The appeal of Larisa Bogoraz to her compatriots


Ladies and gentlemen! I ask you to forward this appeal to everybody you can, I want to spread it as wide as possible.

Respected compatriots! A week has passed since 23 October, when the astonishing crime was committed. The tragedy came to the end only several days ago.

I may not call the finish of this story either happy, or heroic, or professional – more than a hundred of the perished is a too high price for the victory over the evil. However, it seems to me, one must cast aside the emotions and put the questions demanding not the emotions, but rationality and responsibility.

During these tragic days the question was heard more than once: how could the several tens of widows and orphaned minors dare to commit such an awful crime? Yet, this question mostly concerns the technical details and only a thorough investigation can answer it, since we have not enough information. I propose everyone, the common citizens, writers, journalists, President, and others to answer the question: what is our guilt and our responsibility for this tragedy? We know that the criminals demanded to stop the war in Chechnya and to withdraw the federal military troops from the republic. Naturally, I, as many other people, regard the method chosen by the criminals as unacceptable. Violence in any form generates violence, it cannot settle the political conflicts. I can understand our President and I agree with him that any negotiations and compromises are not permissible while dealing with criminals. At the same time, such position resulted in the death of more than a hundred of innocent victims. I consider that the internal policy of out government is criminal in the sphere of observing the rights of an individual. Yet, we elected this government with our own hands and we are not able to demand from the officials to change their policy.

However, several years ago some Russian citizens demanded to stop the Chechen war. We acted as civilized people, without taking hostages and without violence, we conducted peaceful sanctioned meetings, we wrote protest letters. The meetings were not numerous and the demands were indecisive. Nobody risked to organize an action of civil disobedience. And a number of Russian citizens even supported this dirty and criminal war. Maybe it was the reason why the top authorities ignored our demands? Neither the political leaders nor the President even did start a discussion on this topic, although we were not criminals-terrorists or their followers. It seems that anti-military meetings must be more massive and consistent. I believe that the tragedy could be prevented, if we were less passive and indifferent.

I address this accusation to myself and to every of you, my compatriots!

Larisa Bogoraz
29 October 02

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