Anarcho-communist resistance inside neo-Tsarist Russia
Russia: The Anarcho-Communist Combat Organization
An Interview with a Clandestine Anarchist Group
When the Russian military invaded Ukraine at the end of February 2022, anarchists and other anti-war demonstrators defied draconian anti-protest measures to take the streets to express opposition. Over the months since those protests were crushed, resistance to the invasion has assumed new forms. Clandestine attacks across Russia have targeted railroads, military recruiting centers, vehicles belonging to pro-war zealots, and Russian state propaganda messaging in favor of the war.
One of the groups promoting these attacks is known as the Anarcho-Communist Combat Organization. In the following interview, they speak about how they see their predecessors in the regional history of anarchist movements, how the political situation in Russia deteriorated to such an extent that it was possible to suppress social movements and invade Ukraine, and what kind of organizing is possible under the prevailing conditions. We also asked them to go into detail about some of their operational protocol, in case this is ever useful for anarchists elsewhere who may be compelled to adopt similar strategies as state repression intensifies around the world.
Russian Anarchists Are Sabotaging Railways to Stop Putins War on Ukraine
A group called BOAK has claimed responsibility for destroying communications towers and delaying trains used to deliver weapons to the military.
by Ella Fassler
In late June, a group of anarchists donned camouflage, covered their faces, and snuck out into a forest about 60 miles northeast of Moscow with a lofty goal: to sabotage Putin’s invasion of Ukraine by physically disabling railways used to supply weapons to the Russian military.
The group selected its target using Wikimapia, a “geographic online encyclopedia” that labels geographic features observed in photos from Google Maps. Once they arrived at the site, the group got to work, unscrewing dozens of nuts off the rails, and four off the rail joint, while keeping the electrical signal largely intact with a wire to evade detection over the course of several hours. Finally, they scribbled “BO(A)K,” on the tracks with a white marker before dissolving back into the countryside.
“We see [the] current conflict in Eastern Europe as the regional stage of global struggle,” an anonymous spokesperson from BOAK, the anarchist communist combat organization that claimed responsibility for the sabotage, told Motherboard in a written interview. “The defeat and collapse of Putin’s regime will give a chance at least for peoples of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia to make important steps toward social liberation.”