Russia is a Psychotic Nation

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Paul Goble reports:

The May 9th Victory Day celebration, a Russian Orthodox priest says, shows that Russia over the course of the last century and thanks to the imposition of Soviet values which continue to define the thinking and behavior of people there a sociopathic country, a state which “cannot live with others” because it is “indifferent to their rights.”

In a disturbing essay posted on the portal, Father Yakov Krotov says that “Russia was not always a sociopath.” While it was far from the most attractive of European countries in the 19th century, “it was a normal underdeveloped country, “capable of “concluding alliances” and “remaining true to them.

While tsarist Russia was known as “the gendarme of Europe,” it was never called “the militiaman” of the continent because “unlike the militiaman, a gendarme all the same is a social phenomenon,” an individual responsible for enforcing laws that protect society rather than acting without regard for those laws and only for his own benefit. Militiamen are hardly unique in this, Krotov continues, and he points to the attitudes and behavior of the oligaqrchs. “An oligarch who says that things are better in Russia than in England because in Russia he does not have to obey laws is a sociopath. He does not understand that while he can hid from the courts, he can’t protect his own child” from various social ills.

Krotov cites a psychoanalytic handbook to the effect that “anti=social psychopaths are not constrained by the norms of morality. They lie completely shamelessly … In most cases, they are moved by consideration of their own benefit but only in the short term: the longer-term consequences of their actions do not affect them much.”

“Is the acquisition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia profitable for Russia?” Krotov asks. “Is it profitable to establish such a protectorate over Georgia through which Central Asia will not be able to sell its gas to Europe so that we can remain monopolists? It is profitable – but “only in the short term.”

“Is it profitable to take money from a neighbor for a car and then not give it to him? It is profitable – one has the car. But that this will mean that one will not have good relations with the neighbor is not important to a sociopath. Relations are the essence of ‘social,’ and the sociopath fears that as much as fire.”

The Russia that developed after 1917 is defined by the medical description of sociopathy, the Orthodox priest continues. “’About their own failings, sociopaths never regret and are not inclined to learn from.’” Instead, they blame others or put our superficially attractive explanations, “’which leads to conflict with society.’” When a country becomes sociopathetic, he says, it “accuses the countries around it and enters into conflict with the international community,” seeking only a short-term gain and ignoring the way in which its actions will undermine the possibility for cooperation and development of ties.

But there are other aspects of the sociopathetic personality which become especially dangerous when they are raised to the level of an entire country: Typically, Krotov continues, again citing the psychological text, sociopaths “act impulsively and are not inclined to planning. They are not afraid of threats and future punishments and dangers.’” Indeed, and as paradoxical and counter-intuitive as it may seem, “their own security and that of others does not worry them very much.” Krotov continues by observing that a sociopath, either an individual or a state, “does not understand what social security is because he [it] does not understand what a society is.”

“Sociopathology is a victory over society. In the West people complain that society is individualistic, atomized, broken apart? Let them come to Russia: here there is no atomization or individualism!” That is because “here there is no society: 100 million sociopaths do not form a society just as … 100 zeks [or 100 of their jailors0 do not form a parliament.”

“When did sociopathy triumph in Russia?” Krotov asks, and he suggests that the answer is provided by the chief holidays the country celebrates: the anniversary of the October 1917 revolution, army day, and Victory Day on May 9th,” the last being perhaps the most indicative of the country’s descent into sociopathy relative to the rest of the world.

“In the final analysis,” he concludes, “the revolution and the reddening of the army are deeply internal phenomena, but May 9th is a commemoration of the separation of Russia from [its] allies in the anti-Hitler coalition,” a world in which most countries, including former enemies, mark “not victory or defeat but forgiveness and rapprochement.”

Streetwise Professor has further analysis of the issue.


