“The FSB is the Main Terrorist”
Азат Мифтахов После Медиа
Azat Miftakhov delivered a сlosing statement at his trial in Ekaterinburg

This spring, mathematician and anarchist Azat Miftakhov was convicted on fabricated charges for the second time. After serving four years in prison for allegedly breaking the window of the United Russia office, the young man was charged again right when he was released from prison: authoroties allege that he had “condoned terrorism” while in confinement. After hearing the witnesses, some of whom are inmates and some of whom have not been revealed, the prosecution demanded a sentense of three years’ imprisonment for Azat. After Miftakhov’s closing statement, the judge decided to give him an extra year.

Formally, this case is not an anti-war one. But we know that while Azat was in the colony he dissuaded people from joining the Russian army. He also refused to participate in patriotic parades on May 9. When Azat spoke at the final hearing of the second case on March 29, 2024 in Yekaterinburg, he dedicated half of his address to his comrade who fought on the side of Ukraine and died defending Bakhmut.

We may assume that, like many anti-war activists, Azat will only be released when a fundamental transformation of the Kremlin regime begins. Realizing this perfectly well, he delivered his closing speech, which in itself became a political and activist gesture.

***

During the years I was imprisoned on the charges in a previous criminal case, I never did develop a burning love for the state, and now I again find myself in the dock. I am now on trial for what the security forces have deigned to call “condoning terrorism,” and they are falsifying the evidence, just like they did five years ago. The conspicuousness and brazenness with which they fake evidence doesn’t embarrass them. It even plays into their hands. It’s like they’re telling us, “It’s no trouble for us to put anyone away.”

We see the same brazenness in the numerous incidents of barbarous torture perpetrated by the regime’s guardians, the FSB. These guardians don’t care that their shameful deeds are made public. On the contrary, these deeds are flaunted as a source of pride. In this way, the state shows its terrorist nature, something anarchists pointed out before the previous presidential election when they took to the streets with the slogan, “The FSB is the main terrorist.”

What we were saying back then has now become evident not only in our country but all over the world. We see how the [Russian] state’s entire foreign and domestic policy has become a conveyor belt of murder and intimidation. While fake witnesses attempt to prove the charges that I “condoned terrorism,” national TV channels broadcast calls for the mass murder of people who disagree with state policy. We see that the state, while paying lip service to combating terrorism, in fact seeks to maintain its monopoly on terror.

No matter how the Chekists try to intimidate civil society, we see even in these dark times people who find the courage to resist the terror that has spilled over the state’s borders. Risking their freedom and their lives, their actions awaken our society’s conscience, whose lack we now feel so acutely, and their steadfastness to the bitter end stands as an example for us all.

One such example for me was my friend and comrade Dmitry Petrov (aka Dima the Ecologist), who died defending Bakhmut from soldiers who had become tools of imperialism. I knew him as a fiery anarchist who, amidst a dictatorship, did everything he could to lead us to a society based on the principles of mutual aid and direct democracy.

As a graduate of the history program at Moscow State University and a PhD in history, he was well versed in the structure of society and was able to argue his position well, something I had always lacked. And yet he was not limited to theorizing but was also heavily involved in organizing the guerrilla movement, which did not escape the FSB’s notice. Because of this, he was forced to continue his work as an anarchist in Ukraine.

When the grim events of the last two years kicked off, he could not stay on the sidelines. An enterprising comrade, he sought to create an association of libertarian-minded people who would fight for the freedom of the peoples of Ukraine and Russia. Unfortunately, no war is without casualties, and Dima was one of them. It would be unjustifiably selfish of me to admire the selflessness of strangers alone and not to acknowledge the sacrifice of those who are personally dear to me. I am well aware of this, despite my regret that all my interactions with him are now irrevocably a thing of the past.

And yet I find it hard to accept this loss. Knowing that he was one of the best of us, and wanting to do my best to ensure his sacrifice was not in vain, I have to recognize that my contribution will be insignificant compared to what he was capable of.

What I’ve just said was perhaps unexpected for some people. I cannot rule out that some of my supporters could be disappointed, as I find it difficult, to my own regret, to speak out publicly. Perhaps someone will disagree with my beliefs, which are at odds with pacifism.

Striving to be rational about everything, however, I reject a belief in things whose existence has not been proven. Among other things, I do not believe in the world’s justice. I do not believe that all evil will be punished as a matter of course. That’s why I support vigorously resisting evil and fighting for a better world for all of us.

But even if some of my supporters do not share all of my beliefs, I am still grateful for all of their help.

I am grateful to everyone who has written me letters full of warmth and good wishes. Even amidst the desolation of the penal colony, I received stacks of them almost every week. I am certain that such great attention to me was taken into consideration by the people who set out to make me submissive. I find it quite pleasant and touching that people share a part of their lives with me, whether the experiences are joyful or sad. Every letter is very dear to my heart, and I read every single one of them.

