Russia

Rinat Akhmetchin, the Mayor of Norilsk, an industrial city in Russia, has been charged with negligence following a catastrophic oil spill from a local power plant. The spill has been ongoing since 29 May, with over 20,000 tonnes of diesel seeping into the surrounding soil and waterways. On 4 June, the Kremlin issued a state of emergency in Norilsk. The city is situated in Siberia, inside the Arctic Circle, where the local ecology is already severely disturbed due to some extremely worrying symptoms of climate change: a product of the irrational, rotten capitalist system, which is placing the planet in peril.

On 7 June, an event our Russian comrades predicted and the background of which they’ve long explained took place. Elena Shuvalova, one of the most prominent representatives of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in Moscow, was expelled from the party following a manoeuvre by the right-wing party bureaucracy.

On 14 March, in Moscow, near the FSB building, a series of peaceful pickets was to be held against the “Network Case” and new constitutional amendments introduced by the regime. But the authorities decided that, on this day, they would prevent even legal protests – at any cost. Several special police units were deployed in order to arrest not only the protesters, but also the journalists covering the protests. As a result, more than 50 people were arrested.

In a scandalous miscarriage of justice, a group of young left-wing activists in Russia have been given hefty jail sentences for spurious terror charges, following confessions under torture. The Russian state is trying to intimidate dissenters, but they will not succeed. Solidarity with political prisoners!

We spoke with Leonid Shaidurov: a 17-year-old activist who has played a leading role in the School Strikes for Climate movement in Russia. He has helped organise students in schools and is a member of both the coordination council for Fridays for Future internationally and the organisational committee in Russia. He agreed to be interviewed in order to give advice to school students hoping to build on the movement around climate change.

During his recent visit to Russia, editor of marxist.com, Alan Woods, was interviewed for the online news program, STATION MARX International. The discussion covers a range of topics, from the fall of the Soviet Union, to Trotskyism, to the situation in Great Britain, to the current prospects for communism in Russia. The central theme of the interview: "is revolution possible in Russia today?"

Recently, Alan Woods returned from a very successful, 10-day visit to St. Petersburg and Moscow, made at the invitation of the Revolutionary Workers Party (IMT). A few months ago, the Russian section of the IMT was hugely strengthened by the adhesion of a large number of Trotskyists who, although they were formally outside our ranks, had been following our material for some years and were in complete agreement with our ideas, tactics and methods of work.

At 6pm on Friday 10 October, at the Plekhanov Memorial Library in St. Petersburg, comrade Alan Woods, the editor of marxist.com and a leading member of the International Marxist Tendency, addressed an audience of about 70 people, who crowded into the small conference room. In addition to the members of the older generation associated with the library, the majority of those present were young people — students and workers — members and sympathisers of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party who had organised the event in collaboration with the Plekhanov Library. The meeting was chaired by the director of the Library, Tatyana Filimonova.

Elections to the Moscow City Duma (city council), despite the typical vote manipulation and skullduggery, inflicted a crushing defeat on United Russia in comparison with previous contests. The opposition received almost half of the seats in the city Duma, while some districts were taken by United Russia, thanks to bureaucratic measures and the actions of pseudo-communist wreckers. It was only due to these underhanded methods that the government was able to maintain a controlling stake in the local Duma.

“This land is your land, this city is your city! And no one has the right to decide its future, but you – the working people of Moscow!” This appeal from a Russian IMT activist was greeted with an explosion of applause at a recent rally in the Zyuzino district of Moscow.

We publish the following report, originally written in July by an activist of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party from Northern Russia. It concerns an ongoing struggle against attempts to illegally construct a waste disposal site at Shiyes in Arkhangelsk Oblast, which would cause grave environmental damage and risk the health of local residents. This is an important development that has gained widespread support and sparked protests across the country.