35 responses to “Russia is a Psychotic Nation

  1. Hurrah! for Fr. Yakov! Molodyets!

    Excellent and wise observations! Assuming bold Fr. Yakov presently resides in the Russian Federation, let’s hope he isn’t ‘accidentally’ run over, or that he has a sudden unexpected ‘heart attack’…or the current popular Putin-method: assassination in public by pistol shots to the head, by ‘unknown criminals’, etc. But one fact that he does demonstrate, is that there are LOTS of intelligent Russians, who are SO fed-up, that they throw their own safety to the wind, and boldly speak out, no matter what they have to pay for telling the truth. Most dare not do this, but some do. When all the lies run out, what is left?….only the truth.
    Just my thoughts……
    Reader Daniel

  2. I can’t agree more with the title here above. The situation looks like Russian women despise their males for their inability to provide appropriate life quality. Generally considered to be a big fortunate to get married a male from the West. As far as I know Russian girls are begging on their knees for US visas at the US consulate in Moscow to get out of that Russian mess at any cost. The funny picture is when you see a Russian girl in her 20-25 accompanied by her kin and a US male in his 50s-60s. There’s such an inner feeling among most Russians if you can’t get out of the country, you a complete loser of no interest to anyone. That may be part of the answer why Russia is a Psychotic Nation.
    Check the web for mail-order brides from Russia and Ukraine to prove I am correct in that respect. The same goes for Poland and Romania.

  3. rts

    It is unusual that psychopath tries diagnose us. My wife and my daughter for example are very please with me athough they have never been in USA.

  4. every day we german men receive hundreds of spam-mails from russian women. Today a 25-year old girl called Julya wrote,that ” i want to have a western man,because the russian men are stinking from their mouth and they have dirty hands”.
    The russian men are scum and nothing else

  5. Re: My wife and my daughter for example are very please with me athough they have never been in USA. ???

    Just let me passingly react to this:
    For the exception of several major cities within Russian borders (Moscow and the like) the rest of the country is in shambles and stricken poverty with the average daily income/pay ranging from $5 to $10 which is very close to Mexico’s rural areas ( Mexico City apart). You can hardly deny that reality.The statistics on Russia is available via the Web.

  6. And I also often get the similar messages from many girs from another countries including USA. And these girls also criticize their men. The most of them comlain that their men are pederasts or impotents.

    • I am ‘stinkin liar’ Russian,

      Give me a break you schmuck! A country that the women have to prostitute themselves to leave, they don’t want to have children, so they get abortions. No one dares smile in public, someone might think they have it too good. The only country you might get a girl from would be Sudan or North Korea. You better double check your home life moron, you’ll probably find your wife and daughter registered on several ‘Russian Bride’ web sites. What a shameless liar!

  7. There are many booming places in Russia excluding Saint-Petersburg and Moskow.

    • “many booming places in Russia excluding Saint-Petersburg and Moskow”

      Oh, yes.

      Like Chechnya, for example.

      You hear “BOOM!” all the time.

      And now Russia is extending this splendid development policy even across the borders of the Russian Federation! Now they are BOOMing even in their neighboring countries, like Georgia!


  8. OK. Let me direct you back to the web search.
    I have just made a try and found next to nothing about mail-order brides from the USA to Russia in the Russian language targeting at Russian males. Do the reverse search and feel the difference. Let’s be honest wihin this blog and come out with valid arguments. Nothing more, nothing less.

  9. RTS: Of course you would not find anything. All those Eastern European women are trying to get married this way is not because Russians have dirty hands or bad breath or poor copulation skills. These women are simply trying to escape poverty and lack of hope, and who can blame them? Western women don’t need that, hence no Western mail order brides.

  10. There are no more poverty in Russia then in Europa! I`m tired to repeat this simple thing!

    • You are tired?

      Pity to hear that.

      Because you still have to go on repeating it.

      As nobody seems to believe you. Especially those who have seen both Russia and Europe.

    • Please ‘I am Russian’, don’t get tired!

      Your truth-defying, logic-abandoning, fact-distorting putinite twaddling is the best russophobe propaganda I can think of. Keep up the good work!

