[For Dion] The life and death of Ivan “Bonecrusher” Khutorskoy

Another anti-fascist has been murdered in Russia.

As always, this post is dedicated to local yuppie Dion & the Melbourne Dumb Punx.

    “No offence but honestly who gives a shit about some skinhead in Russia.” Nowave, Melbourne Punx Forum, October 2008
    “If Russians are so interesting to you, move to Russia.” ~ Fruitsalad, Melbourne Punx Forum, October 2008
    “As I stated on the Bombshell forum Andy, you are a liar, a hypocrite and no better than the trash that you fight against.” ~ Dion, December, 2007
    Anarchy is a fag. Thanx to the people who have supported us… and to the random people letting us know about this anarchist knobjockey Mr Moran.” ~ Chunga (The Worst), September 2007

It’s also dedicated to Justin O’Brien, the Melbourne bonehead and Blood & Honour organiser who apparently wants to kill me.

Source : avtonom.org

Yesterday evening, Monday the 16th of November, 26 year old anti-fascist Ivan “Vanya Kostolom” Khutorskoy was shot to death at the entrance to his home at Khabarovsk street in the east side of Moscow; according to some information with two shots to his head.

Vanya was a great figure in the Russian anti-fascist movement, and I am sure many people will write down their memories of him in the days, months and years to come. But as of today most of his friends are too angry and too shocked, at the loss of this friend and comrade.

My first memories of Vanya are from around 2004. I was running an anarchist distro at a concert in R-Club. By that time I wasn’t going to gigs too often, so most of the faces were unknown to me. It was before the period when after the murder of [Alexander] Sasha Ryukhin Moscow hardcore went completely underground. Thus the concert was openly announced, and you could not be sure who was around. So I was a bit wary of the skinhead crowd, especially this one big guy. But there was no reason to worry, Vanya being there was actually the best guarantee that any trouble would be handled.

I do not know where Vanya got his nickname “Kostolom”, “Bonecrusher”. Maybe it was some kind of joke, as it is hard to imagine a more friendly and humorous guy than Vanya.

Last time I saw Vanya was at the “No surrender” mixed martial arts tournament, organised on the 10th of October this year in Moscow. The tournament was organised in memory of another murdered anti-fascist, Fyodor Filatov. Vanya was the referee, as seen in the photo above. Vanya was well-trained in Sambo, a martial arts developed in [the] Soviet Union which is still popular in the region. He had some success in tournaments and he achieved the degree of Candidate for Master of Sports of Russia. He also competed in arm-wrestling. This was one of the reasons that made him especially feared and hated among Nazis, since they attempt to picture their enemies as weak alcoholics and junkies. Few Nazis could match up to Vanya in a fair fight, this is why they attacked him with razorblades, screwdrivers and knives, and when even that did not work out, with a gun.

Before that my last meeting with him was outside the Ska-P concert last May. None of my friends had enough money to pay 30 euros for a concert of Spanish ska-punkers, but we decided to give out free anti-fascist papers outside. After all, on the concert poster the group was in anti-fascist t-shirts – not a big thing in Spain, but something for which a musician may have to pay with his life in Moscow. Thus handing stuff outside was not any worse than leafleting random people at the street. Vanya and a number of other people were asked to cover us.

The reaction of semi-yuppie clubbers and punks to our papers was mixed – obviously many were there just to party. Then a phone-call – another group of comrades was in trouble a few kilometers south, followed by a larger mob of Nazis. Our cover had to move to clear things out. I had no plans for a fight that evening, but I had little choice – having distributed anti-fascist papers to hundreds of people, going wandering around afterwards alone could [mean I] easily end up with 5 inches of steel between my ribs. So I had to stick with the crew.

We met with the other mob and regrouped. Vanya warned about not attacking as soon as the Nazis were in sight due to the fact that they would figure out that they were outnumbered and just run away and never get caught. But people could not hold themselves back. 100+ meters was way too much distance to close the gap, the Nazis ran to alleys and jumped over some fences – no one was caught. I was in bad shape so I could not run as fast as the rest – Vanya simply didn’t run because he knew it was pointless. So we were left behind the mob with some girls who avoided being in the front-line, and together we took a look around [to see] if any Nazis had hidden in an alley to our side.

Later that evening, another regroup – some asses kicked, some more missed opportunities. But it would be pointless to tell all these stories – while I was an unusual guest, for Vanya beating up Nazis was as routine as waking up in the morning. To tell one of these stories would be to tell nothing, as there are hundreds of them.

Vanya was a common face in the punk scene since the beginning of the century. Anti-antifa websites have large galleries of him, the oldest photos with a mohawk hairstyle. He was not in the first Moscow Antifa generation which got together around spring of 2002, but when he joined up in 2003-2004 he stayed for good.

