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17.11.2008 | Halya Coynash

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In Irkutsk (Siberia) on 8 October they killed a sixteen-year-old girl. Beat her to death. She was wearing red shoelaces. Olya didn’t belong to the anti-skinhead movement “Antifa”, but she wore the same red shoelaces.  She had “the right” skin colour, no problems with the shape of her nose. She wasn’t disabled or an immigrant. I could continue the list, but there’s no point.  For those assailants the “wrong” shoelaces were sufficient. A year earlier, just outside Irkutsk, they killed a young man taking part in an environmental camp. “The wrong” friends, “the wrong” interests….

They always find something to beat people up for, to kill. And who to go for. Hitler found them – Jews, Gypsies, the mentally ill, the disabled, and all those “not right”. He was planning incidentally to get onto Slavs after murdering all the Jews. Stalin also found those who weren’t “right” – and how!  My relatives were among those who were “wrong”, the reader’s perhaps also.

I read an article “On correct and incorrect skinheads” and particularly noticed Oleh’s words about how he can always find “his” comrades in Odessa or any other new city. It sounds good. Purely theoretically, of course, since I can’t and never could, although I have the “right” skin colour, nose, sexual orientation, etc.  Yet I’m still an outsider and those guys know it alright.  In fact they all know it, all those who divide the world into their people and others.

Perhaps Oleh or somebody else can explain just what it is exactly that “in the most difficult moments for the group they can unite as one whole” over. Over the fact, as he puts it, that “skinheads are feared and respected”?  I seriously don’t understand. That they’re feared, yes – who the hell isn’t frightened of a bunch of louts who can attack one young girl, or even a strong young guy?!  Yet who could respect them?

As far as “correct and incorrect skinheads” are concerned, I also have problems. More accurately, I can’t disagree with Yury who writes that “the incorrect ones are those who drink vodka and go on about the white race and uniting with the moskali [a moderately derogatory term for Russians]”. I do have doubts about the “correct” ones. You can be a patriot and not be a skinhead, but how can a skinhead be a real patriot when there are Ukrainians who don’t “suit” – because of their skin colour, their religious beliefs, their sexual orientation? When the skinheads think that you can beat up those “others” and the range of “others”, not “their people” is incredibly broad. When on 20 April they celebrate the birthday of a monster. And how they celebrate it, heroic stuff! Young girls, lads, even the elderly who don’t “look Slavonic” are frightened to go out on the street!

One more question. Can you really call skinheads “neformaly” [informal groups]. I always thought that neformaly are people who don’t want to wear the same clothes as others, listen to the same boring music, and think like everybody else. Yet skinheads don’t like one lot of people, a second, a third, because they’re different, not like them.

What a colourless world you have – it’s not only your clothes that are dark, without shades, without diversity. Violence alone while life is immeasurably richer.

Halya Coynash

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