  11. Arguments do matter. The rest is wishful thinking.

  12. To the Russian. So, Germany or France is equal in terms of poverty to Russia, or vice versa. Is that what you are saying? How could that be if the German per capita GDP is five times higher? I beg your pardon, but this makes no sense.

    I remember your warlord wanted to achieve the level of Portugal, the poorest country in the Western Europe, in 10 years; and even that is appearing highly unlikely to happen. Why would he have such a goal if according to you, there is no more poverty in Russia than in Europe?

  13. Steam McQueen

    “… In most cases, they are moved by consideration of their own benefit but only in the short term: the longer-term consequences of their actions do not affect them much.”

    Classic Russian mindset. There is no tomorrow. There is only now, therefore I must get all that I can while I can

  14. By Yulia Latynina
    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree titled “On the Presidential Commission against Efforts to Falsify History to Harm Russian Interests.” Assigned to counteract the above-mentioned efforts are agencies that are professionally involved in the study of history, including the presidential administration, the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and the Federal Security Service (FSB).

    In February, after Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu suggested making it a crime to deny Russia’s victory in World War II, I wrote that the economic crisis would bring us to the point where the favorite themes of our patriots would be those that kept up the necessary climate of hatred within Russia but wouldn’t provoke reactions from foreign diplomats. That is, threats to place missiles in Kaliningrad would be replaced by PR campaigns promoting Russians who did anything heroic against foreigners. And by calls to strike — and strike hard — against those who would deny the Mongol Yoke.

    But, to be honest, I thought these calls would come from those spontaneous, semi-fascist organizations in defense of morality and purity that have lately been voluntarily taking on the role of beat cop and terrorizing any business using an “incorrect” or “unpatriotic” advertisement. It would have been hard for me to imagine that this initiative would gather such steam that our Great Liberal Hope, Mr. Medvedev, would sign a paper setting up a Ministry of Truth.

    Recently, Russia became the second country in the world (after fascist Germany) to imprison someone for fighting against fascism: I am referring to the one-year sentence handed down to Aleksei Olesinov for “hooliganism” in a case that is widely believed to have been motivated by Olesinov’s antifascist activism (his lawyer, Stanislav Markelov, was shot to death in the center of Moscow in January).

    In his summation at the trial, the prosecutor said the fascists are voluntary associations of citizens trying to bring order to the country, while those who disagree with them are committing a crime. Strictly speaking, the prosecutor revised the Nuremberg trials, falsified history, and so on.

    Nonetheless, it is hard to imagination that President Medvedev’s commission will take up the case of this prosecutor. You can tell in advance that the distinguished historians of the presidential administration and the FSB are not going to take up the nearly daily acts of terrorism being committed in Russian cities by fascists (it is hard to describe the ethnically motivated killings of Tajiks or Azeris as anything other than terrorism).

    They will not take up the matter of the books being published that propagandize the ideas of Adolf Hitler. And why should they, since these same agencies have issued a semiofficial recommendation that their employees study textbooks where the history of Russia is portrayed as one long struggle against a Jewish-Masonic conspiracy?

    But the late writer Viktor Astafyev, who fought through the war and wrote that Field Marshal Georgy Zhukov was “the poacher of the Russian people” and that he and Stalin “immolated the Russian people and Russia on the pyres of war” and who called the Red Army “the most talentless army in the history of humanity,” would undoubtedly have earned the attention of the Medvedev commission, if he were still alive.

    Antifascist Fascists

    In my view, a new form of fascism has appeared in the world. It is a completely international ideology, just like fundamentalist Islam or communism, and it has been adopted by dictatorial regimes whose leaders do not want their countries to open up to the world or who are afraid their countries might develop independent businesses and a middle class and escape from their control.

    Take, for example, Hamas. Members of Hamas don’t call themselves fascists. On the contrary, Hamas and its allies have urged a United Nations conference to label Israel fascist and to call their struggle antifascist. They tell Western intellectuals they are fighting for freedom and aren’t afraid to tell CNN’s cameras that their understanding of freedom means the destruction of Israel and all the Jews living in their homeland.

