Igor Sutyagin: Please do not forget those behind bars...
On 9 July, Igor Sutyagin, scientist and former political prisoner who has spent 11 years in prisons and camps, was pardoned by presidential decree and forcibly deported from Russia: “ please – ‘don’t leave off trying,’ as Okudzhava said, don’t relent in your efforts to protect those people who still see ‘the sky through prison bars’ above their heads – they remain in great need of your help ”
Greetings! I want to thank you so very much for having supported me and my family all these years. The concern you have shown has been absolutely invaluable for me!
And despite the circumstances of my release, I know that I am obliged for the chance to see the sky without bars not to spies and intelligence agents, but to the campaign supporting me and other convicted scientists that has been conducted all these years both in our country and abroad.
Therefore, please, ‘don’t leave off trying,’ as Okudzhava said, don’t relent in your efforts to protect those people who still see ‘the sky through prison bars’ above their heads – they remain in great need of your help.
Everything is much easier for me now: I am returning to myself and gaining in strength. I very much want to see my wife, my daughters, my parents and brother (and all of you, too!) and I intend at last to return to Obninsk and repair the porch that has completely fallen down on our little wooden house there, set in four hundred square metres of land on the other side of the river Protva.
A little sooner or a little later, I do not know yet, but happen it will, so everything is basically all right with me. But others still need to get out of prison. Do not forget them, please!
And another thing, please forgive me for the fact that I did not address words of gratitude to you immediately on my arrival on British soil. You know, the sudden release from behind bars (together with being sent to a completely different country!) unexpectedly proved to be much more difficult for me than I could have imagined.
No matter how I sought to withstand life in prisons and penal colonies set in many different parts of Russia, for a few days after 9 July I had to make great efforts to pull myself together, to do even such a banal thing as to make my handwriting legible, and to stop all kinds of thoughts crowding incoherently in my mind. And then...In the first place, I phoned my relatives and through daily phone calls have sought to reassure them.
Of course, this may seem somewhat ungrateful... But do not misunderstand me, please! My thanks are always with you!
I know that there are many questions you would like to ask me, a huge list of things that you would like to know. We shall definitely return to all these questions, I promise - just a little bit later, if you’ll agree?
I shall take a little time to rest, gather my strength, and put my thoughts in order, thoughts that have been stirred up and confused by eleven years in prison and the sudden release - and then there will be time to talk, to go through all that has happened and to discuss the most important things. And in the meantime, I would just like once again most humbly to say: thank you so very much.
And forgive me for the unreasonably prolonged silence. I believe and I really want you to believe, too, that everything will be fine, one way or another, sooner or later. And in great part thanks to you.
20 July 20, 2010