ISL Declaration: Free Igor Kuznetsov

Russian Marxist activist, union leader and journalist Igor Kuznetsov was arrested on September 16, 2021 in the Siberian city of Tomsk. Afterward, he was transferred to Moscow, and now the Russian regime is filing two criminal cases against him at the same time, for which he faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

The motive for starting this case against Igor Kuznetsov and other cases against left-wing Russian opponents is as follows. In Russia, the gap between the richest and the poorest, between the capital-metropolis Moscow and the rest of the country is increasing rapidly. The ruling bourgeoisie is enriching itself at an unprecedented pace at the expense of low workers’ wages, pensions and the diversion of natural resources.

In order to continue this robbery of the people and out of fear in an imminent social explosion, the Russian bourgeoisie has restricted freedom of expression in recent years. Bloggers have been heavily fined for social media posts criticizing the actions of corrupt officials. Police officers beat with batons, use stun guns, and arrest participants of peaceful demonstrations, rallies, and even individual protesters. Environmentalists are arrested, many unofficial publications, public organizations and dissident citizens are declared “foreign agents.” Independent unions of workers, doctors and teachers constantly face obstruction in their statutory activities.

People who are able to understand and explain to others the class essence of events and to organize the struggle of workers for their rights are under particularly strong pressure.

Igor Kuznetsov is 57 years old. Before his arrest, he was working as a mechanic at a medical school in Tomsk. And he has a long activist history.

He was a leader and organizer of the trade union movement, in the 90s he became secretary of the Siberian Confederation of Labor. He traveled throughout the country, met with workers, strike committees and members of the trade union movement in Kazakhstan, with whom they established communication and solidarity actions. He participated in the third wave of the “railway war” of the Kuzbass miners. And he organized cells of the independent “Zashchita” workers’ union in Anzhero-Sudzhensk, in Samara at the Rossiya chocolate factory and in Syzran.

He has been a human rights activist since the 1980s. Now, in the Tomsk pre-trial detention center, he defended a cellmate who was beaten during his interrogation. And in letters from the Moscow remand center, he came up with the idea and the plan for the creation of the Union of Political Prisoners of Russia.

Igor is a Marxist and an anti-Stalinist. He disseminates the ideas of the scientific socialism of Marx, Engels and Lenin and shows how the Stalinist regime destroyed the Leninist party and the real soviets of October 1917. He is an anti-imperialist militant for the rights of the regions and peoples of Russia. He opposes Moscow’s colonial policy in relation to Siberia and other regions, for Russia to become a true federation, with the end of its expansionist policy in relation to other countries and the end of its war of aggression against Ukraine, which The Kremlin started in 2014.

He is a fierce critic of the current regime and of the pseudo-left social-chauvinists, who, supposedly out of patriotism, agree to compromise with the Russian bourgeoisie. He is a talented journalist who has covered serious social problems and workers’ protest actions on his blogs and in the publication RusNews.

As a civic activist, Igor regularly attended solitary solidarity pickets: with protesters in Khabarovsk, participants in Belarusian demonstrations, with striking Anzhero-Sudzhensk doctors, with environmentalists, in defense of each new political prisoner. Now he himself has fallen into the cells of the repressive machine and needs our protection.

Igor Kuznetsov and his comrades are charged with “inciting riots” under article 212, part 1.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. On September 16, 2021, together with Igor, these young people from different cities were arrested: Dmitry Chebanov, Zhanna Chernova, Nikita Kreshchuk, Alexey Kurlov, Maria Platonova, Vyacheslav Abramov, Alexey Yanochkin, Dmitry Lamanov. For this reason he has emphasized in his speeches: “Together with my friends, I represent the peaceful protest movement. We use exclusively peaceful means to promote our opinions. This is the propaganda of our views, a story about what is happening in the world and analytics.”

In 2019, Igor and his companions went to the only pickets allowed by the law, with posters expressing their position on the social and political ills suffered by the population. The police detained them by force and the courts fined them, all illegally.

Putin’s Russian regime is heir to the Stalinist totalitarian system and operates according to its methods. In pre-trial detention centers and colonies throughout Russia, there is a system of torture. It was recently exposed by human rights activists from, who, with the help of journalists from different countries, published video recordings of monstrous torture, recorded by the employees of the Russian prisons themselves. This system is still far from breaking. From Gulagu-net publications it is known that in pretrial detention no. 5 of Moscow, where Igor Kuznetsov is now located, there are unofficial torture chambers. There some suspects beat others and forced them to provide the evidence required by the investigation, they were also extorted for money.

Under conditions of almost complete dependence on the Russian courts and the prosecution of the authorities, it is only possible to protect our comrades from torture during the investigation with the widest publicity throughout the world. The International Socialist League demands: The immediate release of Igor Kuznetsov and all leftist, social and human rights activists imprisoned in Russia! No more persecution and repression by the bourgeois Putin regime! International Socialist League

International Socialist League