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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Yezhedevny Zhurnal via Other Russia

In a welcome development, Other Russia has started translating material from the Russian press:

The Year In Review: Whispering, We’ll Survive
December 27th, 2007

Natella Boltyanskaya

Yezhednevny Zhurnal

If we speak about feelings on the departing 2007 year, then for me they are such. Authority that’s shameful. Shameful for cynicism and pettiness, impudence and lies. Further still, the tendency to take revenge upon everyone deemed persona non grata is, in my opinion, categorical. Just don’t try to sing a song of “Oh, what a bad person … is.” There could be any name there. Bukovsky… Kasparov… Storchak… Khodorkovsky… Chervochkin… Gozman… Litvinenko… Arap… Anyone can compose this list at their own discretion; this list could be of any length.

I’ll recall the principle of lawfulness once more – you must be judged and condemned not based on who is extremely unsympathetic toward you, but for what you’ve done and only what you’ve done. No one doubts that the government is stronger than each of its citizens. Well, then – it’s indecent when the government demonstrates this to a specific person using the arms of its employees: look what we can do to you. The question isn’t about lawful retaliation for breaking such-and-such a law, but about the decision, taken at the top (where no one will ever say, even though everyone understands, that we’ve built a vertical [chain of command]). And the essence of the decision – we’ll detain, cripple, jail, kill you. Because we can do this. We can send over an instigator to a person, carrying out their civic right to a solitary picket. [Under Russian law, one person can demonstrate anywhere at any time without a permit, but an unregistered group of two or more can be shut down and arrested.] And this instigator will, without hesitation, explain why he’s been sent there.

Shameful for these authorities so much so, that enough about them already. Better yet, let’s talk about the society. About a certain number of people united under one nationality. And not about the mythical numbers of “encouragers” and “approvers”. So then, this certain number of people could be displeased with what’s happening in the country at the present moment. And it completely doesn’t mean that they’re enemies. They simply don’t agree. Like the pensioners, who once went into the streets didn’t agree, being against the monetization of their benefits. Thank God, that then we managed without clubs. Currently, the situation has reached a stalemate. The Russian citizen doesn’t have space to express her disagreement. You cannot vote differently, as everything was counted up long before your vote… Incidentally, this is about the authorities again by now, of which we’re shameful.

So then voting – doesn’t work. And all the other means of expressing disagreement [or dissent] can be equated with extremism or crushed without explanation in any way that’s commanded. An opposition organization doesn’t have space in a city of many millions, where any place with a room and more than 100 seats can be had by just about anyone for money? To what extent must these authorities sh.., excuse me, soil themselves, in front of the opposition, to deal with the dissenters in such a way?

Furthermore, my dear little bears and cubs, including the polar and koalas, help me understand: If the same number of OMON [Special Forces] simply preserved order at such a demonstration, and didn’t suppress it, what would be so terrifying about that? One gets the impression that these guys are instigating bloodshed themselves, considering that in the present day, the steam release valve is being shut time and time again. How much do you need to fear [Natalya] Morar, a journalist, to deport her by secret decree from the country (see above – to take revenge anyone deemed persona non grata). If there are so few of these dissenters [as the authorities claim], they why are they so pressured? Kasparov won’t muster the votes for the presidency? The let him lead an assembly and register his candidacy fairly. And since you won’t give him the chance to do it, does it mean you’re afraid he will gather [the votes]? There has not, is not, and won’t be an answer. It’s not the tsarist practice to give answers. It’s not a tsarist practice to obey the law. To hell with them, I’m talking about you and me! Almost every one of us is given the illusory opportunity to close up in our shells, turn off the damn idiot box and… earn money (as much as they permit), read books, run about the internet, as long as it isn’t fixed…

And if your apartment is robbed, then don’t go looking for justice, because the militsiya is catching dissenters, and it’s not up to catching thieves. And if a civil servant’s son or brother runs down your relative – forget it, there won’t be justice. Your place, citizens, is the state of a hedgehog that’s being threatened. Roll up into a ball, gather up everything you can within yourself, and lie there quietly. Don’t spring up! I personally know many people, who completely don’t like Garry Kimovich [Kasparov], but who go to these Dissenters’ Marches, because there is no such law to “not spring up.”

It’s time to make sense of the situation and take a constructive decision – all of us. Otherwise, we’ll be crushed one at a time.

I understand, that’s it’s easy for me to appeal for constructiveness to those, who have probably thought about it on their own. But there isn’t another way out. The direction that the whole country is moving in is abominable. And the society is starting to understand. Late, because a system of repression is already up and running. But it’s starting, as it should. True, you and I may not live to see those days, when this oil and imperial-hubris inflated bubble pops… But the borders are still open… And if you don’t like it, get out… But why does one need to leave from their country – their native land, you say?

Because you have been designated an enemy from the very highest rostrum. But what if they made a mistake at this rostrum? But they couldn’t be mistaken, since oil prices are out of this world. And when they collapse, the dissenters won’t be beaten to death one by one, as was Chervochkin, the National Bolshevik [activist]. By then [the authorities] will be giving the order to shoot them in public gathering sports. Is that what you’re waiting for? You think that there will be enough satiety during your time? You are wrong – it’s for THEIR time that there will be enough satiety, they aren’t thinking about you. You should be thinking of yourself, since the law can (theoretically) protect you – us. But they will now be making whatever laws they need… And here I am, not talking about the authorities again, for whom I’m yet again ashamed. This is about you and I, who likely had our last hurrah when NTV was shut down… And continue to have it every time that someone is killed, and we are quiet, such and such was thrown in the nuthouse, and we have our step-mother’s anniversary… Of course, perhaps those arrested, crippled, killed, and disappeared without a trace don’t worry us… The trouble is that every one of us is next in line. Just by chance walking down the street.

Today we are seeing a systematic and practically daily violation of the fundamental law of the Russian Federation. This law is being broken, as I understand it, with full backing and permission of the guarantor. Because if the guarantee is real, and not phony, it must punish and demonstrate what happens to transgressors at the first violation. But if the punishment and browbeating hasn’t happened even once, then it means that any law relating to you could be broken. Likely, it can be suffered if you take on the attitude of the hero in “The Suicide,” the [Nikolai] Erdman stage play: “God perish the thought. Do you really think we’re doing something against the revolution? We haven’t done a thing since the day it started. All we do is visit one another and talk about how hard life is. Because life is easier when we can say life is hard. For God’s sake, don’t deprive us of our last means of survival. Let us say that life is hard. Let us say it in a whisper, “Life is hard.” Comrades, I implore you on behalf of millions of people: Give us the right to whisper. You’ll be so busy constructing a new life that you’ll never even hear us. I guarantee it. We’ll live out our entire lives in a whisper.” (The play was written at the end of the 1920s.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ms. Boltyanskaya's fellow liberals who now so humbly beg for "a right to whisper" had 15 years (the second half of the 1980s and the 1990s) during which they shouted on the top of their voices drowning out anyone else.

Seeing the results of that epoch, one can only ask them the same question the Spanish king has asked Companero Chavez: "Why don't you shut up?"