Russia: Free the Khachaturyan sisters

Juntas y a la Izquierda and the MST has taken up the initiative launched by the Russian Socialist Movement and other organizations to demand the freedom of the Khachaturyan sisters. We are in solidarity with María (17 years old), Argelina (18 years old) and Crestina (19 years old), three Russian sisters who were accused on June 14 of murdering their rapist, their father, and are facing up to 20 years in prison.

The sisters had been victims of rapes, beatings, physical abuse, verbal abuse and humiliation for years by their father. Their actions were in self-defense, in order to end that torment that marked their lives. The abuses suffered by the sisters are regrettably repeated very often. Though in Russia there are expressions of resistance against patriarchy, though important demands have been made, such as the decriminalization of abortion, in terms of gender violence, the numbers of femicides are brutal, and practices of abuse of women and LGBT people continue to be naturalized. But the feminist wave and its expansion are international, and Russia and Putin´s government will not be the exception. Already in the last elections, several women have been candidates in different positions, a question that is quite restricted for feminist activists. The Russian band and activist group Pussy Riot, which flies the banner of feminism, has become the best-known national collective inside and outside of Russia. And beyond differences we may have, it is indisputable that their actions highlight the inequality between men and women and the discrimination suffered by the latter in all areas of the State in that country, such as the persecution of dissident sexual orientations. This global feminist wave is also reflected in this campaign, which seeks the freedom of the sisters, against the official story that is disseminated by the media. An official story that only narrates descriptively the amount of stabs that Crestina inflicted on her father, or the amount of hammer blows with which Argelina hit her rapist; but says nothing of the physical torments with which their father tortured his three daughters during years. A torture that many young women still have to endure. As well as the police and judicial complicity that women must face with every complaint when they manage to do so. The Putin government represents the most reactionary and patriarchal face of capitalism. At the same time, in the country of the Russian Revolution that was vanguard in rights for women and the LGBT collective, there are reserves for struggle that do not back away from their demands.

The feminist wave is international

Given the visibility of patriarchal brutality, the global feminist wave allows naturalized sexist behaviors to be questioned and fought against. Women mobilize against abuse, inequality and patriarchal justice. As a result of that strength, and of an advance in the conscience of thousands, the rapists of “La Manada” in Spain, for example, whose victim was only 18 years old, were condemned to 15 years of prison. A positive ruling as a consequence of the social condemnation and campaigns by different organizations, including Juntas y a la Izquierda, and SOL, the Spanish section of the International Socialist League. The process of the green tide in Argentina during 2018 was also supported by women and the LGBT movement in the world and the green handkerchief became a worldwide symbol for legal abortion. The pressure of thousands of young people in hundreds of cities around the world, for the sovereignty of our bodies, for free identities and for the legalization of abortion, pushes against the clerical and sexist governments that try to stop to divert the process but fail to do so. The feminist wave takes the streets again and again. Despite ebbs and flows, it manifests itself with strength against every injustice.

Socialist and internationalist feminism

Our feminism is anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal, classist, socialist and profoundly internationalist. The active and militant solidarity of socialist feminism that we practice, is reinforced by campaigns for the demands of women from different parts of the world, because, if the struggles advance anywhere, this massive movement is strengthened on a general scale. Every conquest achieved, every resistance that wins, every step taken by the international struggle of women, is one more blow against patriarchal and sexist capitalism, and puts us in a better position to advance our entire agenda.

In the immediate term, Juntas y a la Izquierda and the MST will promote initiatives for the freedom of the Khachaturyan sisters, unjustly persecuted by Putin’s courts. If the Khachaturyan sisters are liberated, all the women of that country and the world will have taken another step against the double capitalist oppression that we suffer. This June 24, all over the world, we raise one banner: #FreeKhachaturyanSisters.

Andrea Lanzette, Juntas y a la Izquierda / MST – Argentine section of the ISL