La Russophobe's translator-in-residence offers another wonderful insight into the pages of the Russian presses, this time on the Litvinenko fiasco from Moscow pundit Leonid Radzikhovskiy:
“The People are Ready”
In the case of Litvinenko, there are so many things that are absolutely incomprehensible – especially from the sidelines – that to try and play the role of a self-styled Dr Watson would be absurd. And I wouldn’t dare to try my hand at Sherlock Holmes. But there is something I would like to talk about – the reaction of “The People”.
Once again there is the bloodthirsty animal roar that we got to enjoy after the murder of Politkovskaya. On the radio, over the Internet: “Traitor! Enemy of
Two thousand years of Christianity has greatly pacified the spirit of our countrymen. Twenty years of talking about a “just government” has even more developed their minds. Here it is – the JUBILANT crowd of 1937. “Kill the mad dogs – to the last one!” But there was some hope that A) back then the people were forced out on the street, and B) since then something has changed. Nowadays no one is forcing the “advanced patriotic public” to show they can “suppress the fine impulses.” No! They sing it themselves. No one has been publicly executed for some time – “the people are tired of waiting.”
I could be told that one must not judge everyone by a few bad apples. One must not do that. Only there’s so many of them. And the voices of others cannot be heard. And then again, why not? No, not everyone is LIKE THAT. But that’s not good enough. In that case it would be impossible to live. But if even 5% are LIKE THAT, it’s pretty unhappy.
About the dead – and the more so about those who died SUCH a death – we should say only good things or nothing at all. For that reason I will say nothing about a former lieutenant colonel in the KGB who was ordered (supposedly?) to kill Berezovskiy – that is, about someone who was, apparently, capable of it… (ellipses in original – TN) But one small thing can be said.
Litvinenko – as far as can be judged from his biography – NEVER worked in the external intelligence service, never had anything to do with the terrible “military secrets of the Motherland” (secrets which, today – are secrets, but tomorrow – are the subject of joint seminars with our NATO partners). Hence, prattling on about “betrayal of the Motherland” is devoid of ANY content. Even a hint of content.
But who in the raging crowd worries about that? Who in the crowd would take it into their head that the very idea of “betrayer of the Motherland” is the same sort of juridical MISCHIEF as the marks Stalin used to make on interrogation records – “Bastard?” – to which Ezhov would reply: “Bastard!” This is the concept of justice: there are “bastards” and there are “non-bastards”. The Criminal Code – “Bastard”! For a portion of our citizens, everything is clear: They, of course, have nothing to do with “The Bastards”.
As I understand it, the Criminal Code has definitions for espionage, terrorism, murder, and so forth. But there is NO definition for “betrayer-reptile-bastard”. In the boring old Criminal Code, there is nothing. But in the fiery heart of the patriot, there is. Discussing the possibility that the murder of Litvinenko was the work of the intelligence services, our citizens note philosophically, “That’s part of the order of intelligence activities.” Such is their concept of “order” (I hope, in any event, it is not the conception of intelligence officers themselves, but only of their admirers). For these people there is no conception of courts, laws, due process, sentence, etc. Although, let them find themselves in a difficult situation, and see what happens – people suddenly understand all too well the meaning of jurisprudence and the law when in reference to their own little selves.
I hope, nonetheless (without this hope, it would be tough to live in this country!) that the practice of non-judicial punishment in Russian government agencies does not exist (one could argue about the quality of the courts – but that’s a different issue). Too bad it doesn’t! – cry out my countrymen (not all of them, no, not all of them; I won’t over-generalize!). And they take comfort – You’d better hope it doesn’t, gentlemen of the fifth column! “Bourgeois prejudices” about “so-called rights” – that’s all well and good… in the West. But really there is, fortunately, non-judicial punishment, we know it! “In one’s own soul it finds its source.” (Well-known quote from Faust – TN)
It’s a primitive tribe. The highest LEGITIMATE law is one’s place in the tribe. There are “Our Own” and there are “The Foreign”. “The Foreign” are devoured, in order to fatten our own. The murderers of a Tajik woman are our own, she herself – foreign. Ulman* is one of our own (no, no – his last name is not the thing, he’s not one of them, you see, he’s… well, he’s one of ours, generally!); the people he shot dead – foreign. Politkovskaya – well, what’s there to say… (ellipses in original – TN) Litvinenko – would have been all ours, but he was a traitor.
It’s a good world. Comfortable. It lacks just one thing – genuine democracy. Once in awhile you have to “suppress the fine impulses”.
P.S. – On
*Translator’s Note: GRU Captain Eduard Ulman was twice tried and controversially acquitted for his involvement in the killing of six unarmed Chechen civilians in January 2002, on the grounds that he and his men were only following orders.