    Or take South Ossetia. The regime there also calls its struggle “antifascist” and explains that its wise President Eduard Kokoity is defending his people against destruction by Georgian fascists. Of course, there are more Ossetians in Tbilisi than in all of South Ossetia, and it isn’t quite clear why the fascist Mikheil Saakashvili isn’t destroying Ossetians who are currently living under his complete control on Georgian territory, but is only threatening those who are being saved by the wise leader Kokoity.

    The “antifascism” of our leaders is similar to that of Hamas. Of course, there are no fascists in our Kremlin. There are no fascists gathering each summer at the Nashi youth camp at Lake Seliger. On the contrary, we, Russia, are conducting an antifascist campaign against the Fourth Reich, the United States. Against the corrupt West, which is dreaming of revising the results of World War II, of destroying and trampling down our Russian nation.

    Of course, if you look closely at the much-hated West, it turns out that Sergei Brin, who emigrated to the United States, became a billionaire there by co-founding Google. And Aleksandr Rybak, who left Belarus for Norway, has become the darling of his adopted land. And you see that our passionate defenders against the foreign enemies are buying up mansions in London from our British enemies who blame us for the death of former FSB Colonel Aleksandr Litvinenko. And they are registering their companies in the malicious Switzerland, which refused to freeze the bank accounts of Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

    Fascism is the exclusive propaganda weapon of nations that want to remove other nations from the Earth. And how they label those other nations — “Jews,” “Untermensch,” or “fascists” — is just a matter of convenience. But the ideology our authorities are leading us toward — the ideology of hatred against open society, the ideology of struggling against “internal enemies,” the ideology of struggling against “those who would rewrite history” — (all of which so perfectly described by George Orwell in “1984”) is becoming more and more frightening.

    Yulia Latynina is a columnist for “Novaya gazeta” and a host on “Ekho Moskvy.” The views expressed in this commentary, which originally appeared on the website “Yezhednevny zhurnal,” are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of RFE/RL

    • Thank you Andrew and to all who tell the truth here.
      A little soviet-joke: “Adam and Eve were the first communists, because they didn’t have any clothes to wear, they only had apples to eat, and they thought they were in Paradise”.
      A soviet-era protest: “I’d rather be dead in a Capitalist Hell, than alive, in a Socialist Workers’ Paradise!”
      Amused by those who deny the obvious & troubling truths about the present neo-soviet current Russia……….

      Could it be, that only those who expose what is wrong in the current system that runs Russia today, and thereby try to change and improve Russia and the lives of the average people there, are the ONLY real lovers-of-Russia? It is exactly the gangsters who are ruining Russia, who are the
      ‘Russophobes’….or as they mistranslate that term,
      Russia-haters, or ‘anti-Russian’. ‘Phobe’, by the way, means, ‘fear’, not ‘hate’, anyway!
      And unless and untill present Russia CHANGES radically for the better, the whole world has plenty of reasons to BOTH fear….and…hate that country, sad to have to say.
      But, hurrah! for those brave and truly patriotic Russian dissidents, who speak out. They are real lovers-of-Russia!
      Just my thoughts……
      Reader Daniel

  15. I am sorry to read all this absurdity

    • To Putin-internet trolling goon, ‘Elmarlosmira’,

      I am sorry too, -that you don’t know or care what the truth is. How much do they pay you? If this one idiotic sentence is all you can utter, against the TONS of accurate and factual information about present KGB-ruled Russia, then…isn’t it you who are indeed…..absurd? It really looks so, comrade.
      If I were your KGB/FSB boss, I would fire you and cut your paychecks off. Would that be, absurdity?
      Just my thoughts…….

    • Elmarlosmira,

      Try doing like most of your countryman, close your eyes and say LALALALALALA. And next time reality slaps you upside the head, just remember, close your eyes and say LALALALALALA.

  16. psalomschik

    You are very little man for FSB as well as Penny, Andrew, Elmer, rts and another morons. I enjoy to read yours foolishness. Your naive views are very funny. I have not any disgust to yours “hard work” especially Andrew`s ones. Reading your letters I have just had a good time like as in circus during nice klowns` performance!

