Translated by act for freedom now
We receive and transmit:
After we heard of the initiative organized by the comrades of the occupied social centre VOX in Athens in solidarity with Ilya Romanov, we decided to respond to the call for fundraising in support of the arrested comrade and his family. As many comrades are already engaged in a number of activities, we suggest that groups and individuals donate money through ‘collection’, unless they manage to organize initiatives in support of Ilya.
Various realities have already given money contributions according to their possibilities. We ask the comrades to make another effort.
We would like a signal of international solidarity with a comrade in the struggle for over twenty years to come out from Italy too.
Solidarity is to be carried out by continuing the struggle against the system with the most diversified practices, but also by raising funds for a comrade wounded in action.
According to the latest update from Moscow, Ilya is in prison awaiting trial; the charges against him are still unknown and the trail is likely to be held during the summer. Ilya is in pain because of his hand but he’s doing well. His family can send him medicines but they’re having trouble with the payment of legal costs.
If you want to write to Ilya in English, send the letter to the following address (comrades will translate into Russian): firstname.lastname@example.org
We thank in advance the comrades who will support this cause.
Anarchists from Trento and Rovereto
Donations are made via Postepay, code 4023-6005-5882-3706, account name Luigia Cecchin
Here is the text distributed during the initiative in solidarity with comrade Ilya Romanov held at the Occupied Social Centre VOX in Exarchia (Athens) on 15th November 2013:
Freedom for anarchist Ilya Romanov
Early in the morning of Sunday 27th October 2013, an explosive device blew off next to a building occupied by the Russian Army Draft Office in the Russian city of Nižnij Novgorod. The left hand of the comrade who attempted the action was torn off. As he was heavily bleeding, the comrade went alone to the nearest hospital, and was arrested soon afterwards. In the meantime police raided his house and confiscated books, a computer, letters of his time in prison and ‘unknown chemical substances’. The comrade also got wounded in the face and left eye, but these were minor injuries. As for his hand, doctors had to amputate it. A few days later he was moved from intensive care to another ward in the same hospital, where he has been under strict police surveillance till today. Initially he was charged with ‘supply, trafficking and illegal possession of explosive weapons’ later changed to ‘manufacturing of explosive devices’.
This is the story of 46-year-old anarchist Ilya Romanov, whom the press describe as ‘a tragic character who seems to have come out of a novel by Dostoevsky’; for the authority he’s an ‘unknown suspect’ but for us he’s a COMRADE […].
Ilya got involved in the anarchist movement at the end of the 80′s in Nizhni Novgorod, which at the time was named Gorky. In 1998 he joined the anarcho-syndicalism confederation, gave speech on anarchism, founded a magazine and took part in protests against nuclear power plants. Between 1991 and 1992 he started a campaign in solidarity with two anarchists arrested for attacking the secret service police, and since then he had been involved in initiatives in solidarity with anarchist prisoners. He was also committed to the spreading of anarchist propaganda in Moscow and a member of an independent union of unemployed youth.
In December 1998 he was arrested for ‘possession of drugs’ and sent to a psychiatric clinic where he was declared ‘insane’ and subsequently sent down to prison for two years and a half.
In July 2002 he was arrested again and sent to Penza, with the charge of ‘possession and transport of explosives’, following events occurred in 1997.
His partner Larissa, a comrade with whom he has two children, spent five years and a half in prison at the beginning of 2000, after being accused of belonging to ‘New Revolutionary Alternative’, a libertarian organization which between 1996 and 1999 carried out a number of explosive attacks, including the bombing that destroyed the wall of the central office of the FSB (former KGB).
After being released Ilya went back to Moscow, where he was met with a warrant of arrest, but he fled to the Ukraine. There he was arrested on 7th December 2002 for possession of a gun, dynamite, an electronic detonator and bullets. He was tortured and beaten at the local police station and sent to prison. He was accused of committing an explosion occurred two months earlier at the premises of the secret service in Kiev. The action had been claimed by the Vindication Popular Army, a leftist organization which had decided ‘to start guerrilla warfare on the capitalist system in the Ukraine’. Another 10 people were arrested for the same reason, but they were almost all members of the Ukraine Youth Communist Party. All the arrestees were charged with the Kiev explosion, armed robberies on jewellery stores and possession of firearms. They were all methodically tortured and one of them died during police interrogation. Ilya declared he didn’t know half of his co-defendants but he didn’t collaborate with the authority. On the contrary he took part in hunger strikes with his co-defendants and in other prison protests. He was put in solitary confinement. On the occasion of the trial in July 2004 he cut his veins in protest. He also declared that all statements he gave were false and obtained through torture and forced administration of psychotropic drugs.
Ilya was sentenced to 10 years, and remained proud and consistent with his ideas till the last day of this sentence. He was released on 7th December 2012, and went back to his people working in a sweet factory.
Let’s express solidarity with comrade Ilya, who has been struggling throughout all his life: from independent unionist struggles to the publication of anarchist papers, from solidarity with political prisoners to incendiary and explosive attacks, he used many means for one goal: REVOLUTION.
‘If people had continued to stay silent we would be living in a feudal system and working and revering land owners. Fortunately there are people who don’t want to live with their mouths shut.’
(from one of Ilya’s pieces of writing)
VOX Occupied Social Centre.