Injured members of leftist youth organizations said that their attackers escaped in a bus.
Photo: Dmitriy Solovev
Batting a Thousand
// Who was behind the attack on the National Bolsheviks
Late Monday night, an attack was made on radical leftist youth in Moscow. They were shot with stun guns and beaten with baseball bats. Four members of the National Bolshevik Party were hospitalized. The victims are blaming the pro-presidential Nashi (Ours) group for the attack, although that group denies any involvement. At the police station where the attackers were taken, all information about them has been declared secret and the attackers themselves released. Kommersant has been able to obtain a list of the arrestees, however. It can be gathered from an examination of that list that the attackers were part of an organized group of fans of the Spartak team that has been suspected of having ties with Nashi.
On Monday evening, leftists gathered in the public reception hall of the Communist party of the Russian federation on Avtozavodskaya St. in Moscow. They included members of National Bolshevik Party, the For the Fatherland youth union, the Union of Communist Youth (a wing of the CPRF) and the Red Youth Avant-Garde.
“A little after seven, during the meeting, we heard shouts,” recounts For the Fatherland member Dmitry Sovolyev. “We looked out the window and saw people running toward the entrance f the building wearing black masks and carrying clubs, guns and torches.” At the entrance, Comrade Sovolyev continued, the masked persons fell on the seven National Bolshevik guards, two of whom were young women. “When we saw that,” he continued, “we grabbed flagpoles that were leaning by the door and headed downstairs, but the attackers had already fled. They ran off and threw away their masks and white gloves along the way.”
Four of the National Bolsheviks, Andrey Tolstikov, Pavel Shestov, Stanislav Dyakonov and Dmitry Elizarov, were hospitalized after the incident. Elizarov was the most seriously injured, with complex fractures of both arms.
Several minutes later, police arrived from the Danilovsky precinct, but the perpetrators had already boarded a bus owned by the Avtotrevel Co. with markings for the No. 576 route to the suburban town of Korolev. That bus was stopped by the road police at the entrance to Lefortovo Tunnel. The young people on the bus immediately warned the traffic inspector that he was “making a big mistake and most likely would be punished.” The young people made several called by cell phone and soon police cars from the Danilovsky precinct arrived and escorted the bus and its passengers to the police station.
“The participants in the mass brawl were kept at the police station for three hours, where records were taken, after which they were released,” the Main Department of Internal Affairs confirmed. Kommersant has information, however, that contradicts that account. According to policemen from Danilovsky, things went according to standard procedure at the beginning. The officer on duty filled out papers for the detainees. A that point, an investigator was supposed to take written accounts of the incident from each of them, but that didn't happen. “A call came from above ordering us to release the detainees,” a policeman told Kommersant. “Those guys warned us when we were recording them that it wasn't worth the effort, that they would soon be released.” They were not released immediately, however, since the police station was already surrounded by television journalists and the members of leftist parties that had been attacked. The police resorted to deception to release the detainees. They took them three at a time in patrol cars and released them is different places.
Kommersant has obtained a list of 25 of the detainees (see below). Policemen say that there was a 26th person, a young man by the name of Verbitsky, who was allegedly behind the wheel of the bus. “He very convincingly promised to take our badges away,” police report. “We remember his face well, but he wasn't put on the list.”
The Main Department of Internal Affairs refused to comment on the situation, and suggested that Kommersant contact the Moscow prosecutor's office for an explanation. Sergey Marchenko, an official representative f the Moscow prosecutor, also refused to comment, without explanation.
The deputy chairman of the CPRF and State Duma deputy Ivan Melnikov, who was present at the Danilovsky police station on Monday night, told Kommersant that “at first the police tried to convince me that it had been an ordinary fight, but I told them that the political subtext was obvious.” The police then promised Melnikov that “the detainees would not be released and they promised that the young people would write explanatory statements.” Melnikov also stated that CPRF leader Gennady Zyuganov sent telegrams yesterday to Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev, Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov, Justice Minister Yury Chaika and Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin asking them to deal with the situation. “We won't allow the case to be stopped and will work to have it carried to a conclusion,” the deputy stated.
The radical leftists were quite willing to comment. Vladimir Abel, one of the leaders of the National Bolshevik Party, accused the Nashi youth movement of being involved in the attack. “It wasn't the first attack on NBP activists,” he said. “In three previous criminal cases initiated in attacks, one Roman Verbitsky played a role.” Comrade Abel also claimed that Verbitsky is an official member of Nashi and is responsible for the movement's “regional development.”
Another NBP activist, Alexander Averin, also confirmed seeing Roman Verbitsky among the attackers. He noted that several of the attackers were wearing T-shirts with the Nashi logo. The National Bolsheviks say that, besides being members of Nashi, the attackers were also members of Gladiators, a group of fans of the Spartak soccer team. Party members also say that Roman Verbitsky leads that group under the nickname Roma Kolyuchy (Prickly Roma).
Kommersant was able to contact some of those whose names are in the list of detainees yesterday. Artem Usachev told Kommersant, “I am sick and do not leave the house. I like soccer and watch it at home.” He denied any connect with Nashi. David Gelashvili also told Kommersant that he was sick and, with that, ended the conversation.
A Gladiators member named Vladimir (who did not wish to provide his last name) told Kommersant that that “the Gladiators work closely with Nashi and provide security for their events.” He added that “the guys receive $400-$600” for their services.
Vladimir Grishin, head of the official Spartak fan club, told Kommersant that “I don't know Roman Verbitsky. We contract with the Gladiators organization. Their main goal is to support the Spartak soccer team.” Nonetheless, Grishin confirmed that “The Gladiators are used sometimes by certain structures for their own purposes.” He refused to name those organizations.
Ivan Mostovich, press secretary of Nashi, told Kommersant that “Nashi members couldn't have had anything to do with the attack because they were all busy preparing for the action in memory of the tragedy at Beslan.” Mostovich called the National Bolshevik Party members' accusations groundless. “It's an attempt to hide their own infighting. Maybe somebody inside Limonov's party didn't share something,” he speculated. Mostovich commented on the T-shirts worn by the attackers that, “Those shirts were produced by the thousands. Maybe some of those whom they were issued to lost theirs. Mostovich added that he does not know who Roman Verbitsky is. “Sergey Belokonev handles our regional development,” he noted.
Detainees at the Danilovsky Police Station after the Beating of the National Bolshevik Party Members
1. Boldaev, Evgeny Mikhailovich
2. Usachev, Artem Alexandrovich
3. Ivonov, Pavel Sergeevich
4. Kulikov, Roman Andreevich
5. Kalinin, Alexander Yuryevich
6. Lomakin, Dmitry Alexandrovich
7. Morkin, Maxim Sergeevich
8. Iskru, Dmirty Viktorovich
9. Pankratov, Alexander Valeryevich
10. Suzdalev, Ivan Mikhailovich
11. Barikin, Alexander Vasilyevich
12. Krasnoslobodtsev, Pavel Vladimirovich
13. Lebezin, Viktor Alexandrovich
14. Chesnokov, Andrey Sergeevich
15. Kovrizhkin, Artur Aretmyevich
16. Vafin, Alexander Alexandrovich
17. Gelashvili, David Gogaevich
18. Stepanov, Alexander Alexandrovich
19. Savelyev, Igor Alexandrovich
20. Tokarev, Konstantin Gennadyevich
21. Ermishin, Nikolay Nikolaevich
22. Plotnikov, Konstantin Konstantinovich
23. Popov, Andrey Anatolyevich
24. Kuzmenko, Grigory Vladimirovich
24. Trifonov, Sergey Sergeevich
All the Article in Russian as of Aug. 31, 2005