“It’s become dangerous to be a brunette here”


On 6 October 2006 it was learned that the Russian authorities were checking the financial affairs of the popular writer Grigory Chkhartishvili, better known under his pseudonym Boris Akunin. The BBC reports that many link this with the anti-Georgian campaign unleashed in Russia over the last few days.

Boris Akunin himself confirmed in an interview to the BBC that the director of the publishing company which publishes his books “is being dragged to the tax police”. At that the author of the novels about the detective Erast Fandorin explained “this is no ordinary tax check. It was directly said that they were only interested in the publishing company’s relationship with me, Grigory Chkhartishvili”.

On the actions of the authorities in relation to ethnic Georgians, Akunin said: “In the country over the last few days, there has been, I use the word quite deliberately, fascist hysteria. It has become unsafe to be a brunette.”

The writer is convinced that the conflict with Georgia will abate. However he believes “the issue is not one of cancelling flights, and not of economic or diplomatic steps. It concerns what is happening in Russia, and what remains in the mass consciousness from all this dirt.”

“A country in which the national issue is a sore subject, avidly takes in everything from the television, and that is given encouragement by the authorities. It turns out that it’s OK to beat up those “brunettes”

Akunin compared what was happening with the situation in Tsarist Russia before the Revolution – “All those pogroms encouraged by the authorities.”  “The authorities thought that that would consolidate patriotic forces. And just that idiocy is being repeated now in front of our eyes. This in my opinion is the worst crime that the authorities can commit”.

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