    • “I’m ruSSian”, Putin is a very little man to be an FSB officer. Tops 1.6 meters. I would beat him in judo. Hands tied, eyes covered.

      Based on your comments I truly doubt that you are having good time reading and learning facts that shake your view of your own nation. But don’t worry, beeing confused, bitter and angry is all part of enlightenment process. You just have to remember that even if your nation is psychotic, you don’t have to be.

  17. Russia today about poverty in USA
    “The U.S. is currently being hit hard with high global fuel prices and rising inflation. But while some 28 million people there rely on help to put food on the table the government is not moving quickly enough to tackle the problem.

    Rafael Blanco, an immigrant from El Salvador, lives in a homeless shelter. He says charity is what keeps him alive.

    “I would like to tell President Bush that everything is more expensive, especially food. People who live under the bridges have nothing to eat,” says Rafael.

    But Rafael is not the only one for whom life has turned into a daily struggle. 28 million Americans have turned to the government to help them put food on their tables. The number of people claiming food stamps has surpassed the record set in 1994.

    The worst hit are turning to churches and food banks.

    “We are serving a lot more people. One thing we are finding is that clients can’t make it to the end of the month,” says Ted Pringle, Director of Food and Clothing, Washington.

    And Alice, the single mother of five, is one of them. With no fixed income she says feeding her family has become a challenge. Her friends and family don’t know she’s turned to charity, but she is not ashamed of it.

    “Everyone needs help once in a while to help you get on your feet,” says Alice.

    Most people have to make radical changes to their diets in order to make ends meet. Evette Davis doesn’t have a job and lives on her own. She says she can only afford to buy the things most necessary to keep her from starving

    “I try to buy fruit and to stay away from meats as they are very expensive. I am considering becoming a vegetarian,” says Evette.

    But while demand to feed the hungry has gone up, donations are dwindling.

    Rising gas prices have made it more expensive to deliver food to pantries. In the first three months of the year, food costs jumped 5 percent.

    And as Americans struggle with rising inflation, lawmakers are not moving quick enough

    One possible solution is to increase benefits to those most in need by up to 15 percent. But the idea, initially part of President Bush’s economic stimulus plan, was dropped.

    Advocates hope things will change, but until than poor Americans will have to handle it on their own.

  18. Dear light-hearted and jovial reader of my posts, ‘I’m Russian’,…. Yes, when I read your wonderful & enlightening posts, I too can say: ‘I have just had a good time like as in circus during nice klowns ‘performance’.’ And, you too give me laughs, SPASEBO!
    By the way, George Bush is no longer our President, it is B. Obama, in case you are reading your script from old back issues of KGB/FSB propaganda manuals. As to our American economic/social woes, well…….they are as nothing, compared to the perpetual mess that KGB gangster-run Russia is all about. We shall solve our problems, but will you?
    If you yourself are not suffering, then that is proof that you are part of the nomenklatura ruling class.

  19. psalomshik

    Do you think that a well-to-do being is always reprehensibly for Russians? Are all prosperous people a FSB spies? If you think that way then you just idiot!

  20. Tumtum, is a carriage drawn by one or more horses to carry people or cargo. It used to be the mode of transport before the advent of the motor car, in Pakistan, India and neighboring areas, also known as Tonga in some of those regions.

    And this is why russia is psychotic nation!!!

  21. Gary Marshall

    Hello I’m Russian,

    The article is about 1 year out of date. High food prices and high energy prices!

    The article does not say 10% are destitute. It says they ‘struggle’ with poverty, whatever that may mean. A lot of articles appear here in Canada claiming that 1 in 3 children live in poverty. Then come demands for more government help.

    Some people do not live very well, but they live far better than people anywhere else.

    It also means that 90% of the country are doing well.

