09.12.2000 | S. Kovalev, Moscow

‘The social custom to obey the inner censor is our main problem…’


I believe that the right, in that distinct and high sense which is used in ‘Memorial’, is policy, policy of the future. Certainly, Putin’s advent supported by the society is a very strong and obvious step, and I even cannot say whether it is a step back. I even do not know how many steps ahead have been made. Certainly, several have been made, but they intervened with others. In the society and in the country permanently and simultaneously steps to different directions are made. I want to tell my prediction: the political course of those scriptwriters, who realize the course now, is doomed to be eclectic. There will be appeals on the necessity of the partnership with the West; first of all it will be economic partnership and obtaining credits. There will be declarations what must a citizen of Russia do in his working time and out-of-work time. Perhaps, the former colonel will learn what is politically correct, and he will understand that in the society, where the word ‘liberalism’ has not be-come a swear word yet, it is better to express oneself very accurately. Certainly, no political force in Russia, influential or not, which got the power, has not enough forces to turn back. But in my opin-ion the main problem of the country is that a prison guard sitting inside everybody’s skin is much more efficient than the prison guard on the tower. We do not need any literary censorship. A sufficiently long experience of our mass media shows that censorship works without any special office, since inner censors work efficiently and, beside the whip, a pancake appeared in the from of high income. This combination works much more efficiently than the former censorship. This makes our main inner problem, in my opinion, the inner problem having international scale. All serious inner problems, such as Russian-Ukrainian and Russian-Belarussian problems, are simultaneously the most important international problems. The public wish to obey the inner censor is our main problem. However much would we take into consideration the public mood, that is public errors, we shall earn nothing. We can be only ourselves. It goes without saying that we must be very accurate in expressing our viewpoints, but that is all we can do. We must not get soft in accounting for popular prejudices. I believe that such a policy is the policy of the future. This policy is very frank, open and genuine. And we must not be afraid who and what will think about this. We must be afraid of inner contradictions, of bad logic, of emotional gushes, but this relates to that what we must do and what we must attain, but not to the impression about what we are doing. At last, some words on the interaction with our sister-organizations, NGOs, for example, par-ties and political forces. Here, it seems to me, we must set up mutual relations not only with ‘Yabloko’ or what remained from SPS. It is promising to contact with such organizations having de-clared quite distinctly our own position and our assessment on the mutual relations. Maybe, the co-operation may be continued to those who call themselves democrats. Maybe, some public organizations can become a partner of this probable association, the association, having its own face with its hard position but without categorical refusal to cooperate. It seems to me that such interaction is possible and even desirable. (From the speech of S. Kovalev at the sitting of the directorate if the International historical-educational, charity and human rights protection society ‘Memorial’ held on 10-11 May 2000 in Moscow)

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