Ive always liked him for his wry, humorous way of talking about life and himself. He evenway to go, man!squeezed some laughs out of that story when he was tossed out of his own Jeep by a carjacker. Like, what did I expect showing off like I was Daddy Warbucks? But best of all, I like this one-liner: Hows the environment, you ask? What environment? Its the hoosegow!
I remember when in 1999, when Id just been released from prison, my first time, I told everyone during numerous meetings and discussions: Guys, there cant come nothing good out of a KGB spook, nothing, by definition, dont you get it? They wouldnt believe me. Theyd say, come on, theyd tell me hes actually a sheep in wolfs clothing. Hes a nobody and a nothing, and nothing will come of such a blend. Nothing good particularly But theyd look at me with pity.
Then followed the strangling of the NTV and TVS channels, newspapers, and magazines The emerging of a new brand of the pressservile press Babble about protection of the environment, a patronage of imports of spent nuclear fuel Perpetuated spymania Omnipresent hypocrisy Witch hunts for oligarchs Desecration of elections What good did he do since hes been in office? Can you remember? Can you? Shouldnt you shouldnt we all try to as the next electionhis electionis approaching?
Yes, of course our magazine is of an environmental and human rights orientation. But around us is our habitat, the environment in which we exist and where also they existthose who we are forced to be dependent on. Even though we dont elect them to be presidents and deputies. Even though they are elected by God knows who or why. But this is exactly why we will respond to the events that happen in our habitat. Including those events which affect the quality of our life. I, for one, do not wish bad to any of my readers: I do not wish there to be a hoosegow all around. It is there. Its quite visible, isnt it? Well, not to everyone, not yet.
It seems to me this new year will be a tough one for the environmental and human rights movement. And I still cant bring myself to share the excitement of those environmentalists and human rights advocates who, in spite of everything, nurture hopes of reaching mutual understanding with the state and its structures. Its enough for me to see the work of the Commission on Human Rights. Which is, by the way, quite modest.
It doesnt help to see how shriveled the financial support from foreign organizations has become. And ours wont spare a cent for environmental or human rights activities: the KGB shadow wont let them dare. The KGB, in their turn, will never give up their favorite clichй argument: See, of course these environmentalists are the enemythey feed on Western grants!
For many a year now, Russias been in the grip of a drawn-out civil war. One part of society is at war with another. Just look at our lap-dog courts. At the debauchery of bandits who, for some reason, call themselves prosecutors. At the way the state treats the rights of its people, including the right to live in an inhabitable environment. And everywhere, again, is lies and hypocrisy.
And so it will be. Because I, for one, still cant see nothing good coming from a KGB spook at the helm of a big country. Theres that old joke about a pianist in a Wild West saloon: Dont shoot the pianist, he simply cant play better. But its not a saloon pianist were talking about hereits the president of an enormous country, whose people deserve to live better, to live free.
Think for yourself who youd better vote for. I have no pointers for you here, because its worse than there being no choice to make: there is no choosing to begin with. Theres just a ragtag group of accidental tourists who have as good grounds to be president as the mentioned incumbentthat is, none.
P.S. When this issue was ready for publication, terrible news came from Moscow about an explosion in one of the capitals underground stations. Nearly 40 people died and dozens more were wounded
At the time, the Russian president was meeting with the president of Azerbaijan. He chose not to address his people. Did he have nothing to say? Or did he not think he owed us an answer to this question: Until when must Russia sit on this volcano? Maybe indeed we need a different president
Environment & Rights #12, February 2004