In other words, we have been sold out. The West has sold — betrayed altogether — that small part of the Russian population that has upheld the values of freedom and was ready to walk barefoot upholding liberty through snow and perennial ice. It was ready to climb every mountain and every peak. And the selling out was done in a manner that has not happened for a very long time. To be truthful, I had not expected this from President Obama.
And if now they will ratify the agreement of the START treaty, this will be understood as a gift to Russia, as an agreement with every detail of its policy. There will be no more “interference” in our internal concentration camp. And as there sat in prison the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, in this manner he will continue sitting. He is to be imprisoned for 10 more years, and it is very possible that he will not come out alive and will never see that Nobel Prize.
Nobody defends political prisoners. Nobody defends Khodarkovsky, and this could have been done very easily and quickly. All that is necessary is for the members of the G8 to raise their voices in a decisive manner. Were this to be done, the case of YUKOS would have been dissipated like a horrible dream. But no — the members have permitted this trial, and this public auto de fé, this public torment, continues on and on.
I actually think that there is a simple reason why Judge Danilkin was told to postpone the reading of the sentence. It was decided to wait for the most fiery Western journalists to take their Christmas vacation — December 25th is the world’s Christmas — and then in the rush and business of the season (the season’s meaning is nothing to them) with Putin’s four hour speech on TV in the background, they were made to read such a shameful judgment that all of us had no choice but to be silently aghast. And we will be absolutely ashamed, and we will not be able to do anything, not even to sit next to the sentenced men, as long ago we, dissidents, used to sit down. And it is our shame that we must watch this nightmare.
But more than that. By the New Year’s celebration, while the Russian salad Olivie was being served, it became clear that Putin had succeeded in the education of the young and that his and Surkov’s exercises with “nashists” (Russian nationalists), with local young crowds, with “Young Russia” had great results; the young can proudly display their might, trampling the portraits of the opposition leaders on the city square. We have educated our own well-trained fascist youth. These fanatical boys, fed and trained by the Kremlin, were used in pillaging the offices of the opposition, and these boys raise their fascist salute near the walls of Kremlin. And these boys exclaim “Russia for the Russians”. . . .
In other words, without leaving Sovok, without giving up our Soviet training, we have arrived at the neo-fascist state….
I think that the hopes that Russian political leaders would want some change, that they would listen to the wise words of no longer living Gaidar, that if they want to survive, they need to protect democracy (so we would not turn into Pakistan, or into the Third World, or even fourth or fifth) — these hopes have no place in our lives any more. I think the war is announced, there is no pretense and no illusions about the possibilities of working with this ruling elite, of looking for round-table discussions, mutual organizations, mutual sofas and committees etc. — these illusions have no place any more. This is a year when all illusions should die.
Valeria Novodvorskaya is one of the leaders of the party Democratic Union of Russia. In 1969, she was arrested for the first time. She was imprisoned at a special psychiatric hospital (a general practice of punishing dissidents). She described her experiences there in her book Beyond Despair. After her release, she studied evenings at the Department of Foreign Languages of the Moscow Regional Teacher’s College. Since 1972, she issued and distributed samizdat. In 1988, she was among those who formed the party Democratic Union. She was arrested on a charge of slogans to a coup d’etat in May 1991 and released in August 1991. In 1993, she was in the pre-election bloc of the Party of Economic Liberty.
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