Many thanks to all those who have supported me financially. Thanks to them, I have never lacked anything during all the years of my imprisonment. There have been times when I have run out of money to support myself, but as soon as I put out a call for help, within a few days, people who cared about me brought my budget back to a comfortable level. This is very pleasant and impossible to forget. Special thanks to Vladimir Akimenkov, who, for more than ten years, has been organizing fundraisers to support political prisoners, including me.

I am extremely grateful to the activists at the FreeAzat and Solidarité FreeAzat collectives, who have organized campaigns and events in solidarity with me on a scale which boggles my mind. Your recent “1001 Letters” campaign was one of them. After reading all those letters, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that people in dozens of different countries are concerned about me. Thank you very much to everyone who was involved in this campaign, thus showing me how much you support me.

I am extremely grateful to mathematicians all over the world, and specifically to the Azat Miftakhov Committee, for supporting me on behalf of the mathematical community. I am very touched that people to whom I look up, whose scholarly prowess I dream of achieving someday, know about me and voice their solidarity.

Thank you very much to everyone who has spoken publicly about me. And special thanks to Mikhail Lobanov, who was forced to emigrate to France for vigorously supporting me. But even there, despite all the difficulties of exile, his solidarity with me has been as strong as ever.

Many thanks to the Russian activists, including those who don’t belong to collectives mentioned above, who have risked their comfort by showing solidarity with me while living under a dictatorship. I am very grateful to all who came to support me with their presence by attending the trial. Some of you traveled hundreds of kilometers for this purpose, and some of you did it more than once and more than twice. I was once again pleasantly surprised by such a huge attention to me.

Many thanks to all the honest members of the press who, through their work, have been helping the public to follow my trial.

I thank my defense counsel, Svetlana Sidorkina, for her dedication in defending me at my trials. I never cease to admire her professionalism and I am convinced that I am very lucky to have her. Finally, I would like to thank Lena, my main support in my tribulations. She has helped me through her dedication to overcoming all the difficulties of my imprisonment. On top of that, I am blessed to be in love with her.

As I finish my acknowledgements, I am left with the feeling that someone may have been overlooked. This is a consequence of the tremendous, steady support I have received since the moment of my arrest. I am pleased to see I am not the only one who has been the object of your support — that, despite the dark events of recent years, your solidarity knows no territorial boundaries. This is what gives me hope for a bright future for all of us.Translated by the Russian Reader

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“The FSB is the Main Terrorist”
Азат Мифтахов После Медиа
Azat Miftakhov delivered a сlosing statement at his trial in Ekaterinburg

This spring, mathematician and anarchist Azat Miftakhov was convicted on fabricated charges for the second time. After serving four years in prison for allegedly breaking the window of the United Russia office, the young man was charged again right when he was released from prison: authoroties allege that he had “condoned terrorism” while in confinement. After hearing the witnesses, some of whom are inmates and some of whom have not been revealed, the prosecution demanded a sentense of three years’ imprisonment for Azat. After Miftakhov’s closing statement, the judge decided to give him an extra year.

Formally, this case is not an anti-war one. But we know that while Azat was in the colony he dissuaded people from joining the Russian army. He also refused to participate in patriotic parades on May 9. When Azat spoke at the final hearing of the second case on March 29, 2024 in Yekaterinburg, he dedicated half of his address to his comrade who fought on the side of Ukraine and died defending Bakhmut.

We may assume that, like many anti-war activists, Azat will only be released when a fundamental transformation of the Kremlin regime begins. Realizing this perfectly well, he delivered his closing speech, which in itself became a political and activist gesture.

***

During the years I was imprisoned on the charges in a previous criminal case, I never did develop a burning love for the state, and now I again find myself in the dock. I am now on trial for what the security forces have deigned to call “condoning terrorism,” and they are falsifying the evidence, just like they did five years ago. The conspicuousness and brazenness with which they fake evidence doesn’t embarrass them. It even plays into their hands. It’s like they’re telling us, “It’s no trouble for us to put anyone away.”

We see the same brazenness in the numerous incidents of barbarous torture perpetrated by the regime’s guardians, the FSB. These guardians don’t care that their shameful deeds are made public. On the contrary, these deeds are flaunted as a source of pride. In this way, the state shows its terrorist nature, something anarchists pointed out before the previous presidential election when they took to the streets with the slogan, “The FSB is the main terrorist.”

What we were saying back then has now become evident not only in our country but all over the world. We see how the [Russian] state’s entire foreign and domestic policy has become a conveyor belt of murder and intimidation. While fake witnesses attempt to prove the charges that I “condoned terrorism,” national TV channels broadcast calls for the mass murder of people who disagree with state policy. We see that the state, while paying lip service to combating terrorism, in fact seeks to maintain its monopoly on terror.

