who he called ‘Cossacks’) to break up a recent environmentalist camp , “I had to sort out the forest, the situation was in a dead end. The police were not keen to act, saying that the ecologists were not doing anything wrong.”
In such a situation, there is an increasing need for international workers’ solidarity in the struggle for a healthy environment and better life for all. To achieve that we need to transform our society from the chaotic capitalist system towards a democratic socialist society.
In our struggle, we often have to sacrifice much of our efforts, time, and money, sometimes even our freedom and health, but our sacrifices will not be fruitless. In August, so far, 3 new members in Moscow have joined the CWI.
Our solidarity campaign has demonstrated the strength of the CWI, as a lively socialist internationalist organisation fighting for a sustainable environment and socialism worldwide. [Since the attack on Igor and two other Moscow comrades] there have been hundreds of solidarity letters sent and pickets and protests organized in Berlin and Hamburg, London, Dublin, Stockholm and Gothenburg, Brussels, Vienna, Tel Aviv and Hong-Kong! (apologies to any we missed). The French comrades have raised the issue with the CGT trade unionists at the Vinci company. A group of South African trade unionists sent their support. So too did socialist activists from the Lebanon and Israel/Palestine. Joe Higgins MEP has written a letter demanding an explanation from the Russian government. The response from our organization has been far in excess of that from any other.
Notwithstanding the attacks on us, we will not relent in our struggle. We thank our comrades once again and ask them to continue our campaign on the demands:
- Stop the destruction of Moscow’s green belt – the Vinci Construction must immediately withdraw from the contract to build the Moscow St Petersburg road
- Vinci must break all commercial and other links with the OOO ‘Teplotekhnik’ Company
- Vinci must issue a public statement to the Russian and international mass media condemning the use of thuggery and police repression against the environmental camp and members of the CWI. Vinci must call for the police to conduct a full and transparent investigation leading to the arrest of those guilty of the vicious attacks.
- Vinci must open its records concerning the Moscow St Petersburg highway contract to a public enquiry, conducted by the trade unions, environmental groups and other interested parties.
- The whole Russian transport system and companies associated with it should be nationalized under workers’ control.