15 days of arrest – how it is. Text by Filip Kostenko, arrested St.
Petersburg anarchist on hungerstrike
Filip Kostenko is one of the hundreds of people, arrested in Russia
during a crackdown against protests against bogus elections. He was
singled out as a political activist, and given a 15 day arbitrary prison
sentence. He has been in a hungerstrike since 7th of December.
Arch ceilings and windows, wrought bars with peaks, iron stairs,
galleries connecting three floors of cells/. This is Zakharievskaya
street, 6, view from inside, special police prison. The building looks
as it was described in old books about revolutionaries of the past..
This prison was built in the 19th century, at the tsar’s times, it still
functions in the 21st century. No change. As if time has stopped here.
All this time that the state has stolen from the prisoners.
The authorities did not expect so strong protests. When the results of
the falsified election were published thousands went to the streets. The
era of stability is over. As usual, the authorities’ reaction is panic.
They seize everybody. They also seize me. It is a pity that they seize
me before everything begins.. They drag me into the bus where OMON
checks how my ribs survive punches, and also takes away my firecrackers.
In 20 minutes the bus is packed. There are activists of protest
movements, people who have come to the street for the first time because
they are fed up, many people were arrested arbitrarily. No difference,
they carry everyone to the police station to spend the night there. For
some people it is the first night in captivity. Now people see the state
as it is. But this does not cause fear. On the contrary, it gives
courage and the understanding of the necessity to struggle.
The bus window is broken and covered with plastic. Somebody must have
left through it yesterday and this suits us fine. We are waiting for the
court for a long time, the convoy become less watchful. It is easy to
tear the plastic away. There is another guy with me who had been clever
enough to leave his passport at home. We run a reasonable distance away
and calm down. Too early. They see our route with CCTV cameras and the
political police are after us. Now we are lying on the ground – our
faces on asphalt.
The most humane court in the world is headed by judge Kouznetzov. About
200 detained people pass through his court, for most of them the
hearings are laid off, but there are special orders. Political police
are here and they are consulting him. I am recognized – takeover of
cruiser Aurora, action at Vasilevsky, at Primorskaya… Some of them have
been waiting for me undercover at the place of my official recidence.
Different police departments even start competing, who will get me.
Kouznetsov’s ruling is quick, no formalities: 15 days in prison, this is
the order of the police chief. The guards make me put my hands to the
back immediately, one of them is an Afghanistan war veteran and he
promises to shoot me dead with one bullet.
The time moves very slowly. The heads of this humanitarian shelter are
very polite, they strongly recommend me to taste their dinner, but my
choice is hunger strike. I have not been eating for three days and I
feel well. Why should man stay in prison, moreover why should one eat
Those, who have been maximally deprived of freedom still can continue
their struggle and we do continue. A cell mate who received 10 days in
prison joins me. He is an activist of Strategy 31. They separate us very
quickly, probably they are afraid of us agitating for a riot. Political
prisoners are kept separately here, the guards say this is done to
prevent them from spreading their ideas.
The lawyer comes and brings news. Many notes from friends and comrades.
The feeling of support is practically physical. Frustration goes. We are
alive and continue struggle. I am talking with the guard about the
perspective. All parties are the same. People must decide for
themselves. The guard seems surprised, he has not expected such an
approach. A walk in the yard. I am given 15 minutes, will go to breathe
some fresh air while I still have the strength. No sign of winter in our
Northern city so far, let’s see what it will be in 15 days.
On Dec 12 the lawyer visited Philip. She says that after 5 days of
hunger strike he has become very thin. The doctor sees him every day.
The prison head came to persuade him to give up. Philip remains
unbending and is sending his salute to comrades.
Anarchist Black Cross of Moscow
abc-msk A riseup D net
P.O. Box 13 109028 Moscow Russia