This week our guest on the podcast is Tatyana Voltskaya, journalist and poet from St Petersburg, against whom a criminal case was opened in April for so-called “fake news”. Among other things, Tatyana talks about her prosecution, about the case of Svetlana Prokopyeva in Pskov and about freedom of speech in Russia. She also reads her poems – including a poem about Yury Dmitriev.
This podcast is in the Russian language.
The music is from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, played here by Karolina Errera.
We have also made a second podcast this week that consists exclusively of extracts from our main podcast in which Tatyana Voltskaya reads her poetry – including one about her prosecution and one about Yury Dmitriev. You can listen to these poems here: https://soundcloud.com/rightsinrussia/saymon-i-sergey-tatyana-voltskaya-chitaet-svoi-stikhi
Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: I don’t remember which poet wrote: “Our poems are taken seriously. They shoot you for poetry”. The Journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva said in her final address to the court at her trial: “Repression is developing gradually. It is impossible to predict when restrictions on rights and persecution of dissent will turn into concentration camps and shootings”. Yesterday Simon Cosgrove and I spent an hour in an interesting conversation with the poetess Tatiana Voltskaya. She is not only known for her poetry. She is a journalist who interviewed a St. Petersburg intensive care specialist. The doctor told Tatiana about the work of St. Petersburg hospitals, about the lack of doctors and ventilators during the coronavirus pandemic. Soon after the publication of the text about the terrible reality, the authorities showed an interest in the article and it soon became clear to her that the authorities – instead of helping the sick, doctors and hospitals – had decided to prosecute her for a criminal offence. The reason was the interview, ‘People are being switched off from life support. An intensive care doctor speaks about the hellish conditions of work.’ They decided to immediately apply the newly adopted Article 207.1 of the Criminal Code. We can, of course, only be glad that Tatyana Voltskaya is not going to be shot for her article. That her case has reportedly been reclassified from criminal to administrative. But, as Tatiana writes, “Captain Chernetsov opens his mouth, and his smooth teeth whiten” – this Leviathan, if he retreats, then a little. If he retreats, then in order to regroup his forces for evil, and again get his teeth into those who tell the truth, write poetry, or put on performances. They will be tormented by prosecutions, courts, fines. And only peaceful protest by civil society will be able to postpone the moment when persecution of dissent turns into concentration camps and shootings. Listen to our conversation with Tatiana Voltska and her wonderful podcast poetry.
Simon Cosgrove adds: If you want to listen to this podcast on the podcasts.com website and it doesn’t seem to play, please download by clicking on the three dots to the right. A summary of some of the week’s events in Russia relevant to human rights can be found on our website here.