NOTE: The noted Russian author (shown above, right, with Benazir Bhutto, former Primer Minister of Pakistan), a former Kremlin insider, compares Russia and Pakistan, and finds that Russia is in some ways the more desperate of the two. In the forum that follows the article, several readers commented grimly that while tens of thousands of Pakistanis took to the streets to protest Bhutto's murder, only a few hundred Russians could bestir themselves to protest their own rigged parliamentary elections.
The Word and the Bullet
January 10, 2008
On December 27, 2007 Benazir Bhutto, twice the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the leader of the opposition People’s Party, and the sure victor in 2008 parliamentary elections, was assassinated in a terrorist attack in Rawalpindi.
Three months before her death Benazir Bhutto appeared before a large gathering of representatives from the American political, economic and intellectual elite. Her presentation simply captivated the auditorium. No matter what the topic, she demonstrated astonishing erudition, clarity of thought and lightning speed in her responses. And all this with a surprising sense of tact, respect for her interlocutors and conviction in her own position. With what grace she carried herself! When the thin scarf that lightly covered her head slipped momentarily to her shoulders, one simply had to see it, the genuinely royal gesture with which she replaced it!
In the hall were several former
At the end of her presentation the entire hall rose and gave Benazir Bhutto a standing ovation. One should note that the American establishment is not easily won over. It has seen it all, and is not known for its sentimentality, especially toward those who publicly flay
One of the
I talked for awhile with Benazir Bhutto. Naturally, the discussion turned to the political situation in our two countries,
In Russia they killed Aleksandr Men, Larisa Yudina, Galina Starovoytova, Nikolai Girenko, Sergey Yushenkov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, Aleksandr Litvinenko, Yuri Chervochkin, hundreds of residents of the apartment towers blown up in Fall 1999, members of the audience in the “Nord-Ost” theater raid, schoolchildren and parents at Beslan, and tens of thousands in the Northern Caucuses. In
Terror is used against leaders of the press and public opinion because people listen to them and follow them by the thousands and millions. Because unlike intelligence agents, public opinion leaders are influential. And not only influential, but genuinely powerful as well – in their words, their convictions, and the support they receive from millions of followers. In the battle of words, the secret police are doomed. The have nothing with which to oppose the leaders of public opinion except terror. Terror is the weapon of losers, of the defeated, of those who don’t stand a chance in normal, peaceful, human life.
The word is the argument of the strong. The bullet - the argument of the weak. The question most frequently asked of Bhutto by participants at the event three months ago was, “Won’t it be dangerous for you to return to