November 6, 2017
On Saturday the UK will mark Armistice Day. An official cult of remembrance requires that this week people in the public eye – politicians, newsreaders, sports personalities and so on – wear the red poppy that commemorates British service personnel.
I am wearing the white poppy, that commemorates all the victims of all wars. It’s a socialist, anti-militarist tradition that I think should be spread more widely.
The horrible destruction in Syria, unleashed by the regime of Bashar al-Assad to protect his power from a popular uprising and generalised into a multi-sided war, is reason enough to wear the white poppy.
And this year it can also serve as a reminder of the greatest popular anti-military uprising in history – in Russia in the summer of 1917.
The women workers of Petrograd (now St Petersburg) began the 1917 revolution in February, by striking and demonstrating against the first world war (in which Russia was allied with Britain and France) and the hardships it brought.
Soldiers of the Petrograd garrison, by refusing to fire on the protesters and pledging Read the rest of this entry »
August 9, 2017
The prosecution of the ecologist Valery Brinikh for “extremism” collapsed yesterday in the city court at Maykop in the Adygea in southern Russia.
The case was brought against Brinikh in 2014, for exposing bad waste disposal practices at a pig farm founded by Vyacheslav Derev, a member of the Federation Council (the upper house of the Russian parliament).
Brinikh is a biologist, and had worked as a director of the Daur Nature Reserve (1993-99) and
Valery Brinikh (right) with his defence lawyer Andrei Sabinin this week. Photo from Agora/ the Russian Reader
the Caucasus Nature Reserve (1999-2001). In 2012 he started campaigning, with local residents, against the stench and pollution caused by the Kievo-Zhuraki agro-industrial complex in the Teuchezhsk district of Adygea.
The state prosecutor claimed that an article Brinikh wrote in 2014 in a local newspaper, “The Silence of the Lambs”, insulted the dignity of the Adygean people. (Adygea is a Republic, an enclave in the Krasnodar region in the north Caucasus.) Three years of legal persecution followed.
Brinikh was supported by the Agora International Human Rights Group: they argued that the prosecution was an assault on freedom of speech and the freedom of expression.
The case has been covered by the Russian Reader. Yesterday’s verdict reported here; more stuff here.