On January 23 in St. Petersburg, the antifascist Viktor Filinkov disappeared. Two days later he was found – the press service of the St. Petersburg courts wrote that he was arrested and found guilty of involvement in a terrorist community that “shares an anarchist ideology.” A day later, members of the Public Monitoring Commission of St. Petersburg (body controling observance of human rights in detention facilities), came to visit him, it turned out that Filinkov was tortured. On January 25, other person from St. Petersburg Igor Shishkin disappeared – he left to walk his dog. The dog came back home not alone, but with the security forces. The „Dzerzhinsky Court“ of Petersburg arrested Shishkin on the same charges as Filinkov. Journalists were not allowed to attend the court hearing. He was badly beaten up. Investigative actions in St. Petersburg were sanctioned by one of the district courts of Penza.
Book Review: “Anarchist Encounters. Russia in Revolution”. Edited by A.W. Zurbrugg (London: Anarres Editions -Merlin Press, 2017). With the occasion of the recent centenary of the Russian Revolution of October, 1917, Anthony Zurbrugg has edited a wonderful contribution to our understanding of those turbulent times. What we found in this collection of reports put together by Zurbrugg, are testimonies written by anarchists who visited the USSR in the crucial years of 1920-1921.
Boris Yelensky’s In the Social Storm – Memoirs of the Russian Revolution, is a neglected text even in anarchist circles. Yelensky was living in exile in Chicago when news of the February Revolution in Russia reached him. He returned to Russia in July 1917, going back to the Kuban region on the Black Sea, where he began organizing factory workers throughout the area, with the centre of his activities being in the port city of Novorossiysk. In this except from his Memoirs, Yelensky describes how a relatively small group of anarchists was able to organize factory committees in Novorossiysk and surrounding areas in the weeks leading up to the October Revolution. While Council Communists and other far left Marxists like to claim the idea of factory committees as their own, while portraying anarcho-syndicalists as advocates of bureaucratic trade union organization, the fact remains that anarchists were at the forefront of the factory committee movements in Russia, and a couple of years later, in Italy. At the 1918 All-Russian Conference of Anarcho-Syndicalists in Moscow, the delegates confirmed their commitment to factory committees as organs of worker self-management. I included the Conference’s Resolution on Factory Committees in Volume One of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas.
Organization as Ideology: Dilemmas of the Russian Anarchists (1903-1914).