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Interview with a representative of the Anti-War Committee of Sweden

August 8, 2023 17:40
Anti-War Committee of Sweden

Today we have with us Alexey, a representative of the Anti-War Committee of Sweden from Stockholm.

- Hello, Alexey.  We would like to ask you a few questions about your organization.

- When was RAW formed, by whom, and for what reason?

- Antikrigskommiten i Sverige was registered in May of 2022 by a group of Russians living mostly in Stockholm. The core of the group consisted of people with some experience in anti-Putin or other political protests. The overall idea was to provide voice and representation to Russian citizens residing in Sweden who oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And, well, to do something about what is happening.

- How many supporters do you have currently?

- We are a registered NGO with about 80 members. Counting the exact number of supporters can be a tricky thing, but we have several thousand people who follow us on various social media platforms.

- What kind of events does the committee organize, and how can one join you?

- As a grassroots political organization we are a jack–of-all-trades - we organize protests and public performances, donation campaigns, lectures, produce media and education content and conduct investigations - overall we do whatever we can to support Russian democratic movements and Ukraine and to oppose putin’s regime.  You could join us by filling the form that is available on our web site and paying a membership fee. You could also talk to us at our events - we post announcements in Telegram(Russian only), Facebook and Instagram.

- How can people financially support RAW?

- We accept donations via Swish(Swedish instant payment system) on +1236953236.

 - Where can we follow your activities on social media?

- We have Telegram (Russian only), Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Youtube channels.

- We noticed that your organization appeared on the list of undesirable organizations in Russia; has this had any impact on your work?

- The laws regulating “undesirable” organizations apply mostly to operating on Russian soil, which was not something that we did. Of course in the age of the internet this line becomes blurry. It does pose some risks for our activists, should they try to visit their families in Russia and it does affect our recruitment messaging. On the other hand, both the “undesirable” and “foreign agent” statuses do mark organizations as doing something meaningful nowadays.

- What event do you consider the most significant in the past year?

- It’s hard to select one that is more important than others.  If we are talking about pure monetary value, the “Disaster day” installation with the destroyed Russian tank in front of a Russian embassy has gathered the most donations. Since our goals include spreading the information about the Russian anti war movement, anything that draws people’s attention has a huge impact. Both “No blood for oil” and “Anti war Maslenitsa” as well as our other demonstrations serve these purposes. We have also released a series of videos covering the topics pertaining to the anti war movement and dispelling Russian propaganda myths. Helping individuals is no less important. The donation campaigns, our charity Christmas party, and even organizing writing letters to political prisoners - all of it leaves an impact on someone’s life. Another field of our activities has to do with investigating and counteracting Kremlin-run operations in Sweden. Here, our biggest success was shutting down cooperation between Kremlin-sponsored pro-war organization Rurik and ABF(one of the biggest education associations in Sweden)

 - Does the committee engage in volunteering or provide assistance to those in need?

- During the first stages of full scale invasion and subsequent wave of refugees, we were heavily involved in helping Ukrainians fleeing to Sweden. Together with Help in change we ran a campaign “200 suitcases = 200 families” during which we have provided 200 families with clothes as well as other necessities. We have organized a telegram group that helped people with transportation on arrival, which is still active today. We have created an instruction for refugees, which you can see at the Ark’s website. We have also run a campaign to help some Russian citizens fleeing from conscription. A lot of our members, including me, participate also in various humanitarian initiatives as private individuals.

 - Have representatives of the committee participated in European democratic initiatives?

- We participated in various conferences including, but not limited to, “The Congress of Antiwar Initiatives”, “The Free Russia Forum” and, of course, “The Day After” conference.

 - What is the committee's current focus?

- We are working on several projects, including new videos, new protests and a street exhibition. You can follow the updates on our social media!

 - Alexey, is there anything you would like to say to our readers? 

- I’d like to thank them for the interest they are showing in a fight for human rights and democracy in Russia.

 - We thank you for providing detailed information about the work of the Anti-War Committee of Sweden, and we hope that the number of your supporters will continue to grow steadily, leading to new powerful initiatives, actions, and rallies.

The interview was conducted by Olga Rogachevskikh.

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