Grigory Pasko: Day of the Prisoner

limonov091108Day of the Prisoner Grigory Pasko, journalist Если Вы хотите прочитать оригинал данной статьи на русском языке, нажмите сюда. On the website, the writer Eduard Limonov, who heads the National-Bolshevik Party (which has been banned in Russia), wrote an article about how in July in Moscow there took place a congress of political prisoners. In the words of Limonov, around a hundred political prisoners gathered. “To the congress came not many guests”, writes Limonov, “inasmuch as we did not call many. However, honest and direct, appeared the lawyers Mikhail Trepashkin (himself a politzek in the recent past) and Sergey Belyak”. Both with Trepashkin and with Belyak I am acquainted. With Limonov I have not yet had the chance – we are acquainted with one another “in absentia”. If one is to believe another website – – then to the number of political prisoners I also belong. Why they did not call me to the congress – I don’t know. That’s not a question to me. Of course I would have gone. Not because I share all the views of the natsbols, but because I also consider them, the convicted National-bolsheviks, to be political prisoners of modern Russia. It is incomprehensible why they did not call to the congress Sergey Kovalev, Alexander Nikitin, Valeriya Novodvorskaya and others who had been persecuted among others for political motives as well.

The congress adopted a decision to found an organization under the name “Union of prisoners”. It will be managed by a committee of five people. For the purposes of ensuring the safety of the committee the names of these five will be held in secrecy until better times.Upon the proposal of Limonov the congress adopted a decision to found in Russia a Day of the Prisoner and decreed to commemorate this day every year on 14 September. All who have gone through the jails and the camps are invited on this day to the little square at the central entrance to Gorky Park in Moscow. Standing there will be former zeks with placards “Butyrki prison”, “Matrosskaya tishina”, “Lefortovo”, “Presnenskaya prison”, “6th women’s prison” and so forth.Limonov supposes that there will start in Russia a “movement of prisoners, which will become… an all-powerful force in the country, including in politics”.I am not against a Day of the Prisoner, but I have my doubts about whether the movement will become an “all-powerful force”. Despite the fact that in Russia every fourth adult inhabitant has relation to prison (either he sat himself, or a relative sat), over the hundred past years not only has a movement not appeared, but even activeness on the part of former zeks has not been seen or heard.Here’s what the matter is, to my view. Both the rules (so-called “understandings”) and the psychology of people from the criminal world are such that they never and not under any circumstances must interact with the state of their own volition. The state interacts with them, but not the other way around. To participate in a movement – means to participate in civic life, and this contradicts the understandings of the zeks.Another matter – political prisoners – former and present. They, not burdened by criminal-world understandings, could found a movement. But it is hardly appropriate to talk about how it will be “all-powerful”. In the words of Limonov himself, now in the country there are around two hundred politzeks. Even if there will become four hundred of them under the Putin-Medvedev tandem, this will hardly arouse mass protests against the power.In Russia people have always sat [in prison]. Millions have sat, and have sat a long time. I have such an impression that the whole country has reconciled itself with this. Dissatisfaction is expressed only by individual people, who become the leaders of something – a party, a movement, an organization… But in the country there is an obvious shortage of such leaders. As Vladimir Vysotsky [another former zek—Trans.] sang in his song: “There are few tempestuous ones, and so there aren’t any leaders…”It is completely likely that at some time they will appear in sufficient quantity. Sufficient to become a real political force and to participate in the political life of the country with their sights set on power. I think that this is possible. The prerequisites for this are there: today’s power does not love its people; it is avaricious, thieving, cowardly, ineffective in politics and economics. Sooner or later it will lead the country into such a thicket that it itself will flee the country to its emergency escape aerodromes, where it has accounts in banks, villas and where their families have been living a long time.Recently someone told me the following instance. When in the country there flared up mass discontent with the pension law (№122, if I’m not mistaken), and people came out in the streets, those members of the Russian leadership whose wives and children were founds in the country massively bought them tickets beyond the border, so they would get as far away as possible from the people’s wrath. In example were cited printouts of sales of tickets, in part, for flights of the company Lufthansa.Another example. All of Great Britain knows what the children of prince Charles are doing and how. All of America knows where Bush’s daughter parties. All of France known how the wife of president Sarkozy lives and what she’s doing.Nobody in Russia knows what Putin’s wife used to do and is doing and where his children are living. Or in what country Medvedev’s children are studying. This is not simply a secret of personal life. This – is fear of one’s own people, a fear of the truth.Such leaders are frighteningly far away from their own people. And indeed, they really couldn’t care less about the people. And even less so – about prisoners.Precisely because they are afraid of their own people ( including prisoners as well), they will never allow for a movement of prisoners to appear. And they will never admit the existence in the country of political prisoners.In addition to this, remembered was a long-ago publication in “Rossiyskaya gazeta” (Federal issue N4398, June of the year 2007) – an interview with minister of internal affairs of Russia Rashid Nurgaliyev. He, in part, reported then that in the state Duma is found a draft of a Federal law about administrative control over persons released from places of deprivation of liberty. “We”, said Nurgaliyev”, propose to revive the practice of informing the police about those who have served their punishment… Unfortunately, there are such releasees too who represent a threat for law-abiding citizens. It is over such people that administrative control is needed”.So, the Day of the Prisoner, most likely, will have to be commemorated under the watchful eye of the state that we so love and that loves us so.