Threat of Stability

March 17, 2018

Last Sunday, one week before the Russian presidential elections, with my punk band I took part in a benefit gig to support five young antifascists who were recently kidnapped, detained, and tortured by the FSB special agency, called the Centre for Prevention Against Extremism.

We had just finished singing Lucy—a bold’n’brazen adaptation of Woody Guthrie’s Miss Pavlichenko, which is dedicated to a legendary record-holding Soviet sniper who killed 300 Nazis by herself—when suddenly an alarmed voice shouted “Nazis at the door!”

Them: youngsters in sporty black outfits, anxious, throwing bottles, firing pepper gas.
Us: surprised, infuriated, throwing heavy welded bar stools and trash bins.

They ran away. We continued singing in the street outside the bar. Louder and louder.

Yes – there is a new Alt-right movement in Russia, as there is everywhere else. Ask people who came to protest the Italian Macerata a month ago after a neo-Nazi shot seven African asylum seekers in the streets. Ask people in Poland who stood frozen, shocked by the massive neo-Nazi torchlight procession in 2017, or those who recently witnessed the Nazi rally in Kyiv.

Yes – the Russian Federation’s Security Service (FSB) uses torture against antifascists, now as they did 6 years ago. It’s Putin’s style to show who is ruling here, especially to those who wish his stability to be shaken. Putin’s tactics have remained the same over his consequent 18 years in office.

And yes – Putin will count his years in power ‘til 2024.

For obvious reasons, this short text is very personal as I draw attention to three articles on ArtsEverywhere that demonstrate how power manages to remain stable. To understand the historical roots of Putinism, I invite you to read the introduction I wrote to present the series Ways of Seeing New Russian Colonialisms.

In The Very Best Day, Ilya Budraitskis analyses pre-electoral events, concluding: “The resort to external and internal threats as the main justification for its legitimacy in fact demonstrates the weakness and degradation of the existing regime. And behind the predictability of Putin’s victory in the decorative elections of March 18th lurks the unpredictability of further developments in the country.”

The image accompanying his text includes a quote from Putin’s silovik (security) minister from six years ago: “We all realize that the state power in our country must be unshaken, must be an example and a guarantee of stability.” It’s an old piece of mine, which illustrates how persistent this stability is.

And as a reminder not to forget how power seeks to remain entrenched forever I invite into this conversation Niki Singleton’s This Land Is MY Land, an artwork she made when Trump won the presidential election in the US. Seems like he’s already been there for far too long too, right? Trumpism seems pretty stable too, right?

Ways of Seeing New Colonialisms: Writing on and from Post-Soviet Territories

Nikolay Oleynikov, Saint Petersburg, Russia 

Summary How can we analyse Russia’s renewed colonialism and global expansionism that affects the geopolitical tectonic shifts of today?  Is Putin the successor of the USSR or of Tsarist Russia? How can we read the imperial language being imposed with...

The Very Best Day

Ilya Budraitskis, Moscow, Russia 

On March 3rd, 2018, the main pre-election rally for Vladimir Putin took place at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Tens of thousands of public sector workers were brought in from various regions of the country and were expected to listen...

This Land is MY Land

Niki Singleton, New York City, United States 

I drew this comic illustration on the cover of the New York Times Magazine after watching a video of Alt-Right supporters in the US vigorously hailing Trump in genuine Nazi style on Youtube after the US Election. White Nationalism is...

One thought on “Threat of Stability

  1. Here in the UK there is also a sudden worrying re-alignment again of right-wing groups and forces. Those who had fallen apart five years ago are back under new names and tentative alliances. They are a new re-convergence of old school nazis, fascists (National Front, ex-English Defence League, Britain First etc), right wing football fans (Football Lads Alliance), identitarians (Generation Identity), patriots and nationalists (UKIP and ex-UKIP). The realignment is organised along the lines of being anti-Islam of course but this masks both the racism and fascism at the hidden heart of those pulling these groups all together.

    There was a right-wing gathering at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park this weekend – 300-600 people! That’s the first big right-wing gathering in London for years. They were making a move to use the idea of Free Speech as the way to open up their messages to the mainstream. They use this tactic because of the success of militant Anti-Fa publicly shutting them down for last five years. Hence – Anti-Fa are against free speech and thus the real fascists!! Nothing new but it’s a neat strategy right now in shitty Brexit Britain!

    But the reappearance of these individuals and groups although being a cause for concern is being well monitored and plans are always in motion to mobilise against them.

    On Saturday 24th March the Football Lads Alliance will be holding what could be a large rally and march in Birmingham (‘Football unites against extremism – ‘For our children’ – ‘For our grandchildren'”). It’s definitely a test of holding a street presence.

    No Pasaran!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.