Day of Remembrance, Day of Protest
This Remembrance Day for the Victims of Political Repression comes at a time when the state, which even before had not shown former GULAG prisoners any great concern, has simply denied any obligation towards them.
I will not repeat the bitter and angry words expressed with regard to this by those with more standing. I would like to mention just one, in my opinion, decisive circumstance.
Denial of responsibility for ones own crimes, and we are talking about the states own crimes since the present state declared itself to be the successor of the Soviet state, can mean only the readiness to continue such crimes.
This forces us to accept as fact that all of the numerous violations of civil rights in our country are not just unfortunate chance events, but manifestations which hit one in the eye of a deliberate policy of reviving the Soviet repressive regime which called itself “real socialism”.
The problem is not that the President, or State Duma or the Ministers are bad. We are bad, not being able, and not wishing to stand up for our civil rights and freedoms, letting ourselves be convinced that theyre not worth fighting for, allowing ourselves to be set against each other, and under the pretext of that enmity, depriving us of the little that we had.
Yes, we are bad in simply not being prepared to comprehend that the state is not something sacred for which we must sacrifice ourselves and others, but a machine for running our common matters. This machine is useful only in as much as it remains under our control.
When however it slips out of our control, all kinds of aberrations begin – collectivization of the rural economy by tightening control on the peasantry (and on everyone else at the same time), strengthening defence by killing almost all your marshals and generals, fighting fascism by signing a pact of “friendship forever” with Nazi Germany, affirming “friendship of nations” by deporting them from their native lands to their deaths in Siberia and Central Asia, “establishing constitutional order” through destroying entire cities, “consolidating the power structure” through depriving us of the right to elect our own representatives to the Senate (and Governors to boot), “systematizing the system of concessions” by cutting them to the level of degrading hand-outs.
And the search for any “enemies of the people”, whether represented by Trotsky, or Yavlinksy… And as the inevitable consequence of such a course and its necessary condition, ever more widespread political repression.
Bearing all of this in mind, I believe that this 30 October 2006 should be considered not only a Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Political Repression in the past, but a Day of Protest against new repression – present and future.
Leonid Trus is a former political prisoner, and member of the Novosibirsk Human Rights Society “Memorial”