Twelve years ago, Russian human rights advocate and journalist Stanislav Markelov, and journalist Anastasia Baburova, were shot and killed by a Russian ultra-nationalists.
On 30th November 2008 Stas made a speech at the meeting against political terror in Moscow. It describes perfectly Stas himself and the overall situation in Russia at that time.
I’m in a strange position. It turns out that I’m the lawyer of all the people who wound up in these awful stories. And I’m tired.
I’m tired of coming across the names of people I know on the crime pages. I’m tired because a week before what happened I was at Mikhail Beketov’s house. And he complained to me that he was alone against the world.
And that turned to be true.
I’m tired of opening up a criminal case and seeing that the first point in the list of charges is that the accused is a member of the antifa movement. People not only have charges filed against them for this, they are arrested and put in jail, just like [Alexei] Osinov right now.
I’m tired of reading the crime pages and scanning lists of victims. This is how I found out about [Fyodor] Filatov, who was recently murdered outside his home. This is no longer a job, but a question of survival. Whereas Mikhail Beketov needs blood right now, all of us need protection. We need protection from Nazis. We need protection from the mafia-like authorities. We even need protection from the law enforcement agencies, who often simply wait on them hand and foot. We all need protection.
And we know perfectly well that, besides ourselves, no one is ever going to give us this protection. Not God, not the Tsar, not the law, no one. Only we ourselves. And only when we manage to march shoulder to shoulder will we be able to protect each other, only then we will make a breakthrough. I hope that this will happen. Otherwise we’ve gathered here in vain.Speech by Stanislav Markelov. Rally against Political Terror. Moscow, November 30, 2008.
Only two month after this speech, on 19 January, Stas was murdered. It’s hard to make a list of all the things that he did for the left movement in Russia.
He defended leftist and anti-fascist activists throughout Russia.
He defended environmentalists, whose protest camps were attacked by local administrations, law enforcement officials, and legal and illegal armed units.
He defended trade union activists.
He defended members of the Belorussian opposition.
He was practically the only Russian lawyer who worked on controversial cases in Chechnya.
He represented victims of the Nord-Ost and Blagoveshchensk terrorist attacks.
He and Anastasia Baburova were killed in the middle of the day in the very center of Moscow.
Someone might say that Nastya was just a random victim, but we would not agree on that. Her ideals and her choices led her to that place in that time. She was a brave person who combined activism with journalism. That day, after she heard the shots targeting Markelov, she could have run and save herself, but she decided to try to stop the attacker. She was killed.
Stanislav Markelov as a lawyer was involved in so many hot cases that at first it was hard to say exactly who might have pulled the trigger, but at the end he was killed by Nazis.
Stas and Nastya were killed by a neo-nazi organization called BORN. This organization was formed by people who had the desire to kill, and they made it real. As a result, BORN murdered multiple enemies of their imaginary happy white pride future.
It’s obvious that such a right-wing radicals do not come from nothing. They need the basis to grow from. And this basis is social injustice. As long as we have rich and poor, people will be angry. Those in power try to turn our anger against refugees and immigrants as an easy target. But it will never solve anything, it only bring more problems and pain.
We need to turn our anger on people in power, on those who start wars and destroy out planet for profits. To stop racist killings, we need to put an end to capitalism.
Stas and Nastya both knew that. Everything they did was for that. And eventually they gave their lives for that. Now it’s up to us to make the rest of the world see the bigger picture, to give people the knowledge so they can fight for themselves everyday.
Let’s not forget Stas and Nastya’s struggle.
Anti-fascism is an action.
To remember is to fight.