Anarchist Squatters Arrested after Trying to Turn Russian Oligarch’s Flat into Ukrainian ‘Refugee Shelter’

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 14:(EDITORS NOTE: image contains profanity.) Police officers in ri
Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Anarchist squatters have been arrested after occupying a Russian billionaire’s London flat to supposedly use it to shelter Ukrainian refugees on Monday.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police stormed the £50 million Belgravia residence belonging to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska – who was one of the seven oligarchs sanctioned by the British government last week as punishment for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – after squatters from the anarchist group London Mahknovists entered the property just after midnight on Monday morning.

The group is named after Nestor Ivanovich Makhno, who led the Ukrainian anarchist movement called the Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine, which attempted to form an anarcho-communist territory during the country’s war of independence against the Soviet Union between 1917 and 1921.

The riot officers initially unsuccessfully attempted to use a ladder to enter the house — which protestors managed to push away — before trying to use a cherry picker to gain entry via the balcony while supporting officers used drills to break through the front door on Monday night, the Daily Mail reports.

As the police began the eviction process, the squatters were heard to call them “pigs” and “fascist scumbags”, and told officers to “go away you losers”.

After a several-hour standoff, the police released a statement announcing that they finally managed to remove and arrest the four protesters.

The activists had hung a Ukrainian flag alongside banners, which included slogans such as “Putin go f*ck yourself”.

In an apparent reference to the close relationship Deripasks apparently enjoyed with senior Conservative Party officials, which included hosting former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on his superyacht in 2008, a banner also read: “Power breeds parasites. All Tories are Oligarchs”.

“The same money that funds the Russia war machine funds the Conservative Party,” the activists told the press surrounding the flat.

While the Conservative government has frozen Deripaska’s assets in the UK and has also banned the oligarch from travelling or doing business in Britain, the anarchist group still accused the government of behaving “immorally” and insisted that the “property belongs to Ukrainian refugees”.

The anarchists in London were not alone in their attacks on Russian oligarchs on Monday, with two Russian activists in France being arrested after breaking into and squatting in a villa owned by Kirill Shamalov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former son-in-law.

The duo waved a Ukrainian flag off the balcony of the Russian billionaire’s building before French police broke down the door and arrested them.

The Metropolitan Police have been criticised in their response to the activists, with the editor of London World, Ralph Blackburn suggesting there is hypocrisy between how quickly and in such great numbers officers responded on Monday compared to how they react to other property in Britain.

“This seems an awful lot of police for a non-violent protest in an empty house, with oligarch Oleg Deripaska banned from travelling to the UK anyway. Often when investigating crimes like burglary, maybe one officer will turn up at a victim’s house, and then it will never be followed up,” Blackburn said.

The London police force solved just five just 5 per cent of the 268,000 burglaries that took place in the year up to April 2021.

The Metropolitan Police told Breitbart London in a statement after being asked about the remarkable swiftness in which they moved to protect the property of the Russian Oligarch that:

Officers were initially called to reports of people breaking into a house just after 1am. This led to an immediate response and would do so anywhere in London.

Once at the property officers were told the intrusion was for the purposes of a protest. However, squatting in a residential property is a criminal offence.

In addition officers faced difficult decisions as they had not independently verified what was taking place inside the property, who was present and whether there were other risks.

Over the following hours we deployed the resources necessary to resolve the situation swiftly but safely, both for our officers and the protestors.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has been widely criticised for the rise in crime during his tenure, said that while he did not “condone” the protest, he questioned why the police took such swift action against the squatters, saying: “I’m unclear what the police were responding to because we know no one’s living there.

“But I’m not sure if there were concerns about any crimes being done to any neighbouring properties, so those are the questions.”

Earlier on Monday, the leftist mayor echoed the sentiments expressed by the anarchist group, telling ITV that “the government should be seizing” Russian oligarch properties and they should be used by “those Ukrainians fleeing Ukraine before they are sold off”.

“Homes should be places where people live particularly those fleeing persecution rather than gold bricks used by oligarchs close to Putin,” Khan continued.


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