menu close-menu

This is Anton Kravtsov, editor-in-chief of DIY media No Future. Anton left Russia for Germany because of the war and mobilisation – and it is simply impossible to deal with such media in Mordor now: either they will kill you, put you in a bottle, or something else. We talked to him about “Russian World”, the so-called Z-anti-facism, and why “propaganda works like hell” in Russia.

– Hi, introduce yourself? Tell us about your line of work?

– Hi, I’m Anton Kravtsov, I’m the editor-in-chief and publisher of DIY media No Future. I left Russia when the war and mobilisation started, now I’m in Germany. I left because at some point it became almost impossible to do media in Russia – you’d either be killed, bottled up, or imprisoned.

– Tell us about your attitude to the war in Ukraine? What was the reason for the invasion in your opinion?

– It is difficult to name the reasons for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, unless, of course, you listen to what the propaganda media, Putin and other officials say. Everything is easy and understandable for them. But we in general cannot believe these guys. If we talk about objective reasons, it is difficult to name them. We can argue only in the plane of speculation and assumptions. In my opinion, Putin’s aggression is his unprocessed grievances. It looks like the dude was bullied as a child, he didn’t enjoy authority in the company of the gang, maybe he was beaten by some boys from Ukraine… I don’t know how his childhood turned out, but that boy grew up to be this “bald” grandfather, who is now getting his revenge. Little Ukraine, which finds it difficult to respond to him with commensurate force, is an excellent target for such “compensation”. The story about “NATO at our borders” and “preventive strike” is nonsense. We need to talk in such cases, not pile tanks and mincemeat from our own people.

Anton, a photo from the hero’s personal archive

– Do many Russians support the war? If the answer is yes, what is the reason for this?

– We don’t know the exact figures, but by feeling – quite a lot. But this is not because all Russians are bloodthirsty orcs. Here, I think, there is more merit in propaganda than in the internal impulse of Russians. Propaganda in Russia is fucking great, it works a solid five times. Not to say that it’s cunning and clever propaganda that subtly and carefully leads people to the “right” thoughts, as it should be. It’s more like hatchet brainwashing, mixed with base feelings, with hatred, working for people who need to vent their anger or find an enemy. “I’m sitting on the couch and drinking cheap beer, but it’s Obama’s fault” is the frame of Russian propaganda. It doesn’t need much more than that. And, as I see it, it is exactly that, because people in Russia are mired in domesticity and poverty. They need to pay off the old loan and think about where to get a new one. They don’t have time to read books, google, look at different sources, and engage in critical thinking. That’s why they have enough TV and propaganda shows on YouTube to close their need for information and news. Everything is easy and accessible there, you don’t have to strain your head after working a shift at a convenience store. It’s enough to tickle the area in your brain that is responsible for finding the enemy and the one to blame for your problems. That’s why, apparently, many people in Russia support this aggressive behaviour of the state.

– The theory of “Russian World” is still alive among the people and what do you think about it? Its author Dugin, if I’m not mistaken, is an extreme nationalist and right-wing person, is his theory shared by the people? If yes, what is it related to?

– I would not say that this theory has ever been popular among the people. Everyone usually talks about the “Russian World” in the context of Dugin, some National Bolsheviks and obscure conspiracy theorists. Sometimes they talk about the “Russian World” in propaganda programs on TV or YouTube. But I don’t think that the idea of “Russian World” as a doctrine, as a basis, has strengthened among Russians, because they are just too lazy to delve into it. You have to read something, you have to study the theory, have an argumentation. Why bother? Does the word “Russian” sound good? “Peace” is a good word? Well, if two good words stand together, it’s doubly good! That’s enough.

And if you ask me about the national idea of Russia, whether it arose evolutionarily or was invented by Dugin, there is no national idea. It’s just mincemeat, like any ignorant person who has picked up crap from everywhere. It is like a cloud of tags: “We beat the Nazis”, “We finish off those who were not finished off by our grandfathers”, “We do not abandon our own”, “We end the war” and so on. 

It’s all blended into a vinaigrette, laced with mayonnaise, crap. That is, these are not even ideas, but a set of slogans that any vatnik will give you in any combination like bingo. So to answer your question about the Russian world, nobody gives a fuck about “Russian world!”. The main thing is that eggs and bananas don’t get more expensive…. 

Although, of course, there are a handful of fanatics who are interested in this theory, leading TG channels and youtubes. But if there are even a million of them, there are still 145 million, so their opinion is not relevant, not even once.

Ayal Amosov, one of the anti-war actions that No Future wrote about

– Is there an anti-war movement in Russia? What are the loudest examples of anti-war actions in the modern history of the Russian Federation?

– There were active anti-war demonstrations at the beginning of the war in Russia, until everyone was hard pressed or forced out of the country. Now, before Navalny’s murder, street activity had been reduced to nothing. And if we talk about the latest anti-war street actions, which are not reduced to Navalny’s death, it is the speeches of mothers or wives of mobilised Russians (our interview was done before Navalny’s funeral). The wives of the mobilised are speaking out the loudest, at the moment. 

