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Grigory Pasko: Has the Great Thaw Arrived?

cartoon052708.jpgPresident Dmitry Medvedev recently met with human rights advocates. Hooray for Medvedev! Medvedev gave an interview to Novaya Gazeta. What a guy! They’ve released former YUKOS lawyer Svetlana Bakhmina. Respect – to him, naturally, the president. He fired the Moscow millionaire-general in connection with the fact that another millionaire, his belly full of vodka, went and shot to death two and wounded seven people who were guilty of absolutely nothing. Damn, that Medvedev is a veritable daredevil, he is!

And a chorus of voices: a thaw, the ice is breaking, an outrage or a thaw, steering a course towards democracy…

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Yes, there’s the crisis; yes, Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s still behind bars; yes there’s still a huge bunch of people stuffed all over the camps; yes, there are political prisoners… But everything’s by the law, after all, everything’s under control of the wise tandem of Putin-Medvedev! And the openness of the power just boggles the mind: the president has even become a blogger.


dmitri-medvedev_18.jpg…I think that without thinking too hard we could easily call to mind afew more things that might be regarded as features of therehumanization of the power and of its «bold and confident» strivingfor democracy. This is exactly the way a weary traveler in the desertwith a moronic smile on his sunburned face rushes headlong at a miragethat seems to him to be an oasis. The over-exhausted horse fallslifeless (optionally – the camel’s tongue falls off), while thetraveler discovers… that same sand and heat. There is no oasis. Thereis just an illusion, a cardboard façade.

Sitting alongside the mirage, he recalls all the things that you still can’t do: 

  • You can’t call cops lowlife thugs [gopoty] or indeed inveighagainst them or call them names, and all the more so – put upresistance if they’re busy smashing your head against the asphalt: theymight take offense and start up a criminal case «for extremism».
  • You can’t criticize the power. And all the more so – laugh at itor ignore it. As Sergey Dovlatov wrote, «the KGB – a sensitive beast.Woe unto him who offends it. But it is much worse for the one whoignores it.»
  • You can’t write anything critical about procurators, judges, StateDuma deputies. They – are holy, untouchable, «our everything» (afterPutin, naturally).
  • You can’t participate in meetings-actions of those who disagree; you will be arrested and locked up.
  • You can’t even hope for free elections, anywhere – be it Moscow or Sochi.
  • You can’t count on the political opponents of the current power beingable to freely participate in the political life of the country.

Remember all these “you can’ts.” No doubt you’ll come up with more of these than of “cans.”

The ice is not breaking, it has changed shades. Colors always change inthe spring. And when the sun really starts to burn your head, you caneven see an oasis somewhere on the horizon.

Instead of an epilogue, several phrases from Stanisław Jerzy Lec:

– Interacting with dwarves deforms the spinal column.
– The only way you could breathe there was by ceaselessly shouting «hurrah».
– There are color-blind people who don’t distinguish colors, but who can discern every shade.

People! Be vigilant! Do not sit for long in the hot sun and preserve your eyesight!