This collection brings together four statements from longtime Russian anarchist groups about the invasion of Ukraine, exploring its repercussions within Russia and arguing for international solidarity against Vladimir Putin’s militaristic efforts to expand his imperial reach.
On February 23, immediately after the Russian military invaded Ukraine, photographs reached us of two lone Russian anarchists standing by themselves in downtown Moscow, holding signs. One sign read “No troops to Donbas.” They were swiftly arrested by riot police.
By the next day, thousands of Russians had followed their example, coming into the streets of dozens of Russian cities to protest the war at great risk to themselves. Many of them were arrested. In Moscow, one group of anarchists marched repeatedly with a banner reading “Peace for Ukraine—Freedom for Russia” on the night of February 24. Even after police dispersed the main demonstration, making a large number of arrests, this group of anarchists regrouped and marched again until the police charged and arrested them as well.
The courage that protesters have shown in Russia is humbling. Let no one reduce this to “Russians versus Ukrainians.” We all have cause to stand together against Putin’s warmongering and the imperialism of every state, east or west.
Whether the Russian people as a whole decide to support this invasion at great cost to themselves—or to oppose Putin’s agenda at great risk to themselves—may well determine what happens in Ukraine in the long run. In the meantime, we owe it to the Russians who are risking their freedom to learn how they see this invasion and what it means for their lives in Russia.