But we cannot say that there is no resistance to the war in Russia. It’s just not loud. Rather, it is quiet sabotage. For example, we have an acquaintance, an ordinary woman, not an activist with flags, and she walks with her child in a stroller and secretly puts anti-war stickers. This kind of protest exists, although we can’t say how massive it is. It’s not loud. 

There are still people who burn relay cabinets on railway lines or throw molotov cocktails at military recruitment centres. But I wouldn’t call it an organised movement where there is centralization or communication between activists at the grassroots level. Maybe there is, but then it’s well shielded. There is virtually no active opposition in Russia right now. All the opposition is abroad. Among them, for example, are the “Navalnyata” – notable liberals. They have an anti-corruption agenda, which is generated by the Anti-Corruption Foundation. The Foundation makes high-profile investigations, but this doesn’t change things much. Russia is not like Europe, where you collect dirt on a politician and he’s gone. It’s more like he doesn’t give a f**k and nothing will change. Although, of course, some investigations lead to western sanctions. True, they don’t really work.

There’s also the opposition who are in jail. But these people, for obvious reasons, can do nothing but pay attention to the lawlessness of the authorities and encourage those who are still at large, saying: “We will win”, “Do not give up”. But, as we see, not everyone expects victory… Therefore, there is no anti-war movement as such, neither the opposition nor the people. But there is quiet protest and sabotage. And this is already pleasing.

– We read that the state represses the anti-war movement a lot, is it true?

– Yes, people are detained, searched, tortured, sentenced and so on. The repressive machine is more ramped up than ever. Every Friday we see on the news who has been recognised as a foreign agent or an undesirable organisation. If we are talking about what we see in the public space, it is a daily process. If we talk about what is hidden, this machine is working around the clock.

– We also read about the demonstrations of wives and mothers of soldiers who demanded that their children and sons be brought home, were they mass actions? And how did the state treat these actions?

– They were actions, but they cannot be called mass actions. They were limited to a handful of brave people who were associated with the mobilised, with the participants of the war. People who until recently had immunity because the authorities did not understand what to do with them. They seem to be their own, but they oppose the war in the public space. So their protest has shocked the authorities. They were promised “handouts” and “donations” from the state, and they came out to protest. But it was not a mass phenomenon. It seems to me that only a few dozen people at most come out to such actions. Yes, and it’s hard to call it a protest in the classical sense of the word. They just came out to lay flowers on the tomb of the unknown soldier. But in Russia, even such quiet actions already sound loud, because for a long time no one goes out on the street with their opinion, especially on mass actions. Today in Russia, such actions can be afforded either by brave men or by those who are immune, like the wives of the mobilised.

Anton, a photo from the hero’s personal archive

– What form of protest are Russian activists now choosing against Putin and Putin’s military system, since it is quite entrenched and has strengthened its position in the country?

– I wouldn’t say there’s any single form or strategy. We’re pretty much fragmented. There is a large mass of activists who have left and can speak out boldly. There is an incomprehensible mass of people who stayed and who are against the war, but we can’t count them. We don’t see them, we don’t know them and they don’t speak out openly. But if we talk about the form, it is mostly either solitary pickets or “quiet” protests inside the country. Each dissenter tries to find his or her own form. For example, militarism and military propaganda are actively planted in Russian schools. Perhaps every Russian has had to deal with this – after all, everyone has children. In our information bubble, we see children doing the salute with their hands, wearing pylotkas, making trench candles in schools, singing Shaman songs and raising their hands. And it seems like everyone is being pressured and forced, and there is no escape. But recently we at No Future started researching this topic, talking to people to make a text and a movie, and it turns out that there is a place for resistance too. But it’s not a hatchet job.

Parents transfer their children to homeschooling, someone takes time off from this lesson or this day, when it is necessary to nazi salute and raise the flag, someone is supposedly sick. Or some let their child go for brainwashing, but then they talk to them at home and tell them what’s what. This is as I said “quiet” sabotage, protest and work on the inner level.

There are also cases of saboteurs who set cabinets on fire, make molotov cocktails, but this is a very diverse group of people who do not claim to be a movement. Among them there are pensioners, teenagers, women, and old people. A pensioner cashier was recently convicted for wanting to set something on fire. But she is definitely not a member of any underground or movement.

– Peaceful protest has outlived itself, in our opinion, in Belarus we have realised it on the example of girls giving flowers to OMON officers, and they give blows with batons in response. Do you think that non-violence protects the state or non-violent methods of protest have a place?

– Is it possible to overthrow tyranny non-violently? I don’t think so. At least, I don’t remember in history “quiet” revolutions that succeeded through sabotage. It’s more likely to be accompanied by a clash with the police and army. The kind of f****d up shit that’s happening now can’t be “quietly” defeated.

– How are Russian anarchists helping Ukraine? 

– I won’t say much here. Because apart from the known anarchists who are fighting on the side of the AFU, there are a certain number of people, but I don’t know them. But there is no movement among Russians as such, it seems to me. Obviously some anarchists, leftists, and antifa go there. I’m talking about antifa in the classical sense, not about Z “antifascists”. I’ll talk about them separately later. But, according to my information, and I know little, there are no leftist centralised forces that fought on the side of the AFU.

