Maxim Butkevich, Ukrainian anti-fascist and human rights activist – in Russian captivity

I remember receiving a notification from Facebook Purity that Maxim Butkevich’s account had disappeared from my friend list and had probably been deleted or banned. At first I thought that Facebook’s inadequate censorship had worked its magic again, although I was surprised, because Butkevich always wrote very soft and precise posts. He kept doing that even when it came to tough and painful topics, making it difficult for even reporting bots to find something to grasp.

Then my timeline was filled with posts about a friend who got captured – he wasn’t mentioned by name (probably so as not to play into the jubilant Russian propaganda), but the context made it clear who everyone was talking about.

I spent about half an hour hesitating and hoping, but no, the videos with Butkevich started to appear in pro-Russian Telegram channels. I never forced myself to watch them – the preview thumbnail was enough.

Now we are finally allowed to speak about Maxim’s captivity. I still don’t know why everyone was silent, or spoke so little or discreetly, but it was probably necessary, so I was discreet as well.

The fact that Russian propaganda casually calls Butkevich a “neo-Nazi” is more than just a boring lie. It’s a monstrous mockery of reality, literally turning the truth inside out. Butkevich is just an ideal example of an anti-fascist, straight from the Chamber of Weights and Measures. If the word “anti-fascism” is ever cleaned of the crap that the Kremlin’s propaganda has covered it with, it will be thanks to people like him.

He is an anarchist who, without betraying his ideals, focused on the protection of human rights. He has been helping all kinds of marginalized and vulnerable groups, from migrants to prisoners. The fight against racism occupies a special place in his work, both street subcultural and institutional. Butkevich was involved in monitoring racist attacks and helping victims as well as refugees who ended up in deportation prisons. And just in general, he provides help to everyone who needs it.

Even after boiling in human misery for so long, Butkevich somehow has never become a cynic or a misanthrope and didn’t lose his principles. The fact that he volunteered to fight on the front line is in a way a natural progression of his mission, as an activist and as a fighter for human rights. He volunteered and took up a gun so he could protect the values he has been protecting his whole life.

These values will definitely win, but I want Max to gain freedom without having to wait for this victory.

/Translated by Andrii Chuvatkin

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