Aleksandr Podrabinek: If God wants to punish a country, he sends its oppositionists into emigration.

17 February 2024

by Aleksandr Podrabinek

Source: Facebook

Today I watched Radio Svoboda’s “Margins of the Week” with Mumin Shakirov, about the fate of Aleksei Navalny. I only lasted through three invited émigrés: Vitaly Mansky, Leonid Gozman, and Elena Lukyanova. Then I turned it off—when it got both ridiculous and disgusting. 

Vitaly Mansky, a former state-approved documentarian, sitting in complete safety at the Svoboda studio, complained vociferously that since Navalny’s death 300,000-400,000 people had not come out on the streets in Moscow and that people hadn’t announced obstruction against the Putin regime. To the host’s question, “What is to be done?” he began from far back to lead up to the fact that there is no getting along without powerful counterpropaganda, which requires, in addition to serious analysis, entertaining content that someone should start making. And it was obvious how hard it was for him to keep himself from exclaiming: “It’s me! Me! I can do that, take me!” All his concerns were about his beloved self.

In his six minutes of conversation about Navalny, Leonid Gozman kept returning endlessly to the fact that he (Gozman) had been driven out of the country and he was going to return as soon as the threat of arrest disappeared (that is, when someone in Russia fixed everything and guaranteed Gozman’s safety!), and that he had had no other choice than to leave. And this is in the context of the death of Aleksei Navalny, who wasn’t afraid to return! Why did Navalny have a choice and Gozman didn’t? And why does Gozman need to discuss Gozman’s choice today, when everyone is upset over Navalny’s tragedy?

He also had something classy to say about the Russian opposition. It turns out the “great opposition” is the tens and hundreds of thousands of zealots who were driven out of the country to the West, where they are offering effective resistance to the Putin regime. Not Kara-Murza, Yashin, Gorinov, Kriger, or the hundreds of other political prisoners, not those who at risk to their own freedom go out on the street to protest, but these armchair fighters fighting with the help of microphones at comfortable Western congresses and conferences, who go to Russian consulates and embassies to protest under the protection of local police and discuss the strategy of bloody war in their cozy Parisian and Berlin cafés. “This, here, is the opposition,” as Leonid Gozman explained to us.

Elena Lukyanova, a former member of the MGK KPRF [Moscow Municipal Committee of the Russian Communist Party], was a little simpler and kept emphasizing what a marvelous “specialist in government and society” she is and how clearly she sees what others don’t. Again, mostly about herself. The host tried to bring her back to reality, but without much success. Lukyanova spoke with aplomb about the events in Russia and her prognoses—which was so ridiculous that I turned off the radio at that. 

If God wants to punish a country, he sends its oppositionists into emigration.

Translated by Marian Schwartz

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