Sometimes, after such tragedies, there is a kind of sad body-snatching match going on where everyone wants to claim a dead hero – that was the case for example with Stanislav Markelov, who, while still alive was a prankster who told anarchists that he was a social-democrat, and to Trotskyists and Stalinists that he was an anarchist, just to frustrate everyone.

With Vanya, any such post-mortem claims would be a misrepresentation any way you look at it, as every clique and crew in the scene considered him one of their own, and he was respected and loved by absolutely everyone. Vanya considered himself a RASH skinhead, which did not hold back the apolitical and patriotic Moscow Trojan Skinheads from considering him as one of them. Anarchists of course considered Vanya one of the anarchists, and it is true that Vanya had an anti-authoritarian and social position and was always ready to provide security for anarchists events. But he did not live for activism – he lived for the streets and for punk rock.

He was as sharp as a razorblade, and he finished his juridical studies at the Russian State Social University with a “red diploma”, that is a diploma “with excellence” given to students in the region of the former Soviet Union who have almost exclusively the best possible grades. As there are few people with juridical studies in the scene, I had some hopes that Vanya would join the ranks of the activist lawyers when he would retire from street fighting one day – even before he was murdered, Stas Markelov was overwhelmed with legal cases from our movement and had trouble in dealing with them alone. Vanya and Stas knew each other well, and Vanya also provided security to some press-conferences held by Stas. Most recently Vanya worked as a lawyer in the Deti ulitsy center (“Children of the street”), which works with street children and other children with difficulties.

Of course people now ask why he went to his flat that evening, although his address was posted all around in the Nazi websites. Vanya often stayed in other places. Maybe he had some important business with his family, maybe he just spit in the face of death, having survived so many attempts on his life.

Vanya was jumped the first time in 2005 and his head was cut with a razorblade. This incident was recorded with a CCTV camera and used in a TV documentary of NTV channel, which is available online here.

Next time, in the autumn of the same year, they attempted kill him – his neck was punctured 6 times with a sharpened screwdriver, which is a popular weapon among Russian Nazis as it punctures deeper than a knife. Any of these strikes could have been lethal, but miraculously none of them hit arteries and he survived. This incident was also recorded to a CCTV camera, but cops had little interest in investigating and they didn’t even check the recording! It took more than half a year for Vanya to fully recover from this attack.

In January of this year, Vanya was stabbed in his stomach during a street fight, this wound was almost lethal as well but he survived. And now, when everything else failed, Nazis decided to use guns – they finally succeeded.

~ S2W

Vanya’s father died a few years ago, he is survived by his mother and his sister. Donations to support friends and family with funeral costs are welcome. You may use Yandex-money account 41001411894609, or in case you do not know what that is, you may donate through ABC-Moscow. But in this case write to ABC-Moscow about your plans (abc-msk AT riseup DOT net, and also indicate in transfer that it is “for Kostolom friends and family”.

See also : [For Dion] Good riddance to liars, hypocrites and trash (July 17, 2009).

Campaigner against hate crimes killed in Moscow (AP) | Leader of Russian anti-fascist skinheads killed in Moscow (Russia Today) | Russian Anti – Fascist Activist Shot Dead In Moscow (Amie Ferris-Rotman & Charles Dick, New York Times) | Anti-Fascist Activist Shot Dead in Moscow (The Other Russia) | Hate Crime Activist Killed Outside Apartment (The Moscow Times) | Nationalists Suspected in Russian Activist’s Death (New York Times).

Copylefter: “They Killed Vanya”, November 18, 2009 & Antifa and Leftist Activist Ivan Khutorskoi Murdered in Moscow, November 17, 2009 & “National Unity Day”: Antifascists Beaten by Fascists, Then Arrested by Police, November 6, 2009, chtodelat news…

Anti-Fascist Attitude

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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18 Responses to [For Dion] The life and death of Ivan “Bonecrusher” Khutorskoy

  1. @ndy, a little off topic: I don’t know if you or any of your readers read French (I don’t), but I just came across this: http://infokiosques.net/spip.php?article722 / http://www.non-fides.fr/spip.php?article385 – an anarchist attack on anti-fascism, from an “insurrectionary anarchist” perspective, featuring Alfredo Bonanno amongst others. This is part of a larger trend of rejecting anti-fascism within anarchism, and needs countering.

  2. @ndy says:

    I’ve read Bonanno (currently under arrest in Greece for alleged involvement in a bank robbery/expropriation) and Di Giovanni, but not on this subject.

    I know a coupla locals what speak French, but doubt they’d be able/willing to translate — sounds like a job for Not Bored!

    Oh, and I’ve read Barrot on Fascism/Anti-Fascism — I wonder if this mob proceeds in the same manner?

  3. Social Retard says:

    Where in this post does it say that anyone wants to KILL you? http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=8812

    Sure, most nationalists would prefer it if you curled up and died, but so do probably 99% of the people who know you.

