Fascist attack on anti-nuclear protest camp in Russia

One activist dead and several injured. Protesters urgently need support

Candlelight vigil for the victimsCandlelight vigil for the victims

On 21 July, at 5am in the morning, fascists attacked an anti-nuclear action camp against Angarsk nuclear enrichment plant in the Siberian city of Angarsk. Although the protesters had some prior knowledge of the possibility of an attack, and therefore had three night guards in place, the strength of the attack came as a surprise. More than 15 fascists attacked the 21 campers with iron bars, knives, and pneumatic pistols, attacking people sleeping in their tents. All tents of the camp were burned down. Several activists were seriously injured. One person, Ilya Bodoraenko, a 21 years old activist of Autonomous Action from Nachodka, died in hospital as a result of skull fractures and other injuries from the attack. Two activists were still in hospital at the time of writing.

Police response

According to reports from Sibera, police arrested two of the attackers soon afterwards, and a further 13 had been identified by police. More arrests had been made later. Sources from the protest camp confirmed at least 10 arrests.
However, the police is denying that the attacks had a political motive. Police spokesman Valery Gribakin was quoted by ITAR-Tass news agency as suggesting that theft had appeared to be a motive for the attacks: Police had confiscated a rucksack and telephone from the detained that had belonged to the protesters, he said. "Investigators are inclined to believe that the attack was motivated by hooliganism with the aim stealing property", he said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Valery Grigakin denied the attack was from right wing extremists saying "All of those detained are young people. Some of them are unemployed, some are students. As they explained ... they wanted to run amok and get some money out of the tourists and the people at the camp," he said in televised remarks according to the International Herald Tribune.
However, "they were well prepared, wearing masks," said Andrei Kravchuk, one of the environmental protesters at the camp at the time. "They shouted nationalist slogans," he said according to the NTV channel as quoted in an International Herald Tribune report.
The Moscow Times reported today: The suspects will be charged with hooliganism and intentional grievous bodily harm resulting in death, Gribakin said. A hooliganism conviction carries a maximum punishment of seven years in prison, while the second, more serious charge has a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Gribakin promised to bring all the attackers to justice. "Work will not stop even for one minute," he said, Interfax reported.
Irkutsk regional police, however, are reluctant to classify the attack as a nationalist-related crime, the activists said. "The local police want to present the attack as ordinary hooliganism. They very grudgingly wrote down that we told them the attackers shouted slogans against anti-fascists," said Igor Kozlov, a member of Autonomous Action, Ekho Moskvy radio reported.

Mikhail Kreindlin, head of Greenpeace in Russia, and Alexander Brod, director of the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights, said it was too early to start pointing fingers in Saturday's attack. But Brod said authorities in the past have hired local criminal groups to silence dissent and write it off as hooliganism.
Despite the attack, the activists were hoping to renew their protest with a new camp Thursday. They accuse authorities of illegally making money at the Angarsk Electrolysis Chemical Complex by allowing foreign companies to send spent fuel there for reprocessing. In addition to reprocessing, the plant has been enriching uranium for the past 50 years for use in nuclear power plants.
It is presently difficult to know who has been behind the attacks in Angarsk. However, War Resisters' International is concerned that there won't be a proper police investigation - the first statements from police sources are not promising.

Help needed

The activists from the protest camp now need help urgently. Money is being collected to pay for the transfer of the body of Ilya Bodoraenko and his funeral, for the medical treatment of the other injured activists, and the set-up of the camp. War Resisters' International asks for donations to its own accounts, clearly stating "help for Angarsk protest camp" in the transfer slip:

Eurozone: by giro transfer to War Resisters’ International, in Euros to Bank of Ireland, IBAN IE91 BOFI 9000 9240 413547, SWIFT/BIC BOFIIE2D
Britain: by giro transfer to War Resisters’ International, in £ sterling to Unity Trust Bank, Account number 5072 7388 Sort code: 08-60-01 (IBAN GB11 CPBK 0800 5150 07 32 10, SWIFT CPBKGB22), or by sending a cheque payable to War Resisters' International to War Resisters' International, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX
USA: Send a cheque made out to War Resisters' International to: Ralph di Gia, c/o War Resisters League (WRL) 339 Lafayette Street, New York NY 10012
In any case, please send an email to info@wri-irg.org, with "help for Angarsk protest camp" in the subject line, stating the amount and where you sent the money to.

War Resisters' International will forward all donations to the Russian activists.
In several cities, activists are organising vigils at Russian embassies or elsewhere. Plans are being made for a vigil in London on Thursday, but these are not yet confirmed.