Photo from the hero’s personal archive

– Tell me about Z “anti-fascists”, I even heard about the existence of leftists in Germany who support Putin?

– For the last six months we have been preparing material about the so-called Z antifa. It is not clear how to call them at all and what they have to do with antifa in the classical sense. If subcultural antifa can be brought out of the conversation and explain who they are, it is difficult to argue with these guys. It’s like with “Russian” and “Peace”, the rhetoric is the same. “Fascism” is bad, so “Anti-fascism” is good. So what are we? “Anti-fascists”. And this is probably a common tome, the kind of idea that hovers dispersed in the air, uniting a group of people by a common name. And among them there are Z patriots, and young people who claim to be a subculture calling themselves “anti-fascists”, and “reds” of all shades. There are dudes who broke away from antifa and started rooting for Z, for Donbas

 nd Luhansk, because in their system of coordinates, it looks like the right of people to self-determination and unification, and they went there for that. True, they forget that Russia, not the people of Donbas and Luhansk, made the whole mess with disunification. 

– Now there are many Belarusians fighting in the Ukrainian armed forces. What is the situation with Russian volunteers? Are there any and how many are there?

– I don’t know, there is some Russians who went to fight on the side of the AFU, sometimes they appear in the news. But I don’t know how significant a role they play in the armed conflict, fighting on the side of Ukraine.

– In Russia, there are conditionally “leftists” who flirt with the DPR and LPR. In our opinion, are these movements artificially created by propaganda or are they people nostalgic for the times of the USSR?

– These are not movements artificially created by propaganda. These are real people who have suffered from propaganda. But what does it mean that they are “flirting with the DPR and LPR”? Everyone there has different interests. There are, for example, punks who go there to play concerts or take humanitarian aid there. And there are those who fight there on the side of the DPR and LPR. And in general, they all see the sense in it. We talked to them for our investigation. They see the secession of the DPR and LPR as an expression of the right of the people to choose the borders of their state. For them, it is right, it corresponds to their leftist views. They defend their position, the people of the DPR and LPR, who supposedly chose not to be Ukraine. But when you ask them about the armed conflict in Donbas, about who started it, their arguments fall flat. Especially when you refer them to the words of Strelkov-Girkin, who takes responsibility for the conflict. They somehow fail to take this part of reality into account and end up responding with something along the lines of: “The war is already going on, so what can we do about it”. But here we come back to the question of how many Russians are willing to look beyond the TV screen with propaganda. And to the fact that for many of them to do intellectual labour, to read, to understand is an insurmountable task in the conditions of survival in poverty and everyday life.

Photo from the hero’s personal archive

– How do you think the situation in the country will change? How do you see the path of Russia’s development after the war? For example, Germany has gone a long way towards “rehabilitation” after World War II. What do Russians need to reflect on what happened? 

– Do we guess what Russia will be like after Putin? Yes, we like to do it, my wife and I probably guess every week what will happen after Putin and what Russia will be like. But all this is just guessing as a hobby. We don’t know what will happen in reality. What we can say for sure is that we will see a collapsed country. In the worst case it will be destroyed by bombs, in the best case – by those people who run the country now. Just like in post-war Germany, the economy will be destroyed and it will all have to be put back together piece by piece. And in the case of Russia, as well as Germany, I think that the support of the West will be necessary after the fall of Putin’s regime. Germany also paid reparations with the help of Western loans.

There will be illustrations like in Germany, because criminals must be punished. Probably some of the prisoners will be replaced by those who put them there. But how long they will stay there is a question. In Germany, for example, many Nazi judges were not in jail for long, because someone still needed to work in law. And they lived to a ripe old age, free, receiving almost a military pension. So in Russia, I think the most egregious politicians who pass the most cannibalistic laws will go to jail, some of them may shoot themselves, and those found guilty of inciting hatred will be punished, some of them will go to jail, some of them will shoot themselves, but you can’t put the whole country in jail. Who will work in the schools of a rebuilding country if we lock up all the teachers for teaching propaganda classes called “Talking About Important Things”? We hardly have enough money to recruit and train a whole sector of public sector workers from scratch.

Or who will rebuild the economy, if we take away all the specialists and businesses that now support the war in words, in order to keep this business. Will we take everything from everyone at once and divide it? We have already been through this. And what about a fair trial and the right of private property, for which the liberals drown? All the same owners of steamship factories will change their clothes and say that “Putin made us do it then, but now we will be good democrats”.

My point is that it is not very clear what to do with millions of such people. Rather, we need to deal with the younger generation now, so that they can replace those guys. And let the current generation end its life in a natural, let’s say, way.

– Last word to the readers?

– Dudes, we have to build this world here and now. Don’t wait for the future, don’t lament about the past, but do everything possible here and now. You can make a “silent protest,” fine. You can sabotage it and not get burned – great. If you don’t have the strength, then just supporting a loved one who is depressed because of the war is something. If you don’t have the strength for that either, then finding a resource and taking care of yourself – that’s your main victory and contribution. Everyone will have a chance for a normal life, but don’t wait for someone to come and give it away. It is already there, you have to use it.