  4. @ndy says:

    G’day Retard,

    I’m taking a wild guess.

    “Sure, most nationalists would prefer it if you curled up and died, but so do probably 99% of the people who know you.”

    Now you’ve gone and hurt my feelings.

  5. Paul Justo says:

    ____________________________________________

    Hurray for FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

    FREE SPEECH FOR EVERYONE!

    FREEDOM OF BELIEF FOR EVERYONE!

    Close the Gulags, Release the Political Prisoners.

    For Proletarian Revolution against the Stalinist Misrulers.

    Rebuild the 4th International.

    ____________________________________________

    And the result of all that claptrap is evident in the Russia of today.

  6. @ndy says:

    In reality, the Soviet nomenklatura has simply reconstituted itself as the new, ‘capitalist’, ruling class. After a brief period of being challenged by other segments of the Russian oligarchy — or kleptocracy, depending on your perspective — their rule has been secured by way and via the machinations of (ex-)KGB agent Putin and his cronies. Further, the boneheads, who form one part of a larger, ‘ultra-nationalist’ current, serve as the foot-soldiers in the social wars being prosecuted by Russia’a new rulers, against all oppositional elements (artists, intellectuals, students, workers and their organisations).

  7. @ndy says:

    Antiracists and far-right youths battle in Moscow
    Mansur Mirovalev and Steve Gutterman
    Associated Press

    MOSCOW — A simmering confrontation between far-right youths and ant-racist activists has erupted into Moscow’s streets after the fatal shooting of an anti-racist activist known as the Bonebreaker.

    The violence stems from deep animus between two aggressive camps with starkly different visions of Russia’s future — neo-Nazi skinheads who rank in the tens of thousands and militant anti-racist groups that call themselves Antifa, short for anti-fascist.

    Former punk rocker Ivan Khutorskoi, 26, provided security for meetings of antifascists. He also was known for organizing underground bare-knuckle boxing matches among them, and taking part in violent attacks on ultranationalists.

    Khutorskoi was gunned down in his apartment building on the city’s outskirts Monday night. A day later, dozens of masked men pelted the headquarters of the pro-Kremlin youth group Young Russia with stones, trash and steel rods, Young Russia’s leader said.

    Kremlin critics say Russia’s leadership created Young Russia and similar youth organizations to keep its political opponents in check and provide support, and sometimes muscle, on the streets. Anti-racist groups claim they have close ties with the ultranationalists they call fascists or Nazis.

    Nobody was hurt in the attack late Tuesday on the office of Young Russia. But its message, delivered first with projectiles and then over the Internet, seemed clear.

    “If no one but us tries to stop Nazis and those who provide cover for them, we will act by all means necessary,” blogger Anarcho Punk wrote Wednesday. Other anti-racist bloggers said the attack was retaliation for what they claimed were the group’s links to Russian neo-Nazis. They “dedicated” the assault to their leader, Khutorskoi — an outsized figure and a role model among antifascists, who say he had survived three previous assassination attempts. He was shot twice in the back of the head near the door to his apartment on Moscow’s eastern outskirts, police said.

    Khutorskoi sometimes provided security at press conferences of Stanislav Markelov, a human rights lawyer hated by ultranationalists — but not at the one last January after which Markelov and a journalist were fatally shot on the street.

    Antifa groups have been rapidly adding to their ranks in Russia in recent years, said Galina Kozhevnikova, the director of Sova, a respected independent hate-crime watchdog monitoring group. She said their ideology attracts leftist-minded youth and people concerned about persistent hate crimes and xenophobia in today’s Russia.

    “The army of ultranationalists is definitely bigger, as the movement is much older,” Kozhevnikova said.

    Pro-Kremlin youth groups like Young Russia are also a significant force. Experts believe their emergence was a Kremlin response to the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, where youth groups played a key role in street protests that ushered a pro-Western presidential candidate to power.

    Young Russia is known for street rallies and pranks against anti-Kremlin politicians. The group has also been involved in attacks on anti-government protesters and opposition youth activists.

    Young Russia’s leader, Maxim Mishchenko, said about 80 masked men attacked the office in central Moscow. A 22-year old attacker was seized by Young Russia activists and handed over to police, he said.

    Anti-fascist bloggers claimed Mishchenko, a Russian parliament member with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, has close ties with Russky Obraz, a radical ultranationalist group that antiracists claim was behind Khutorskoi’s killing.

    Mishchenko denied the allegations, calling them “as absolute lie.”

    A spokesman for Russky Obraz, Yevgeny Valayev, told The Associated Press that the group had “no Kremlin-appointed supervisors” but had cooperated with Mishchenko on several initiatives, including an extreme nationalist march in Moscow early this month.

