‘Peaceful’ forms of struggle (meetings, public awareness campaigns, etc.) have little or no effect in our country, because too few people are ready to protest in the streets. Radical and ‘dangerous’ actions attract much more attention from the public and the media.
A good example is the struggle to protect the Khimki forest. [In July 2010, a group of Russian environmentalists fought against the construction of a new highway
linking Moscow and Saint Petersburg, running right through a birch tree forest just outside of Moscow]. This campaign, at first peaceful, received much more public attention after ‘anti-fascists’ attacked the Khimki administration. It was only after the attack that the movement gained support from people like Yuri Shevchuk
[a rock singer and activist] or Artemy Troitsky
[one of Russia’s most famous music critics]. After that, real progress was made. [However, the environmentalists failed to stop construction from getting underway. Anarchists continued their protest by setting fire to the highway’s construction materials.]
Burned bulldozers in Khimki forest. This video was filmed in late June 2011.
When two years ago we decided to start using more radical methods, it was an attempt to achieve bigger goals with smaller means. So far it's proved effective. Due to our actions during these past two years, more people have learned about anarchists and their ideas than during the entire previous period of peaceful anarchism in Russia.
“We will view the state as an enemy as long as it exists”
There’s also a personal, even ‘existential’ aspect to our actions. As anarchists, we will view the state as an enemy as long as it exists. Imagine seeing your enemy day after day and year after year, but you do nothing except tell other people how bad your enemy is – and most people just don’t care. That's how Russian anarchists have spent these past 25 years. Fortunately, that’s now over. The state may not have disappeared yet, but we can cause some real damage. The state may not be falling apart yet, but we can cause it real, though not very big, damage.
Our attacks haven't hurt anyone so far. Nobody has suffered, not even law enforcement officers or other representatives of the state. To avoid harming people is our main principle, and we always carefully plan our actions with this in mind.
We do not believe that our actions will lead to any serious crackdown on the part of the government. The Russian state has no means, no effective instruments and most importantly no political will to repress us.”