No matter how the Chekists try to intimidate civil society, we see even in these dark times people who find the courage to resist the terror that has spilled over the state’s borders. Risking their freedom and their lives, their actions awaken our society’s conscience, whose lack we now feel so acutely, and their steadfastness to the bitter end stands as an example for us all.

One such example for me was my friend and comrade Dmitry Petrov (aka Dima the Ecologist), who died defending Bakhmut from soldiers who had become tools of imperialism. I knew him as a fiery anarchist who, amidst a dictatorship, did everything he could to lead us to a society based on the principles of mutual aid and direct democracy.

As a graduate of the history program at Moscow State University and a PhD in history, he was well versed in the structure of society and was able to argue his position well, something I had always lacked. And yet he was not limited to theorizing but was also heavily involved in organizing the guerrilla movement, which did not escape the FSB’s notice. Because of this, he was forced to continue his work as an anarchist in Ukraine.

When the grim events of the last two years kicked off, he could not stay on the sidelines. An enterprising comrade, he sought to create an association of libertarian-minded people who would fight for the freedom of the peoples of Ukraine and Russia. Unfortunately, no war is without casualties, and Dima was one of them. It would be unjustifiably selfish of me to admire the selflessness of strangers alone and not to acknowledge the sacrifice of those who are personally dear to me. I am well aware of this, despite my regret that all my interactions with him are now irrevocably a thing of the past.

And yet I find it hard to accept this loss. Knowing that he was one of the best of us, and wanting to do my best to ensure his sacrifice was not in vain, I have to recognize that my contribution will be insignificant compared to what he was capable of.

What I’ve just said was perhaps unexpected for some people. I cannot rule out that some of my supporters could be disappointed, as I find it difficult, to my own regret, to speak out publicly. Perhaps someone will disagree with my beliefs, which are at odds with pacifism.

Striving to be rational about everything, however, I reject a belief in things whose existence has not been proven. Among other things, I do not believe in the world’s justice. I do not believe that all evil will be punished as a matter of course. That’s why I support vigorously resisting evil and fighting for a better world for all of us.

But even if some of my supporters do not share all of my beliefs, I am still grateful for all of their help.

I am grateful to everyone who has written me letters full of warmth and good wishes. Even amidst the desolation of the penal colony, I received stacks of them almost every week. I am certain that such great attention to me was taken into consideration by the people who set out to make me submissive. I find it quite pleasant and touching that people share a part of their lives with me, whether the experiences are joyful or sad. Every letter is very dear to my heart, and I read every single one of them.

Many thanks to all those who have supported me financially. Thanks to them, I have never lacked anything during all the years of my imprisonment. There have been times when I have run out of money to support myself, but as soon as I put out a call for help, within a few days, people who cared about me brought my budget back to a comfortable level. This is very pleasant and impossible to forget. Special thanks to Vladimir Akimenkov, who, for more than ten years, has been organizing fundraisers to support political prisoners, including me.

I am extremely grateful to the activists at the FreeAzat and Solidarité FreeAzat collectives, who have organized campaigns and events in solidarity with me on a scale which boggles my mind. Your recent “1001 Letters” campaign was one of them. After reading all those letters, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that people in dozens of different countries are concerned about me. Thank you very much to everyone who was involved in this campaign, thus showing me how much you support me.

I am extremely grateful to mathematicians all over the world, and specifically to the Azat Miftakhov Committee, for supporting me on behalf of the mathematical community. I am very touched that people to whom I look up, whose scholarly prowess I dream of achieving someday, know about me and voice their solidarity.

Thank you very much to everyone who has spoken publicly about me. And special thanks to Mikhail Lobanov, who was forced to emigrate to France for vigorously supporting me. But even there, despite all the difficulties of exile, his solidarity with me has been as strong as ever.

Many thanks to the Russian activists, including those who don’t belong to collectives mentioned above, who have risked their comfort by showing solidarity with me while living under a dictatorship. I am very grateful to all who came to support me with their presence by attending the trial. Some of you traveled hundreds of kilometers for this purpose, and some of you did it more than once and more than twice. I was once again pleasantly surprised by such a huge attention to me.

Many thanks to all the honest members of the press who, through their work, have been helping the public to follow my trial.

I thank my defense counsel, Svetlana Sidorkina, for her dedication in defending me at my trials. I never cease to admire her professionalism and I am convinced that I am very lucky to have her. Finally, I would like to thank Lena, my main support in my tribulations. She has helped me through her dedication to overcoming all the difficulties of my imprisonment. On top of that, I am blessed to be in love with her.

As I finish my acknowledgements, I am left with the feeling that someone may have been overlooked. This is a consequence of the tremendous, steady support I have received since the moment of my arrest. I am pleased to see I am not the only one who has been the object of your support — that, despite the dark events of recent years, your solidarity knows no territorial boundaries. This is what gives me hope for a bright future for all of us.Translated by the Russian Reader

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