National Sections of the L5I:

Belarus: "Railway partisans" threatened with execution

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In March and April, the Russian army stood at the gates of Kyiv, but Putin's invasion of Ukraine stalled. A few weeks later, Russia had to withdraw from the area around the capital.

Belarusian Resistance
From a military and political point of view, the partial withdrawal was mainly due to the fact that the Russian army was in a much worse position against Ukraine, which had been heavily armed by NATO states for almost eight years, than Moscow had hoped. In addition, Ukraine's resistance was tactically and morally very strong. Russia removed its troops and concentrated them in south eastern Ukraine. So far, so well known.

The German press barely mentioned the resistance in Belarus where rail workers and partisans had disrupted and partially interrupted train traffic and thus military transports to Ukraine. Train drivers refused to serve; points, tracks and switchgear were sabotaged. Now, three of them are threatened with execution: Denis Dikun, Dmitry Rawich and Oleg Molchanov.

Whether or not they are themselves railway workers or other opponents of the war is not entirely clear from the limited reporting, but that is also entirely a secondary matter. The justified resistance was organised hand in hand by railway workers and other militants.

The Lukashenka regime now wants to set an example against those who dared to oppose Russian imperialism, against those who have organised protests and uprisings against the Minsk government in recent years. It is not for nothing that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka extended the use of the death penalty in May to "prepare and attempt an act of terrorism" – a direct response to the sabotage actions on the railway network.

Freedom for political prisoners!
Our solidarity is called for against the reactionary verdicts and the threat of execution of Denis Dikun, Dmitry Ravich and Oleg Molchanov. Leftists and internationalists should hold rallies in front of embassies or consulates and demand the immediate release of all prisoners who resisted the war in Belarus and Russia (and elsewhere).
Equally important is the demand that deserters are not persecuted and that prisoners of war be released.

Resistance and protest against the war is justified. The Belarusian "railway partisans" are role models who became active despite a dictatorial regime and in their resistance expressed and led a struggle against their own government.

We want to underline this in particular because, while the press in Germany declares every protest against the Russian army to be right and just, the protest against NATO is immediately considered Putin friendly. Often comes the inevitable accusation that we are abandoning the Ukrainian people.

We reject this. The NATO states, like Russia, are pursuing their own imperialist, geostrategic goals, as shown by the sanctions policy, but also by the massive rearmament and eastward expansion of the alliance.

Just as we fight these reactionary goals, we also show solidarity, with no ifs and buts, with the resistance against Russian imperialism, which has to fight under much more difficult conditions than we do. Solidarity with the opponents of the war in Russia and Belarus is an internationalist duty of the entire left, the workers' movement and the trade unions. Without this, any opposition to NATO will remain implausible.

The fight of Denis Dikun, Dmitry Ravich and Oleg Molchanov is also our fight! Hail international solidarity!