    Gary Marshall

  22. Medvedev’s Terrifying Order

    May 21, 2009
    By Anton Orekh
    An amazing new car was recently unveiled at an auto show in Shanghai. It is called the Gelly, but just one glance makes it obvious that it is a copy of a Rolls Royce. This much is obvious to anyone with eyes and an even rudimentary knowledge of cars. And the Chinese didn’t even bother trying to deny it. They are marketing this piece of plagiarism under the slogan “Reinventing a classic.”

    I noticed the word “reinventing,” and thought of it again when I learned about President Dmitry Medvedev’s order on the creation of a “presidential commission against efforts to falsify history to harm the interests of Russia.”

    Russia, the saying goes, is a country with an unpredictable past. In fact, it is harder to predict our past than it is to foresee the future. It is a fun-house mirror that it would seem impossible to twist further. Could it be that the new commission will be in charge of straightening out twisted reflections?

    Like any similar enterprise, this one also has a false bottom. What history are we talking about? Are we discussing the entire millennia? Will we be protecting Vladimir Monomakh or Ivan the Terrible from falsification? How about Rasputin or the chemist Yevgeny Biron?

    Of course not. In fact, they won’t be defending Khrushchev or Brezhnev either. When we talk about the “falsification of history,” we have in mind just a narrow slice of history – the period of Stalin’s rule. The period that holds repressions and war, collectivization and the occupation of the Baltic states, the massacre at Katyn…

    And about all these events and about this period in general there have already been more than enough lies. At some point, lies about this time simply replaced history itself.

    History became what wasn’t – or, rather, how it wasn’t.

    Like A Diseased Tree

    The struggle against these genuine falsifications began less than 25 years ago, and this work was never brought to a satisfactory conclusion. Of course, in history it is never possible to place the final period, but one can place the accents in the proper places so that people cannot be confused about fundamental concepts like good and evil and how one is to be distinguished from the other.

    We live like a diseased tree. After all, a healthy tree cannot sprout from diseased roots. Our roots are our history, and they are rotten. They are rotten not because our history is bad. There is no such thing as bad history, just a poor understanding of history, a poor understanding of history as it actually was. This is the essence of the rot that is poisoning our tree and making it grow all twisted and crooked.

    We need to find out how and why we lost millions of people during the war. We don’t even know how many millions we lost.

    We need to talk about the “effective manager,” Stalin, who buried millions of his countrymen, occupied the Baltic peoples, and gunned down the Polish officers.

    We need to remove the corpse from Red Square, because the heart of our motherland is not the place for the founder of a lawless regime.

    Such truths do not blacken our history. In fact, they make it somehow greater because only by properly evaluating the colossal scale of the losses and mistakes of the war can we properly evaluate the greatness of our victory. Then we will understand that the war is not a bunch of popular films or the “reinvention of a classic” in the form of a colorized version of “Seventeen Moments of Spring.”

    We will understand the price in blood and the price in inhumane labor that was paid to build the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station and other monuments of industrialization, to cultivate the virgin lands, and to launch our Gagarins into space.

    Who Will Sit On The Commission?

    But this is not why the Medvedev commission was created. All that remains of Gagarin in our history is his smile. All we know of the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station is a curtain of water falling gracefully through the spillways. And all we know about the war is a bunch of white-toothed heroes speaking in 21st-century slang and burying Germans by the dozens. And Stalin is just pacing around his office, muttering some order to Marshall Zhukov in a Caucasian accent with a pipe clenched in his teeth.

    I can’t imagine who will sit on this new commission. Who are these geniuses, these people with 100-percent knowledge, these people who carry inside them the final instance of truth? Rather, I can imagine them all too well: “historians” from the Federal Security Service, the Foreign Intelligence Service, the Defense Ministry.

    Does this mean that our entire history is the history of the military and the secret services? Does it mean that Monomakh, Ivan the Terrible, the chemist Biron, and the madman Rasputin do not interest them? Maybe it would be more honest to rename it the Commission to Protect the Honor, Virtue, and Good Name of the Generalissimo.

