Grigory Pasko: Sankta simplicita

Durand110308.jpegSankta simplicita Grigory Pasko, journalist Если Вы хотите прочитать оригинал данной статьи на русском языке, нажмите сюда. There exists such a legend. When on the campo dei Fiori in Rome they were burning Giordano Bruno at the stake, the bonfire suddenly began to die out: either the wind began to blow, or the firewood had gotten damp. From the crowd of onlookers observing the execution, to the pyramid of firewood on which Giordano was tied, there suddenly lunged a sweet little old lady and carefully put an armload of dry straw into the dying flame. The fire flared up with new strength. Looking at this scene, Giordano exclaimed: “Sankta simplicita!” (Holy simplicity!) (It is possible that this story took place at the execution of Jan Hus… In the given instance not this is important). Recently in Oslo the Norwegian Helsinki Group was conducting a seminar for 16 journalists of regional newspapers from Arkhangelsk Oblast. They asked me to appear before them. I spoke about modern-day journalism, about the state and its cruelty in relation to those who think differently and various other “enemies of the people”…In the capacity of an example I gave the abuse of Svetlana Bakhmina, convicted in the YUKOS case. I was prepared to continue giving examples, but suddenly I felt – almost physically – that those present were not showing any reaction at all to Bakhmina’s surname. I asked the audience if they knew who Svetlana Bakhmina is? Two or three nodded. Out of 16! I remind you: these were journalists. Not old babushkas from remote villages of Arkhankelsk guberniya, not little children, not collective farm tractor drivers, who could be forgiven for not knowing what’s going on in the life of the country… Like Giordano, I wanted to exclaim: “Holy simplicity!”

It is known that there exists a website in support of Bakhmina, on which are placed signatures under an appeal to the president of Russia with a request to pardon the former lawyer of the company YUKOS. However, few know that there recently also has appeared a website on which are being gathered signatures …against the release of Bakhmina. For now there are just fifteen hundred signatures there. However, the mere fact is symptomatic, to my view.Once in the USA one of the representatives of a foundation for the support of democracy told me with an angry passion: we’re trying to help your country for many years, but you never had democracy, and you still don’t have democracy. Of course, he understood that democracy isn’t a kilogram of candy that you can just go to the store an buy. The establishment of democracy – is a process at times long and painful.But there are also those who say that Russian’s don’t really need democracy in the first place. For example, the politician Zhirinovsky and his supporters. Indeed. People who vote en masse for a party invented by the power, and for its leader, who is not a member of this party – what need do such people have for democracy? Or people who silently accept draconian laws sent down from the pinnacles of power, laws that are driving the people into a state of slavery – what need do such people have for democracy? Or people who have gotten used to being content with only that information about life in the country and in the world that the power considers it necessary to provide, in carefully measured doses – what need do such people have for democracy?Despite the fact that more than 70 000 Russians signed under the appeal to Medvedev, the state television channels and mass information media did not show any reaction at all even to the mere fact of such appeals. If it’s not in the media, then it doesn’t exist in real life either?The majority of Russians live in those places where there is no Internet and diversity of newspapers and television channels. There is no place from which they could find out who Bakhmina is. The majority are specially held in such conditions: this way it’s more convenient to rule and manage this mass. This way it’s easier and simpler to manipulate their consciousness. This way you can more distinctly beat it into their heads that YUKOS – this is an enemy company, while all the figurants in the case – are thieves and low-lifes. It’s easy to dupe people like this with the thought about how democracy, in principle, isn’t needed; it’s another matter entirely – if it is with purely Russian features, «sovereign» or «managed».And should we be surprised then if people don’t know who Bakhmina is, and if they did know, then their knowing would be at the level of a simple – like an amoeba – thought: she “stole millions from the laboring people”.And if – God forbid! – they were to actually burn Svetlana at the stake, there would certainly be found a kind-hearted old woman who would throw some dry firewood on the dying flames of the bonfire.Artwork: painting of Giordano Bruno being roasted to a crisp, made in 2000 by the Canadian painter André Durand.