Grigory Pasko: Extremists Everywhere You Look


If the Russian police are doing something very ham-fistedly and very doggedly, that means another agency is looming behind their back. And we can guess just which one.

No doubt many of us from the very beginning assumed that the story with the seizure of the computers in the office of the “Baikal ecological wave” in Irkutsk wouldn’t end with a banal fine «for the unlicensed use of software». The initiators of the persecution of the ecologists went further and dug deeper. Would you expect any less? After all, no doubt standing behind the back is the «office of deep drilling»!

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Now employees of the Center for the Struggle with Extremism areposing questions to the ecologists. In the seized computers they dug upthe addresses of employees and are now coming to them at home andconducting cordial conversations. Among them, as was reported to me byco-chair of the «Baikal ecological wave» Marina Rikhvanova, are DmitryPutyato from the Center for the Struggle with Extremism, VasilyYeliseyev and Alexander Renaasov from the Center for the Struggle withViolations of the Law in the Sphere of the Consumer Market and theExecution of Administrative Legislation.

The boys are actingcreatively: they come at any time of day or night, demand to give themexplanations, pose strange questions, having more to do with thepersonal life of the employees and managers of the organization. Ifformer employees of the “Wave” turn out not to be at home, the policemenspend a long time conversing with relatives, explaining what negativeand, unconditionally, unlawful activity the organization is engaging in.Apparently in the hope that when the ecologists return home, theirrelatives will advise to go directly to the KGB with a confession, andfrom there – straight to jail.

Marina reported to me that, despite all this, the organization iscontinuing to work (recently, three weeks after the seizure, theyreturned to them three computers with the Linux operating system, whichis not in need of licensing). They’re preparing the latest action indefense of Baikal. They’re writing addresses. They are showinginterest in the situation at the Baikal PPM…

And the situation there, from ll appearances, stinks. For somereason, this time Putin has either not given Deripaska money forlarge-scale modernization of production at all, or he hasn’t given ityet. They’re hiring workers for only several months. They’re puttingpressure on the trade union. And they’re putting pressure on theworkers, so that they would not join the trade union. In short, there’sa struggle «with extremism» going on even there.

How is it in our country, after all? Whoever is against something -that one, consequently, is an extremist.

Against pointless visits to you at home by employees of the police?Extremist!

Against the polluting of Baikal? Extremist!

Against the arbitrariness of the siloviki? Definitely an extremist!

Against the unthinking decisions of the party and the government?Mother of all extremists!

The “Baikal ecological wave ” is calling on all non-indifferentcitizens to address the GUVD of Irkutsk Oblast with the question, onwhat basis the Center for the Struggle with Extremism is taking activepart in a case that is found not in its competence.

…It’s not difficult to guess that all who are addressed will automatically be targeted  through the gunsights of extremism.

Marina Rikhvanova at a rally (photo by Grigory Pasko).