|Igor Kuznetsov, 2012.|
Members of this group advocated self-determination of the peoples and regions of Russia, against their colonial exploitation by the Kremlin. As the leader of this group was mentioned Daria Polyudova, initiator of the "March for the federalization of Kuban region", who was sentenced to six years in prison by the Moscow military court in 2021 (this was her second sentence).
And now, after a year and almost nine months in pre-trial detention, the FSB investigators decided to send Igor Kuznetsov for forensic psychiatric examination at the Serbsky Institute. Yes, the same Serbsky Institute that “diagnosed” Soviet dissidents Pyotr Grigorenko, Valeria Novodvorskaya, and many others.
In April 2021, Igor Kuznetsov posted on YouTube an appeal to Russians: "Putin is preparing an attack on Ukraine. But it is not Putin, it is our fascist Russia that is preparing a war, in which we can all burn... Like Hitler in his time, Putler is leading the world to World War 3. All of us Russians are to blame for this, including me. Is this going to work as usual? Yes, it did in the spring of 2014, and maybe it will in the spring of 2021, and then, and then... And it would reinforce the Russian “happy-go-lucky attitude” But this Russian attitude would help the Nuclear Armageddon come in 2036 or 2042, and whoever survives will be the envy of the dead."
For the Left Resistance group, Igor Kuznetsov drafted a manifesto in which he wrote: "The genocide of the peoples of the Caucasus, launched in the 19th century by Tsarism, was continued by Stalin. Stalin's regime is being revived by Putin. Thus, we are fighting not just Russian imperialism, but the serfdom and obscurantism of Tsarist-Stalinist-Putin imperialism. Moreover, the Putin regime's aggression against Ukraine with the annexation of Crimea, against Syria with the bombing of civilians, with adventures in Africa and Latin America after 2014 leads to increased national oppression against non-Russian peoples of the Russian Federation, to a policy of assimilation of non-Russian peoples and destruction of non-Russian languages in Russia. Russians have been turned by tsarist-Stalinist-Putin imperialism into the empire's main tool, and the culture of the Russian people has been perverted by imperialism and chauvinism. Without destroying tsarist-Stalinist-Putinist imperialism and Stalinist-Putinist fascism, the Russian national revival and the revival of all peoples of the Russian Federation is impossible. This international struggle against Russian imperialism and fascism - has become the common national task of all peoples of Russia."
In a letter to a friend, Igor wrote: "By defending Ukraine, we are defending rights and freedoms for ourselves in Russia; the victory of Ukraine is the defeat of Ruscism in Russia and the coming victory of democracy over Ruscism in the Russian Federation. Ukraine's defeat is our defeat and the intensification of the repression of Ruscism in Russia. While in the summer of 2020 Belarus and Khabarovsk Krai were seething with protest, «Dickhead» put off his war plans; as the protests were suppressed his strategic plan (“nullification” of president terms, aggression against Ukraine, Baltics, Kazakhstan, anschluss of Belarus) was revived again. So there is no separate struggle in Khabarovsk, Minsk, Kazakhstan, etc. - there is one war of internationalists of all countries and regions against Ruscism."
Unfortunately, there are very few people like Igor Kuznetsov left in Russia. They do not enjoy the attention of the Western media, unlike Navalny or other Moscow liberal politicians. Igor spent most of his life as a worker, janitor, and longshoreman; his last job was as a plumber in a medical college, and he also worked as a freelance journalist for the RusNews agency. As an activist, he started as an anarcho-syndicalist in 1989, was one of the founders of Memorial in Tomsk and the Siberian Confederation of Labor, then changed over to anti-authoritarian Marxism, joined the Marxist Labor Party and coordinated the inter-regional association of labor unions "Defense of Labor". When in 1999 Oleg Shein, the leader of this union, became a deputy of the State Duma on the rise of the labor movement, he took Igor Kuznetsov as his assistant. But Igor served a deputy's assistant only for a short time. Shein joined the Russian-chauvinist «Rodina» faction and then the «Just Russia» party, which justified aggression against Chechnya and Georgia. Igor had already refused to be Shein's running mate in 2001. When Shein was asked about his attitude after Kuznetsov's arrest in 2021, he pretended not to know what was all that about.
In late 2021, a small group of left-wing activists and friends of Igor held an international campaign in solidarity with him. Demands to release Igor Kuznetsov were sent to Russian embassies by the Labor Independent Party of France, the Workers' Party of Algeria, the International Socialist League, a number of trade union organizations from Spain, Germany, Brazil and other countries. On December 15, 2021, in Kiev, we held a picket in front of the Russian embassy, demanding his release. Not a single Russian left-wing organization has publicly expressed its position on the case of Igor Kuznetsov and Daria Polyudova. Only the Memorial Human Rights Center, shortly before its liquidation by a Russian court decision, included Igor and Daria in the list of political prisoners of the regime on its website.
Igor Kuznetsov's case brings to mind the fate of Soviet dissidents Leonid Plyusch and Vladimir Bukovsky. When we campaigned in solidarity with Igor, we were told that, according to "the lawyers' opinion", such a public campaign abroad might on the contrary worsen Igor's situation and negatively affect the Russian courts. In response, one of our picket participants asked: - And which political prisoners have these lawyers managed to release from Russian prisons?
Maybe I'm wrong, but I still think that it was the international solidarity campaign that saved the lives of many Soviet dissidents who had to be released to the West (or exchanged like Bukovsky), it is the international solidarity campaign that supports prisoners of the Russian fascist regime now. Of course, their complete release will only be possible after the complete military defeat of the Russian Reich.