    I think the most important thing is the final bit of the official name of the Medvedev commission – the part about “harming the interests of Russia.” There is no such thing as history that harms interests. Only lies can harm interests. The lies that several generations of our people have been raised on — people who, as a result, have lost any moral touchstones. And these are the lies that are now going to be defended and “reinvented.”

    One final conclusion. If there is such a thing as “falsification that harms the interests of Russia,” then it stands to reason there must be “falsification that promotes the interests of Russia.” And that’s what our new commission will be doing.

    I say in all seriousness – our president has issued a terrifying order.

  23. Thank you Andrew! for this Anton Orekh excellent hard-hitting article, and for the link to it. I have already shared this link with many fellow anti-KGB anti-Putin people, mostly Russian emigrees and their children here in North America, who want Russia to be a free and prosperous and peaceful country, and no longer destroying human liberties and invading surrounding countries, attempting to copy Stalin’s attrocities. The one phrase here, which has given me a smile are Anton Orekh’s words: “Russia is a country with an unpredictable past, in fact it is harder to predict our past than it is to foresee the future”.
    I always thought that ‘the past’ is set in concrete, and cannot be changed? I guess I was wrong.
    Just my thoughts……..

  24. Forty years ago today, on May 20, 1969, the human rights movement in the Soviet Union took a bold step forward. A group of 15 brave individuals – scholars, writers, historians – announced the formation of the Initiative Group for Human Rights in the USSR and sent an open letter to the UN Human Rights Commission. Eleven of the 15 were eventually arrested and imprisoned.

    RFE/RL’s Russian Service attended a commemorative event at the Moscow headquarters of Memorial and spoke to some of the original members of the initiative group. Veteran activist Aleksandr Lavut, who worked for years on the dissident journal “The Chronicle of Current Events,” described the persecution he endured: “They hunted us, and viciously. We were constantly being watched and listened to. In later years, they followed us constantly, walked behind us, sometimes hiding and sometimes purposely not hiding. My apartment was only searched twice – the second time was when they came for me.”

    Lavut was asked how his fellow Soviet citizens viewed his quixotic efforts and he said: “The people we knew, of course, sympathized. But we also heard reproaches like, ‘why are you beating your head against a wall? You should think about your family.’”

    This attitude, Lavut says, has only changed a little. “People treat us with a certain respect and sympathy, but far from all. A lot of people think we aren’t needed and are even harmful. But for the most part, people approve of this work.”

    Lavut says the social and political rights of Russians are constantly violated. “You might as well say that elections have almost disappeared,” he said.

    Sergei Kovalyov, a tireless rights advocate who was also one of the original 15 members of the initiative group, is pleased that many more people (he says the Russian branch of Memorial has up to 10,000 members) are involved in rights work. But he says the obstacles presented by the government remain chillingly the same.

    “It boils down to the right to have your own point of view, to be respected and not persecuted,” he said. “For example, it has been reported that President Medvedev has created a commission that is supposed to fight against falsifications of history that harm Russia’s prestige. It is clear that this is just another censorship organ. And a law is being prepared and will not doubt be passed by this Duma (which can in no sense be called a parliament) about the criminalization of such falsifications of history. This is tantamount to a ban on critical statements about World War II. For example, it will be forbidden to compare Stalin to Hitler, although I would say that Hitler is just a pale imitator of Lenin and Stalin. In short, today we are seeing an organized, systematic assault on freedom of thought.”

  25. For Russian brides. This situation was some years ago as consiquence of USSR destruction and Russia resurrection. It was a Great and Terrible period for us which may be compared with Great Patriotic War. We build really a new country. It was very hard and we have not any help from someone. Moreover the West announced itself as “conqueror” and began to expand to East. But we pass the main hardships. We have saved our Motherland. We defended our country and our people so we hated us. But new Russian epoch will be soon! New Russian Star is rising!

  26. I’m Russian

    “We build really a new country. It was very hard and we have not any help from someone.” (but CIA and IMF)

  27. rts

    You know that CIA and IMF just try to get a benefits from our problems. They expected of Russian destruction. So we were surrounded by enemies but we kept our country.

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