Monday, January 17, 2022

"Every anti-communist is a dog" — Russian communist is persecuted for quoting Sartre!

Filippov's post in 2017.
A spectre is still haunting capitalist Russia – the spectre of communism. According to Russian news sites, Alexei Filippov, a member of the Communist Party in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) was charged for “inciting hatred” because he published in social media a quote by French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.

More specifically, the reason for the prosecution was a post by Filippov on Russian social media platform Vkontakte in April 2017, with a photo Sartre and the quote “Every anti-communist is a bastard”. 
The St. Petersburg University Center for Expertise concluded that the post... “contains signs of humilitation of a person's dignity based on political, ideological hatred or enmity”!

The whole story was published by Alexander Rogoshkin, a comrade of Filippov in the Communist Party. As Rogoshkin wrote, the prosecutor's office could not find such quotation in the works of Sartre published in Russia, thus attributing the quote to Filippov! According to the "The Insider" news site, in 2020 the office of the prosecutor asked from authorities of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs to identify all the persons who published the quote on social networks. The research came up with 28 people in Russia and another 15 abroad.

The prosecution is taking place under Article 20.3.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses. However, Filippov's lawyer Tatyana Dyachkova dismisses the accusation as legally groundless: “The article refers to actions aimed at inciting hatred or enmity, as well as to humiliate the dignity of a person or a group of persons on the basis of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, attitude to religion, as well as belonging to any social group”, sais Dyachkova to "The Insider", adding that political views do not classify a person as social group and that the article does not contain an expansive interpretation.

According to Rogoshkin, the authorities, unable to find the author of the quote, attributed it to Filippov simply because he is a Communist Party member.

The quote by Sartre (who in fact was not a communist) is included in his work “Maurice Merleau-Ponty is alive”, which he wrote after the death of his friend. The original phrase in French reads: “Tout anticommuniste est un chien”, which literally means “Every anti-communist is a dog”. Are the Russian authorities lost in translation or they simply search for a pretext in order to persecute communists?

“This is a scientific quote”, says Tatyana Dyachkova and adds: “I asked the prosecutors office how is it possible to prosecute a person for a quote that is not included in the list of extremist materials and I didn't receive an answer”.

Seems that the Russian authorities are seeking all possible ways – direct and indirect - to criminalize communist ideology and set obstacles to the activity of the communists who challenge capitalist dominance in the country.

In any case, the quote, no matter who actually wrote it, is utterly successful in its meaning: “Tout anticommuniste est un chien!”