BY Vicki Morris
FRESH from his PR appearance on the BBC, President Vladimir Putin of Russia is preparing to host the leaders of the new free world at the G8 summit at St Petersburg (15-17 July). A counter-summit and the second Russian Social Forum have been organised, but, as was feared, they are meeting with sinister repression. A report from French journalist Carine Clément was sent to the email lists of the European Social Forum. Here is a translated extract:
For several weeks now the secret services and the police have been taking a close look at Russian militants linked to ‘altermondialist’ (alternative-globalisation) networks or to social protest movements. As the G8 counter-summit and Russian Social Forum of 13-16 July approach, the tension is mounting. Since 5 July the number of “preventative arrests” of people preparing to take the train to St Petersburg has multiplied.
On the night of 6-7 July six militants from the association “For the development of the Nakhoda region” [Russian far-east] were marched military fashion off the train. At Tchita station, Tatiana Kortchevnaïa managed to telephone the organisers of the Social Forum, then all trace of them vanished… Just before they disappeared, the militants let us know that they had been beaten as they got off the train…
At Tomsk a trade unionist from the Siberian Confederation of Labour was also arrested on 6 July, on the eve of his departure for St Petersburg… After a kangaroo court appearance and on a trumped-up charge, he was imprisoned for 10 days. He is currently on hunger strike to protest at this unfair trial.