Issue No. 6

Publish date: February 1, 2003

At last, I've been released! Of course, my current freedom is relative, because my release was conditional. Though it was pre-term. My release was conditional and pre-term, release on parole for «good behavior» while inside. But what is freedom, by the way?


In front of the entrance to the living zone of the camp where I served my term, there was a slogan in enormously big letters: «Freedom is to depend only on the laws. Voltaire». The words, said by another philosopher, John Locke, as I remember, would never been posted there. He said that freedom is to depend only on your own will.

The labor camp was killing a journalist in me. I hope they failed.

While released, I was asked: «Will you write only about ecology?» I advised them to read the third issue of our magazine, «Environment and Rights». When Russian special forces stormed a theater where Chechen gunmen held more than 700 people hostage, and pumped a gas which killed 128 hostages, was this a problem of ecology or of the rights? I don’t know. What I know is that our magazine is comprised of professionals living in the today’s world, in the world, where the first law of ecology says: «everything is connected». I don’t know, how can I categorize the terms «ecology of spirit» or «ecology of soul». Who has no soul, isn’t concerned in today. Who has no spirit, doesn’t care about tomorrow either.

In the camp I received a letter from an Elena Ryabinina, living in Moscow. Being a person, as she says, very far off from ecological problems, she made a detailed analysis of several issues of our magazine. She asks us to pay more attention to the second word in our name, to the rights, to the laws, to the legislation. We’ll try to. One thing is clear: the magazine is needed. We’ll have a lot of work. But with every issue published it becomes easier to work at a new one. There is no fear now.

Maybe, we, journalists, would prefer writing about wildflowers, wood engraving and cactus growing, jug modeling or decorative fishes. But there are topics, kept in silence for some reasons. I mean Techa, Muslyumovo, Chernobyl, nuclear wastes… The war in Chechnya includes a war against the splendid nature of the North Caucasus. And we should even not speak, but shout about citizens’ rights being violated in our country after captains, imbued with militarism and witch-hunt, came to power.

A zeka, a prisoner in the camp, told me once: «If you keep on writing, you’ll be arrested again». It seems to be so… But now I know for sure, I have a lot of friends. «There is no fear now». However, we’ve never had fear. The problem is not our stubbornness. As Lion Feuchtwanger said, «pure existence of a fact doesn’t reconcile me with it». Captains want to become majors, while the earth, charred by napalm and heptyl, can’t be recovered. Like human soul can’t be recovered from lies and falsehood.

We’ll mention the names of those who supported me, who helped me to survive and to remain journalist. Supporting me, they supported us all. We are many. We are stronger than those who put us under arrest. And we are not afraid neither of unfair justice of our country, nor Justice of our children. Because our actions bring no shame upon our names.

Grigory Pasko,

Environment and Rights,


Environment & Rights #6, February 2003