From Belarus To Ukraine, Antifascists Stand Together!

Alexey Bolenkov (with mic) and Artur Kondratovych

Last month we told you about some of the difficulties of being an antifascist in Belarus these days. But you know what might be even more difficult than that? Being a Belrusian antifascist living in Ukraine.

For example, there’s Alexey Bolenkov and Artur Kondratovych – two Belrusian antifascists and anarchists who have been living in Ukraine for several years now, doing really solid organizing work in the community there. Ukranian authorities have been keen to rid themselves of people challenging them on issues such as police brutality, the plight of refugees, and the creeping fascist presence there and have actively deported several people for their completely-legal participation in peaceful demonstrations. Such is the context in which they have attempted to illegally deport Alexey and Artur.

Our two friends have challenged this illegal extradition on the courts and have every sign of winning there. But this is costing a lot of money and they need help to fight for their rights – a situation made more difficult by Alexey recently losing his job as a result of all the publicity.

On top of that, the case has attracted a lot of public attention, particularly from no fewer than four separate fascist gangs operating in Ukraine. These gangs have coordinated their efforts, physically attacking Alexey’s and Artur’s supporters and, in one especially bold move, attacking Alexey himself outside of the courthouse prior to a hearing, in full view of Ukranian police and court security.

It’s fair to say that Alexey and Artur are in a tight spot and need support from antifascists to help see them through it. That’s what the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was established and that’s why we were happy to be able to come to their aid!

Bad Times In Belarus

You’ll probably remember the uprisings in Belarus last year, when autocrat Alexander Lukashenko very plainly falsified election results to maintain his 25-year grip on power there. Four of the 5000+ people who took to the streets in protest – antifascists Vitaliy Shishlov, Tamaz Pipiya, Timur Pipiya, and Denis Boltut – were convicted in July of this year on charges stemming from their participation in the protests, based largely on coerced confessions that were extracted under beatings and torture by regime goons. All four were given prison sentences of between five and six years.

ABC Belarus reached out to us about their cases and asked us to help provide support to pay for the legal costs involved with the four cases, as well as to provide some funds to help support the families of the four convicted antifascists. After a short discussion, we quickly came to a consensus that we needed to show international solidarity by providing real material aid to help them. We were happy to be in a position to do so.