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Statement of the 19th January Committee regarding the situation in Ukraine

9th January Committee is a Russian anti-fascist initiative founded to unite different groups to fight the nationalist threat. Their activity among the others is organizing annual memorial events on 19th January, on anniversary of Stanislav Markielov’s and Anastasia Baburova murders)

Statement regarding events in Ukraine and pseudo-antifascist rhetoric Recent events in Crimea and in general on Ukraine opened up possibilities for many political speculations. We would like to especially concentrate on usage of word “antifascism”.

Antifascist rhetoric and symbolism is being presently used in absolute separation from any real fight against fascism and neo-Nazism. If it wasn’t enough, Russian imperialist and nationalist-oriented organisations suddenly became those “fighting against fascism” in Ukraine: they conduct events for “supporting Russians”, of which the main aim is to divide people according to the national criteria, using well known symbols of struggle against fascism. Such events can only lead to further escalation of violence in Ukraine. We don’t try to deny the threat to freedom and safety of citizens which comes from the side of Ukrainian far right. Resistance should be however directed against concrete political powers that clearly show their position. Slogan of “supporting Russians” has nothing to do with struggle against fascism, because all the other people considering themselves to be Ukrainians, Tartars, Greeks or members of any other nationality- are not becoming fascists just because they are not Russians.

The official Russian symbol of “antifascism”, the St. George stripe, thanks to nationalist efforts, has been turned into a symbol of aggressive, imperial politics, humiliation of the weak and pressure on the opposition. People using that symbol often use violence against those that will not resist. On 6th March workers of Centre E (Russian “anti-extremist” police unit) with St. George stripes on their clothes attacked Tolokkinnova and Alochina (Pussy Riot members), who had come to Nizhny Novgorod to demand rights for prisoners. In Crimea “St. Georgians” put up checkpoints to humiliate and intimidate citizen activists, journalists, members of international structures – anybody that they don’t like. They have become convinced that the St. George stripe “sanctifies” their activity as a struggle against fascism, but their arrogance and impunity seem to prove that their hands are directed by the Russian authorities, trying to control Crimea.

We call for attentive and critical treatment of information about the situation in Ukraine shown by different sources. We stress that Russian authorities once again use political situation in Ukraine to fulfil their own interests. Surfing on that wave different nationalist organisations try to score political points, wanting only hostility between different nationalities and power for themselves.
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