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This is my translation of another noteworthy article by Boris Stomakhin, his unpublished interview to the Italian magazine Il Borghese.
One can disagree with Stomakhin in particular matters but no reasonable man can deny his courage and unshakable will for Freedom, which couldn’t have been destroyed even by Putin’s GULAG.
1) Journalist’s experience in the world without freedom.
My personal experience is 12 years of Putin’s prisons and camps only because of articles, which were my personal opinion about events happening in Russia and the world. Also – a ban on journalistic activity after each release: first time it was for three years, then five. Of course I ignored those bans and continued to write and publish texts even from prison. So I wrote three books during my last 7-year term.
Putin’s regime has a panic fear of free speech and spreading of information which it can’t control. Russian Ministry of Justice can include any publication or video in their so-called “list of extremist materials” with blunt explanation: “the information forbidden for spreading in the Russian Federation”. They are afraid of any non-controlled information, capable of shaking their authority even at minimum. As in Middle Ages, books are forbidden and their authors are imprisoned. They’re trying to shut every mouth, crush the slightest word of criticism and just free thought; they initiate criminal cases for likes and reblogging in the Internet. And only technical inability to completely block modern digital channels and ways of communication doesn’t allow the situation with freedom of speech in Russia to finally become the same as under Stalin.
2) Who actually is Vladimir Putin?
Vladimir Putin is the criminal, the mass murderer, the organizer of a genocide, political assassinations all over the world, aggressive wars and annexations of foreign territories, to speak it shortly. The supreme head of the criminal, terrorist organization named “Russian Federation” which should be forbidden in the entire world.
First of all, he is a lieutenant colonel of KGB – and his mentality exactly corresponds to his former job. The first victims of his quest for power were residents of two apartment blocks on the outskirts of Moscow, blown up in the early morning: it was necessary to frame Chechens, to raise panic in the society, to unwind mass hysteria using Kremlin-controlled media and to create a pretext for another attack on Chechnya. Then there was genocide of the Chechen people, carpet bombing of villages and cities, artillery shelling of residential areas, barbaric “mop-ups” of the civilian population… Attack on Georgia in 2008. Bombing of Polish President Kaczynski’s plane near the Smolensk airfield, where 96 people, virtually the entire political elite of Poland, have perished, in April 2010. Annexation of Crimea, made during unrest in Kiev due to just-happened revolution, and a little later – military aggression in the Donbass which continues to this day, and establishing of Moscow-controlled thug enclaves in 2014. Shooting down Malaysian Boeing in Eastern Ukraine in July 2014. Piracy in the Kerch Strait and seizure of three Ukrainian ships in November 2018. Political assassinations around the world: Zelimkhan Yandarbiev in 2004, Alexander Litvinenko and Boris Berezovsky in London in 2006, 2013, Denis Voronenkov in Kiev in 2017, Zelimkhan Hangoshvili in Berlin in 2019; attempted assassinations of Ukrainian presidential candidate Yushchenko in 2004 and Skripal family in London in 2018. Those are only the most noticeable crimes for which Putin is responsible, but far not all of them.
At the same time, for the last 20 years Putin has been the initiator of constant, planned, systematic destruction of human rights and freedoms in Russia, legislation of countless totalitarian laws allowing total control and intervention of the state in citizens’ private life, in their business, science, culture, education, religious and sexual areas etc. Putin’s state wants to control every step of every citizen exactly by Stalin’s standards – and unfortunately, thanks to modern digital technologies, has achieved a considerable success there. Only the same technologies, used by some citizens, don’t allow the regime to make this control absolute yet.
At the same time we must understand that Putin is not just some random figure. On the one hand, he comes from a special “corporation”, the Soviet KGB. His election as president was the crowning glory of this corporation’s long-standing efforts to seize the power first in the USSR, where they secretly dreamed to push the decrepit Communist Party off the ruling seat, and then in Yeltsin’s Russia. He is the subsidiary of entire widely-branched KGB mafia network, which, with the help of money, bribes, blackmailing and murders has its tentacles long and deeply in all countries of the Western world. This is the mafia exactly by structure and methods; also, it has huge POLITICAL ambitions with claims not just to enrich itself, but – no less and no more – to rule the world, to dictate its terms, dominate and impose its totalitarian and archaic values upon free people. Under Putin, they actually achieved this by buying up and bribing most of the Western elites.
On the other hand, Putin is an average representative of tastes, requests and preferences of the Russian population. Kinda product of collective Russian non-conscience, the monster produced by sleep of reason of 140 million two-legged creatures, which look like human beings only outwardly. Cause the Russians are applauding Putin’s crimes, they are sincerely proud of the seizure of foreign lands and murders of “enemies of Russia” on all continents by hands of FSB and GRU killers. And Putin, knowing tastes and preferences of his population well, has been deliberately committing those crimes since his first days in office, whether it was “pacification” of Chechnya, attack on Georgia and Ukraine, annexation of Crimea or even such an indicative gesture as restoration of Stalin’s USSR national anthem.
