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Russian Pirates Against Poverty Occupy St. Petersburg

Russian Pirates Against Poverty Occupy St. Petersburg
Vladislav Litovchenko

ST. PETERBURG – The “Occupy Wall Street” movement of mass rallies that
has spread around the world has mostly missed Russia. Still, a group of
Russian Indignados are finding their own way to protest against
injustice and inequalities.

Unknown perpetrators raised a pirate flag on an administrative building
in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. This followed a similar symbolic assault
on Sunday, when a Jolly Roger was raised on a mast of the Aurora, a
historic cruiser long associated with the Russian Revolution that has
been converted into a museum, and is moored on St. Petersburg’s Neva River.

Responsibility for the Aurora pirate flag was claimed by two activist
groups, “The People’s Share,” and “Food, Not Bombs.” Organizers dubbed
the “boat invasion” “Remember October, or Aurora Sunday,” and was meant
as a protest against poverty. The name makes reference to the fact that
October 17 is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

The group of eight arrived at the Aurora on Sunday evening, and split
into two groups. The first group, who were headed for the first mast,
was stopped by museum employees. But the second group of three people
managed to scale the second mast of the boat and hang the Jolly Roger
flag, as well as a cloth emblazoned with slogans. In spite of rain and a
cold wind, the “occupiers” stayed up on the mast for five hours, talking
to the crowd down below and outlining demands. When they finally came
down, shivering from the frigid conditions, they were immediately taken
to the police station.

No group, political or otherwise, has yet claimed responsibility for the
pirate’s flag on the administrative building. The flag, adorned with a
skull and crossbones, fluttered above the office building for around
three hours before being taken down by authorities.

Those behind the “takeover” of the Aurora presented themselves
immediately, after the prank had been organized on the organization’s
website. “The People’s Share” outfit identifies itself as anarchist.
They did not consider the “pirate attack” a simple prank, but rather a
practical beginning of “political post-modernism.”

So far, eight participants in the demonstration on the cruiser have been
sentenced to administrative arrest or have been fined.