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Grigory Pasko: An Unbearable Sense of Shame

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I am not ashamed that the president of my country – is the smallest president in the world – barely 160 cm [5’3”] tall. Not by height is the greatness of a person determined. I was, of course, ashamed for those journalists who in a fit of sleazy sycophancy compared Putin with Peter I. (Lord! How can the oh-so mediocre Putin possibly compare with Peter the Great!). I’m not even ashamed when Putin demonstratively displays his Patek Philippe watch for 60 or 70 thousand euros – let him! After all, there are people who pay more attention to expensive toys than to acts and deeds.

But I am terribly ashamed for the top leadership of Russia, when it behaves itself on the international arena insolently, stupidly, short-sightedly, and to the detriment of my country. Over the past 8 years of the rule of this leadership Russia has, it seems, not a single friend left. All around along the perimeter – nothing but enemies. The putino-medvedevs rail particularly loudly in relation in the countries of the former socialist camp. The recent manifestation of the stupid policy of Russia – Medvedev’s letter to the president of Ukraine with respect to, as Medvedev writes, «the so-called holodomor» [the artificial famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine, caused by forced requisitions of food by the Soviet authorities, which led to millions of deaths in peacetime and is regarded by some as a planned genocide of the Ukrainian peasantry–Trans.]

I think that not only the cynical advisors of the Putino-Medvedevs (and I am convinced that Putin also applied his opinion to the letter), but the well-fed and well-groomed Medvedev as well, find everything connected with the sufferings of the Ukrainian people in the distant ’30s of the past century very alien and unfamiliar.

It is not alien and unfamiliar to me, which is why I write these lines. It is not alien and unfamiliar because the Holodomor affected my family as well. My father was born on the night from 1931 to the year 1932. The Holodomor was in full swing over all of Ukraine. I can only imagine what a calamity this must have been: my father’s own mother left him to die under the window of another woman.

That other one, having two children of her own, took my father and raised him. He survived the Holodomor thanks to her – my grandmother Matryona Prokhorovna.

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev did not travel to the solemn memorial events on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor. Instead of himself he sent a letter. In the letter – demagogy, arrogance, ambitions…

«Not waiting for the results of the comprehensive study of the problem by competent experts, is called an unequivocal qualification of what has taken place, – thus writes Medvedev. And he doesn’t concern himself with the obvious and elementary question: what the hell was Russia doing all this time, all these 75 years, not doing anything for a «comprehensive study of the problem»? Okay, not all 75 years, but at least the past 5-8 years?

Russia did nothing, because the bureaucrats have already decided for themselves: the Holodomor – this is the destruction of «petty property-owners», that was evoked by the «resolution of the task» [Soviet equivalent of the currently popular US military concept of “doing the job”–Trans.] — «the obtaining of an army of workers for the accelerated industrialization of the country», and that «eternal monuments to the heroes and victims of the ’30s became DnieproGES, «Krivorozhstal» etc.». This is exactly how it is written in the decree of the State Duma of the RF of 2 April of the year 2008.

Those experts sure are good, no doubt about it!

In the meantime, other specialists assert that the Holodomor – this truly is the genocide of the Ukrainian nation. They annihilated Ukrainians specifically. Stalin annihilated people not only by strata – nobility, peasantry, tsarist specialists, members of parties – but by nationality as well. For example, in Chechnya they expelled the entire nationality.
No fewer than 8 mln Ukrainians died. Why so many? There is an opinion that Stalin was afraid of the independence of Ukraine and made special efforts in order to break Ukraine, the way he made special efforts to break Chechnya.

It turns out that even today the putino-medvedevs are afraid of Ukraine (as well as of Georgia, the Baltic States, and even Belarus and Moldova too) only because these are becoming ever more independent from Russia. For this the leadership of Russia is prepared to fiercely despise the leadership of these countries, and at the same time the peoples of these countries. If this is not the inflaming of inter-nationality hatred (letters like these), then what is it?

I am ashamed for the rulers of Russia. As my colleague Yulia Latynina wrote very precisely, «these people are too bad to be friends with them, and too petty to be afraid of them».

And if over there, beyond the boundaries, people can allow themselves to simply not be friends with them, and to not be afraid of them, here, in Russia, we’re forced to be ashamed of them as well.

Photo: My father Mikhail Grigorievich during the time of service in the Moscow military district, the year 1952. Stalin was still alive… (photo from the family archive)