Neither he, nor his gang, nor those still called “oligarchs” by force of habit have a need for all this anthem and Crimea-is-ours stuff. It was the best way to satisfy the darkest, lowest instincts of tens and hundreds of millions of population – to gain and bolster up the popularity amongst them. For the same reason, for 20 years Putin and his bunch have been opposing to give LGBT the same rights that straight people have. By applause which comes as response to Putin’s atrocities, we can understand WHO actually Russians are…
3) Prospects of another future.
Speaking of Russia, its only and inevitable prospect is disintegration in the near future and the end of its existence as a single country. Russia is an entirely artificial entity, a colonial empire sewn together with a bayonet, existing only on state violence, persecutions, efforts of its punitive apparatus. And if punishers’ efforts, the grip of empire’s center weaken, the empire naturally and inevitably begins to disintegrate. Suffice it to say that only in 20th century Russia did that twice, and what happened there during WW2 can also be called “russian half-life”… It’s unknown whether it will be possible to have a normal life in countries formed on the site of former Russia (ALL of them can’t succeed, as well as not all of the former Soviet republics made it), but there is no other way in any case. In my opinion, they could’ve started their lives from scratch, having their imperial past erased, those pages torn out from their history. To live freely, not allowing predominance of the state, its bureaucracy and special agencies, over the personality anymore. All totalitarian bans, all possibilities of state intervention in the privacy of citizens must be destroyed. It’s necessary to ensure genuine, 100% freedom of speech, press, parties and unions, rallies and meetings, religious freedom for all churches and beliefs. To abolish all taboos, all prohibitions dictated by fake “safety” or “morality” such as bans on the free purchase and carrying of weapons, drugs; age and place-restricted sale of alcohol and cigarettes; bans on prostitution, pornography and in general any images; bans on same-sex marriage and adoption of children by same-sex couples, on human cloning, euthanasia, etc, etc. Only then, having both political and personal rights guaranteed it will be possible to say that people in at least some of the states of former Russia have become really free.
4) Can the young still dream of something else?
That depends on where exactly. Speaking of Russia, I’ve just told what its young people should dream about, where they should move. Alas, they still have a totalitarian regime which reduces all dreams of young and conscious people to something much worse than in 1990s when everyone was thinking how to get money to feed a family. Now – it’s how not to get a huge prison term for nothing, just because of your religion like hundreds of Muslims of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Crimea, Jehovah’s Witnesses all over the country, or because you like airsoft shooting in the woods with your friends as it happened with participants of so-called “Network case”. And not to be tortured with electrocution, strangulation, severe beatings, etc during arrest and investigation, as it happened with all people mentioned above.
However, ruskies are masochists by their nature. Historically they always loved those rulers who destroyed them in the most brutal way, enforcing the most ferocious regimes. Therefore, a huge part of the Russians, including the young, really, without kidding, wants to capture someone, rolling on their tanks – sometimes it’s just Ukraine, sometimes entire Europe. Sometimes they dream to nuke America (this happens especially frequently) and 20 years ago, during the war in the Caucasus and genocide of the Chechen people, they were united by the dream to nuke Chechnya, giving Putin the very advice…
Speaking of young people of free countries, I would advise them to dream at least a little about strengthening and expanding the territory of freedom in the world. About destruction of Putin’s regime in Russia by joint efforts, its neutralization, confiscation of all nuclear missiles and warheads from its uniformed and plain-clothed belligerent maniacs. Also it wouldn’t be bad to remember about the torment of the Uyghurs in totalitarian China – and imagine how a progressive part of humankind could’ve saved them from “re-education” in concentration camps. It would be nice to dream about minimization of role played by state bureaucracy, police, government agencies, and then its total abolition in the West. About living without Big Brother, without cameras hanging everywhere on the streets and in transport; about having financial transactions not tracked by government structures with their demands of explanations and greed for your money; about legalization of all drugs, not just marijuana; about abolition of all disgraceful laws which punish you just for words, whether it’s laws on “hate speech” imposed by the EU on all European countries or “apology for terrorism” in France, or “Holocaust denial” in Germany, or Armenian genocide denial law in France again, etc, etc. Just abolish them all forever!
To make a human being completely independent from the state, its bureaucracy, the police and special agencies which use pretexts like “fighting terrorism” to control and intervene into private life; to reduce role of the state to an absolute minimum minimorum; to not have a person for the state – but a state for the person, if the state can’t simply be canceled in the foreseeable future.
Why not to dream about all this?…