A diary of Russian political activist

Monday 5 May 2008

Worldwide Marijuana March in Moscow: the continuation

After the repressions at Moscow GMM - 2007 we gave up the idea to organize a march and decided to limit ourselves to Cannabis Walk as it was in 2006. Two years ago our action was a great fortune. No cannabis activists were arrested, the police was quite friendly and all the walkers passed the time chatting, singing, playing mouth harps and drums. So this year we hoped to organize something similar.

We published an official statement on the CLL site, so that both authorities and activists could learn that no marches would be held in Moscow in 2008. We offered our supporters to come to the fountain "Friendship of Nations" at the All-Russia Exhibition Centre. There should be no banners or other means of political propaganda: only thematic clothes, excellent mood and musical instruments.

As soon as the statement was published we met the aggressive reaction of the Federal Service of Drug Control (Russian DEA analog). In the interview to one of the most famous Russian news agencies the head of informational department of the FSDC Alexander Mikhailov commented our action in the following expressions:

"Legalization of cannabis as a drug is out of the question. This theme mustn't be discussed at all. Such actions are the grossest breach of the peace and hooliganism. This is a spring exacerbation on which the bodies of internal affairs and psychiatrists should react".

When we came to the "Friendship of Nations" on May, 3rd, at 3 P.M. we found out that the fountain was blocked by forces of OMON and metal fences. Members of OMON and non-uniformed people caught out of the crowd everybody who seemed suspicious to them no matter if it was a Rastafarian, a punk, an emo or just a long-haired guy. In a few minutes 8 persons were arrested without any reasons. Some of them knew nothing about the action and came to the All-Russia Exhibition Centre just to have fun on the holiday. All the journalists who managed to fix the arrests were forced to erase their videos and photos under blackmailing by arrest or spoiling the camera.

40 minutes later I was sitting in a company of 8 or 10 people in 200 metres from the fountain. We did nothing and spent our time chatting and waiting for the other activists, so that we could go to a more peaceful place. We just wanted to change our dislocation when a band of OMON came near us and asked us to stay at our places. As I remembered clearly the last year march and as it was still possible to get out, I tried to run away. I was lucky to reach the exit from the All-Russia Exhibition Centre when a backheel of a non-uniformed person stopped me. Two seconds of free-fall - and I was lying on the ground. As I wasn't able to stand up myself the members of OMON began to beat me. I don't remember the moment I got to the military bus. The left side of my body was injured but the men in the bus denied me in any medical assistance. I could receive some help only in the police department.

The treatment in the police department was much better than last year. Only one guy of about 15 of our arrested supporters was subjected to pressure from the policemen. It took us two hours to understand the reason of our imprisoning. It sounded very funny and absolutely illegal. The matter was that the Federal Service of Drug Control just wanted to speak with us about the harm of drugs and any actions devoted to their legalization. So after 3 hours in the police department all of us were released from custody without any claims, fees or protocols and could continue the Cannabis Walk.

As a result of this amiable speech with the representatives of law I now have a fracture of a clavicle and several less painful but much more effective injuries - a good illustration of their methods of leading discussion as well as a good occasion for further legal struggle.


Anonymous said...

In Belgium 4 people were taken to the police headquarters for interrogation after planting a seed in public. They were released after a couple of hours . Maybe in the future even the Russian police (together with the Antwerp police force) understand that repression is not the best way to deal with drugs. I wish you a lot of strength!

Anonymous said...

hello, i am really sorry this happened to you. this is typical old time police tactics of intimidation.
like you say, because of problems caused last year, plans were changed for this year, and this is exactly how the authorities want this to work. thewy want activists to be afraid. I wish you fast recovery, you have been very brave, be careful, good luck!

mariasmirnova said...

To Bas Tielens

Thank you for support.

Maybe in the future even the Russian police (together with the Antwerp police force) understand that repression is not the best way to deal with drugs.

Hope so. In any way we'll continue to struggle.


mariasmirnova said...

like you say, because of problems caused last year, plans were changed for this year, and this is exactly how the authorities want this to work. thewy want activists to be afraid.

You are right. But we won't stop struggle in any case. People who spent in jail from 10 up to 15 days are afraid neither of another arrest nor of being beaten. Now we test different tactics of protest and I'm sure that one day we'll succeed.

Thank you for support,

Anonymous said...


Hier hat sich jemand mit meinem Namen einen dummen Scherz erlaubt.

Ich bin nicht dafuer und werde es nie befuerworten, unbedeutende und friedliche Menschen gewaltsam zu attackieren oder gar zu toeten.

Mir scheint fuer den Umgang mit drogenkranken Kapitalisten und Spekulanten das Modell Cubas sehr menschlich und wirkungsvoll zu sein. Man sollte den Drogensuechtigen eine Insel im Sozialismus zur Verfuegung stellen, wo sie sich schaedigen koennen, soviel sie wollen. Wir kontrollieren nur den Zugang, damit keine Drogen hinaus in die Gesellschaft gelangen, und damit kein Geld hineingebracht wird, welches einen Drogenhandel ermoeglichen koennte. Kapitalistische Helfer und Sanitaeter sollen freien Zutritt zum Paradies ihrer Schuetzlinge haben. Sie duerfen ihnen allerlei Naturalien, Medikamente und Drogen mitbringen, aber kein Geld und keine Elektronik.

Vielleicht koennte dieses Modell noch verbessert werden.

Richtigstellen muss ich auch, dass ich kein Anarchist mehr bin, sondern zum Sozialismus gewechselt habe. Ein Ex-Genosse scheint sich mit der obenstehenden Drohung an mir geraecht zu haben. Leider kann ich nicht genug gut Englisch, um mich verstaendlich zu machen.

I am sorry about the above posting. I do not speak english enough well to explain better. A anarchist excomrade may have posted the above bullshit to damage me. Politically I do not totally disagree with him, but I would never kill someone by my free choice, even if that person would attack me. And: I am not anarchist any more. I define myself socialist since some years.

Michael Siegrist
Postfach 1258
8040 Zuerich
Schweiz / Switzerland

mariasmirnova said...

To Michael Siegrist

Never mind. We hear off-line threats so often, that no virtual threats can bother us.

Having in mind, that I'm at least pro-anarchist it was even funny to read such a nonsense.


Anonymous said...

и здесь в комментах злобные идиоты

Anton Kovalenko said...

немецкоговорящий персонаж забавно предлагает, конечно, всех наркоманов на острове поселить. Ох, как круто все это конечно.

Мне очень интересно, почему людей так заботит проблема наркотиков? Даже тех, кто никогда не видел никаких, скажем так, наркотиков?

Все это очень странно.

mariasmirnova said...

Dear Anton! If you are writing a comment in an English-language blog, it should be better to write it in English. It's a common ethical rule: the largest part of the readers should have a chance to read and understand all the content.

As for that comment in German, I just pay no attention to such attacks. The rules of formal logic teach us that any discussion is possible only when the fields of argumentation of the proponent and the opponent are partly compatible. In our case it seems that the fields of argumentation don't cross at all. So I don't think that further discussion could be productive.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi.This is John.I agree with you.Here is something with you..




Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.