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Grigory Pasko: Reacting to the Le Figaro Khodorkovsky Interview

mbk092308.jpgJudge not, lest ye be judged Grigory Pasko, journalist Если Вы хотите прочитать оригинал данной статьи на русском языке, нажмите сюда. “…Right after Medvedev came to power, I have noticed signs of changes. Previously, for such an interview, I would have been sent to the dungeon. But from May to August they have not applied such harsh measures towards me. Nevertheless, the denial of my parole application shows that there is still a long way to go before there are any major changes…. My parole application was denied on the pretext that I had not mastered the skills of a seamstress! Is this not a mockery of justice?From the interview of M.Khodorkovsky to the newspaper «Figaro», September 2008. [The above is a translation of the Russian version of the interview, which differs slightly from the published French version—Trans.] A normal interview. You can see a real living person through it. This person noticed signs of changes after Medvedev arrived. I for one, haven’t seen squat. At any rate, not changes for the better. To me, for example, a sign of these changes would be the release of Mikhail Borisovich. But Medvedev didn’t release Khodorkovsky. I think that none of this has anything at all to do with Medvedev in the first place: everything, just like before, is decided by Putin’s team (not even he himself, although the 2000 Putin and the 2008 Putin are like night and day).

Of course, in his cramped little world, it seems to Khodorkovsky that changes have already taken place just because they haven’t thrown him in the dungeon [yes, dungeon—Trans.] for an interview. I spent nearly two years there in a solitary cell – the world really does shrink down to the confines of this cell (my cell was around six square meters [about 60 square feet—Trans.], no more) And I too measured everything going on in the world from above… No, that’s not the right word at all. …From the depths… Not it either. In a word, from an area of six barred square meters. And no doubt I erred when something good miraculously happened to me. For example, they brought books, which they earlier had prohibited bringing. Or permitted a package of medicines to be passed on to me… The world seemed kind and good to me then.And in the meantime, out there in the free world, lawyers were furious: it turns out they had permitted me, as an act of benevolence, something that was allowed all along in the first place. By law.And so, by law, even without Medvedev, Khodorkovsky is NOT PROHIBITED from giving interviews, especially in such an innocuous manner: by way of written responses to a correspondent’s questions. (And all the more so if the actions of Medvedev et al. are approved of in the responses..)It is precisely because I have done time myself that I am not going to start reproaching Mikhail Borisovich for anything. He’s got his own history, his own philosophy and psychology.All I’m saying is that sometimes you can’t take a broader and more objective look at reality from behind bars and six square meters, that’s all. And it’s not the prisoner’s fault that this is so, it’s his misfortune.Someone evaluated the views of Mikhail Borisovich, as set forth by him in the newspaper Figaro, as political loyalty to the powers. Someone in so doing recalled that he had been a good, experienced komsorg [komsomol organizer—Trans.]. Someone else mocked the fact that they had blamed him for an inability/a lack of desire to retrain himself as a female sewing machine operator [the Russian term used by Khodorkovsky in the interview is definitely and improbably feminine in gender—Trans.]…People! It is not for us to judge him! Even those of us who have been behind bars ourselves. Because, as the writer Vyacheslav Kondratiev once said, “each of us has had our own war”.