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Police raid collective farm Novy Put

Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2006

The collective farm "Novy Put'" ("New Way") is located in village Bochevo, 270 km far from Saint Petersburg in Boksitogorsk District of Leningrad region near the border of Novgorod region, 30 km away from the district center that is Boksitogorsk. The nearest store is situated 10 km far from the farm. The nearby road is not asphalted. The collective farm is an anarchist commune and an ecological settlement.

On April 17th, 2006 at 17 PM approximately the collective farm was visited by three local policemen led by detective-in-chief Petrov. The policemen were looking for two anarchists who had come to the collective farm to take part in the agricultural works. However, there was only one anarchist in the collective farm at the time, because the other one had left two days before. The policemen informed the anarchist in a straight manner that their visit is connected with the future G8 summit in Saint Petersburg.

They demanded from anarchist to take a black flag off the roof of the building, proclaiming that "Some locals may understand it wrong way and burn down the house". It's necessary to note, that communarians have good relationship with local citizens. Thus the anarchist understood that as a threat from the cops and agreed to take off the flag in order not to let down the farm's owners (note: the conversation between the anarchist and the cops passed without any witnesses). Then the cops demanded if anarchists had any of their literature or periodicals on the farm.

After the anarchist refused to answer this question, cops, without any warrant or sanction from public prosecutor, broke into the house and confiscated the collection of anarchist periodicals dating from 1992 to 2006. After that, the periodicals were taken to the side of the road on the eyes of the communarians. Then the periodicals were burned along with the flag. The communarians tried to prevent this act of despotism, but the policemen demonstrated their guns and threatened to gun down the farm dogs. The cops also told that if anarchists would erect the black flag again, they will get imprisoned for 15 days. After an objection about illegality of their actions, one of policemen declared, that "no law is written for them". It is also important to note, that along with burned documents there was some part of private correspondence of one of the communarians with Dutch comrade Bas Morel. Part of the obliterated documentation had nothing to do with anarchism and politics in a whole. After making sure that the documents were fully obliterated, the cops left. Immediately one of communarians sent writs to local court, office of public prosecutor and to the head of local police.

April 21, 2006 the farm was again visited by group of policemen, this time there were just two cops. They checked the documents of the communarians and demanded if on the farm there was any literature of anti-Semitic (sic!) content. After that, the anarchist that still was on the farm was taken into local department of internal affairs (about 30 km from the farm). An official ground for detention was lack of registration, that they claimed to be "essential" for living in Boksitogorsk district and checking if the anarchist is wanted by the police -- that, as they put it, couldn't be carried out on the spot. It's necessary to note, that the laws about registration are most often ignored everywhere but Moscow, St. Petersburg and other big cities in Russia. The anarchist spent about 2 hours in the department. There his fingerprints were filed and he was photographed. The anarchist had to write a document about why he was staying in the district and the events that took plate at 17th of April. Then he was questioned by the head of the Boksitogorsk police and an officer of FSB -- the only one in the area.

Members of defence and law enforcement agencies were interested in the political views of the detained comrade, anarchist and anti-fascist movement of St. Petersburg, "Novy Put" farm, goals of anarchists there and occupations of the communarians. They also tried to accuse the detained in "calls for violent removal of the constitutional government" because of publications in anarchist newspaper "Novy Svet". Here it is necessary to note, that anarchists never spread their propaganda among the local citizens. All the publications they brought were kept in the communal library and have archival value. After all, the police couldn't accuse the anarchist due to lack of corpus delicti. They had to release the detained. Head of the police warned, that if anarchist would start any agitation among local citizens, their commune would be visited by the police every day. On his way back to farm the anarchist met his comrade from St. Petersburg, that brought a new flag. Thus, this evening a black flag was flying over the farm again.

The communarians are interested in spreading this information among both anarchists and alterglobalists (the incident is straightly connected with G8 summit in St. Peterburg) and general public in the West. Police raid against a commune that focuses on peaceful labor is just one of examples of insubstantialness of Russian "democracy", which should discriminate both Russian government and G8 in a whole. One should take in account that Russian anarchists, due to their small numbers and lack of vital resources are not able to effectively fight police regime on their own.

Addresses for letters of protest: Leningrad district Office of Public Prosecutor: 194044, Lesnoy ave. 20/12, St. Petersburg, Russia; tel. +7(812)5420245 General Office of Public Prosecutor of Russian Federation, North-West Department: 190000, Angliyskaya embankment, 16, St. Petersburg, Russia; tel. +7(812)3139358 fax. +7(812)3149736 General Office of Public Prosecutor of Russian Federation : 125993, B.Dmitrovka 15a, Moscow, Russia; tel. +7(812)2916066

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