  8. Paul Justo says:

    “In reality, the Soviet nomenklatura has simply reconstituted itself as the new, ‘capitalist’, ruling class.”

    The revisionists from Khruschev through to Gorbachev undermined socialism by degrees. But revisionism was not in itself capitalism. For capitalism to exist the old state with all it’s socialist laws outlawing fascism, racism, anti-semitism etc had to be destroyed.

    Yeltsin was the harbinger of capitalism. The Red Flag was hauled down to be replaced with the flag of Russian nationalism – and that opened the floodgates.

  9. @ndy says:

    What was the nature of the Soviet Union?

    You appear to believe that it was a ‘socialist’ regime, and that its socialist essence may be understood by reference to elements of its legal superstructure (which supposedly outlawed things like ‘fascism’, ‘racism’ and ‘anti-Semitism’).

    I do not.

    Nor do I believe that the Soviet Union was not, in many respects, ‘fascist’, ‘racist’, ‘anti-Semitic’ or even — or perhaps especially — ‘nationalist’. Further, I do believe that ‘Soviet Marxism’ — the Official Ideology of the Soviet Union — was a crock.

    In summary: the Soviet Union was not ‘socialist’, unless by ‘socialism’ one means state tyranny.

    See:

    What was the USSR? Part 1: Trotsky and State Capitalism
    What was the USSR? Part II: Russia as a Non-mode of Production
    What was the USSR? Part III
    What was the USSR (Part IV)? Towards a Theory of the Deformation of Value

    Also:

    The Radical Tradition: A Study in Modern Revolutionary Thought (Richard Gombin)

  10. lumpnboy says:

    The situation in Russia sounds more desperate and awful the more I hear, but it is hard to know what everyday existence is really like in the cities. I’d never heard of Khutorskoi before, though I’d heard of that lawyer he apparently used to provide security for sometimes. The fact that anyone remotely critical – of either the racist rightists on the streets or the current inhabitants of the state – have to seriously think about personal safety on a daily basis certainly raises the stakes for political commitments. But Khutorskoi sounds like he was amazing. And very manly.

  11. Paul Justo says:

    Andy wrote –

    “…reference to elements of its legal superstructure (which supposedly outlawed things like ‘fascism’, ‘racism’ and ‘anti-Semitism’).”
    _________________________________________________________________

    “Anti-Semitism, as an extreme form of racial chauvinism, is the most dangerous vestige of cannibalism.

    Anti-Semitism is of advantage to the exploiters as a lightening conductor that deflects the blows aimed by the working people at capitalism. Anti-Semitism is dangerous for the working people as being a false path that leads them off the right road and lands them in the jungle. Hence Communists, as consistent internationalists, cannot but be irreconcilable, sworn enemies of anti-Semitism.

    In the USSR anti-Semitism is punishable with the utmost severity of the law as a phenomenon deeply hostile to the Soviet system”.

    (J.V. Stalin: “Anti-Semitism”, in: “Works”, Volume 13; Moscow; 1955; p. 30).

    __________________________________________________________________

  12. @ndy says:

    lumpnboy,

    I imagine everyday life in Russian cities varies a great deal depending on a person’s economic situation and social standing. Beyond this, the extent of economic and social inequality is enormous; political life is very tightly controlled; the media almost completely dominated by the Russian state and its allies.

    Markelov was murdered in January alongside of the journalist Anastasiya Baburova. He was a lawyer noted, among other things, for his role in bringing charges against an officer accused of war crimes in Chechnya. Such crimes, which she documented, also appears to have been one of the motivating factors in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya in October 2006 (whom Markelov represented in court). Baburova was younger than Politkovskaya, and less well-known: she worked for the same paper (Novaya gazeta). Ilya Borodaenko was murdered in July 2007 by boneheads while taking part in a protest camp near Angarsk, and close to a uranium enrichment facility. The facility will be used to ‘recycle’ Australian uranium in a deal signed off by Howard and Putin at the APEC summit in 2007.

    I gots lotsa other blah on the blog, but otherwise, some good sources of infos are:

    I also recommend you watch the Anti-Fascist Attitude doco if you haven’t already. It features Markelov several months before he was murdered. (And there’s a few more, state-sponsored docos available for viewing on YouTube and elsewhere which are worthwhile, including at least one produced by the ABC.)

  13. (A)dam says:

    Rest In Peace mate

  14. (A)dam says:

    me and steph found a memorial for vanya in an antifa (good) neighbourhood of east berlin, re lit candles and took some fotos for your piece … check your email (the one you have listed as a contact and have emailed me from before, if it’s not active email me and i’ll re send)

  15. @ndy says:

    Cheers (A)dam, I’ve written you from an alternate address.

  16. @ndy says:

    On Stalin and anti-Semitism, see Simon Sebag Montefiore.

  17. Pingback: Neo-Nazi sites hacked… again! | slackbastard

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