Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > Russia

Reported by the Russian ALF-SG:

The History of the Russian Animal Liberation Front

First actions of the Russian Animal Liberation Front (RALF) took place in the south of the country in 2000. In Krasnodar region and Republic of Adigeya, organizations responsible for exploitation and killing of animals began to be regularly attacked. The walls of the administrative building of the Sochi meat producing plant were decorated with slogans of protest several times. "Corpse carrier" and other signs were written on the vehicles of this plant. Sochi meat plant is the largest supplier of products of animal killing in the south of Russia. In July 2001, protest slogans with abbreviation "A.L.F." appeared on the walls of the company representing Sochi meat plant in the port of Novorossiysk. Also in Novorossiysk, a bucket of black paint was dumped on the stand advertising products of the local meat plant.

In July 2002 in the popular Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, several protest slogans appeared on the walls and advertising stands of the city circus. One of the slogans stated: "Circus is a chamber of tortures!" The face of the clown on an advert stand was decorated with blood color eyes and blood streaming from the mouth.

At the same time, protest slogans in red paint appeared on one of the advertising stands of the largest fur shop in Sochi. Another fur advertising stand was half-burnt. The communiqué sent afterwards confirmed that the action was carried out by the activist of the RALF. It was said in their communique that the fur advert would have burnt down completely if the fire brigade didn't happen to be nearby. The furs shop itself was also attacked. Many slogans of protest against fur industry were spray-painted on the front of the shop.

The summer of 2002 was marked by the destruction of 70 advert posters, and two stands disappeared from travelling exhibit of exotic animals in Lazarevsky and Adlersky districts of Sochi. At the same time, several slogans appeared on the walls of the Utrish dolphinarium (near Anapa) and on the road sign leading to it. They read: "Dolphinarium is a prison!", "Freedom to Animals" etc. On 1 August 2002 in Maykop, the capital of the republic of Adigeya, the travelling Rostov Zoo was attacked. Many protest slogans were spray-painted on the walls off animal cages.

On 12 July 2003 a RALF Supporters Group (RALF SG) began its work by opening a website "Earth and Animals Liberation" and by printing a series of leaflets and stickers.

On the night of 2-3 September 2003, for the first time in the capital of Russia two fur and one hunting shops were attacked. It's worth noting that one of these shops is situated in the building of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation. This Ministry more than any other state structure is responsible for animal abuse in Russia.

When RALF members were painting the shop windows with protest slogans, the shop guard slept soundly on the sofa on the other side of the windows. RALF SG received a communique, which says addressing animal abusers: "You need to remember that we will continue causing economic damage to the animal killers, until they stop their bloody business. Nothing will stop us."

From September 2003 till May 2004, 18 more shops (meat, fur and hunting) were attacked in Moscow. On New Years Eve of 2004 and afterwards RALF activists several times spray-painted protest slogans on "The Diplomat Hunting Club".

RALF members use the Internet in their actions. They found a way to break into the pager of Sochi circus director, who received a thousand messages urging him to stop animal abuse. In 2001 a guest book of the Russian-language website in support of corrida was broken into. At the end of 2003 action against Huntingdon Life Sciences was carried out. 100,000 protest messages were sent to the e-mail addresses of its employees every 24 hours.

At the very initial stages of actions only economic sabotage was practiced, but no animals were set free. On World Day for Animals in Laboratories, RALF SG received a message that some animals were liberated. On 21 April 2004 RALF activists managed to get into the laboratory of the institute named after Anokhin, Russian Medical Academy. They freed 119 frogs and their eggs. Slogans spray-painted on the walls stated: "We Freed These Animals! Now They Will See the Sun!", "Vivisection has No Justification!" etc. All frogs and their eggs were taken to the wetland outside the city.

The news about the next action followed quickly. On 8 May 2004, 110 rats and 5 rabbits disappeared from the laboratory of Moscow State University Biological Department. These animals were used in experiments against alcoholism and drugs. Rats were fed drugs and alcohol, and rabbits had electrodes inserted in their heads.

When vivisectors came to work, they found the doors of their laboratory, all animal cages and equipment broken. The walls of the lab were decorated with signs which read: "No Experiments on Animals!", "Shame on Vivisection!" etc.

Communique released a few days later confirmed that the action was carried out by the RALF. It said that not a single animal was left in the lab and that all of them are now safe in good homes.

Lab employees and militia people could not figure out how animal liberators got into the building and left it with all the animals without being noticed.

20 days after the event, RALF activists decided to visit the lab again. Their goal was to see whether there were any new animals in the lab. First they found a new door, this time a metal one with security camera. RALF activists broke the door and got into the lab. There were no animals inside.

Clearly these actions are only a beginning of a bigger movement of animal liberation in Russia. More frequently RALF is mentioned in media. One can see stickers with slogans "Direct action? Just Do It!", "Who will protect them, if not you?". And also graffiti calling to stop cruelty towards animals.

RALF SG continuously updates its website with the information about direct action in defense of animal rights all around the world. The website gives recommendations on safety and access to multimedia files with possibility to download them. One can find out how to help A.L.F. activists including those who are imprisoned. On the territory of Russia at present no animal liberators, or Earth liberators activists are imprisoned.

From Oct 2003 until May 2004, RALF SG circulated 25 issues of updates. In addition to information about A.L.F. there are periodic materials on Earth liberation and actions towards it.

... and it is just a beginning!

Contact details:

Russian Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group (RALF SG),
Website: aeliberation.net (in Russian language)
E-mail: aeliberationnet@hotmail.com