Aleksandr Podrabinek: Return of the “Commander-in-Shit” and the “Rat Army”

10 October 2021

by Aleksandr Podrabinek

Source: Vot-Tak TV 

The Belgorod Oblast Investigative Committee has charged a seventeen year old with public justification of terrorism based on his post about Timur Bekmansurov and Ilnaz Galyaviev. Both are guilty of mass murder. Both are alive and in custody.

As The Insider writes, the investigation asserts that the adolescent “posted a text message accessible to an unlimited number of individuals accompanied by images of Timur Bekmansurov and Ilnaz Galyaviev, who were involved in murders committed in 2021 at educational institutions in Kazan and Perm, as well as images of an automatic weapon.”

If the investigation considers posting a text and photographs of murderers to be justification of terrorism, then this is doubly surprising, since both murderers have been charged not with terrorism but with the premeditated murder of two or more individuals. Where does justification of terrorism come in here? Is this glaring ignorance or legal sloppiness?

A Fire from a Wreath

Perhaps not quite as dramatic but similar in its legal absurdity is an incident that occurred a few days ago in Miass, in the Urals, where the municipal court sent a 40-year-old homeless tramp to the remand centre for two months.

The poor freezing man had either started a fire from a wreath at a local memorial or else used the “eternal flame” burning there to dry his wet socks. Not the smartest move. He was tied up and charged with vandalism. The charge is far-fetched and excessive, and the act itself barely qualifies for a fine.

However, the case attracted the interest of Aleksandr Bastrykin, head of the Russian Investigative Committee. After being upset and thinking it over, he demanded that the police hand over the case to the Investigative Committee and change the charge to “rehabilitation of Nazism.” One wonders where the socks and Nazism come in.

This is definitely not legal ignorance or even sloppiness. What a complicated chain of conclusions Bastrykin had to construct in his ideology-stricken brain in order to link a tramp’s wet socks to justification of a Nazi regime!

“Vermin,” Foreign Agents, and Other Enemy Intrigues 

Not only law enforcement but even civilians have gotten carried away by the hunt for “vermin.”  Ekaterina Mizulina, a member of Russia’s Public Chamber, reported a few days ago that the League for a Safe Internet, which she heads, has asked the Interior Ministry and the Investigative Committee to look into the compositions of nine performers popular among children and adolescents in whose songs the League’s experts have uncovered propaganda of terrorism.

The simplicity with which these enthusiastic people find enemies is simply breathtaking. Next they could discover that all Russian terrorists eat bread at dinner and on this basis demand the abolition of bread baking throughout the country.

Aleksandr Ionov, a former member of the Moscow Public Oversight Commission, never tires of penning denunciations asking that oppositionists and independent media be deemed foreign agents. And he is not alone in engaging in this kind of activity. The search for “enemies of the people” has become a popular activity.

The importunate demand to see in every unusual action the intrigues of enemies of the people attests very clearly to the rebirth of the totalitarian consciousness among the ruling elite. Actually, this consciousness never went away during the post-Soviet years, it just hid in the shadow of democratic rhetoric and declarations about a new Russia. But the permanent state did a somersault, and the old Stalinist paranoia with the search for foreign agents and Western spies now has a second wind.

The current accusations against people for justifying terrorism or Nazism differ little, essentially, from the charges of terror as practiced in the era of Stalinism brought against people who had intentionally or carelessly spoiled portraits or busts of Stalin.

“Commander-in-Shit” and “Stalin-Scum”

In The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn tells the story of a 14-year-old orphanage girl who is sentenced to 10 years’ incarceration for knocking off the head of a plaster statue of Stalin. And this was not a one-time instance.

We know from numerous memoirs that newspaper employees, especially editors and proofreaders, were subjected to harsh repressions for typos. Such typos as leaving the “r” out of “Stalingrad” [“Stalingad,” or, Stalin-scum] or changing the “a” to an “i” in “Red Army” [turning “red” into “rat”].

In the 25 October 1944 issue of the Tashkent newspaper Pravda Vostoka, in a message of congratulations from the Yugoslav Communist leader Josip Broz-Tito to Red Army Supreme Commander Stalin, the “l” was left out of “glavnokomanduyushchemu” [commander-in-chief], so that the congratulation was addressed to the “gavnokomanduyushchemu” [commander-in-shit].

People say the entire editorial staff was shot, but according to other information, some of the newspaper’s associates were just given lengthy prison camp terms. Right now it’s hard to establish what punishment was inflicted on them for their blunder, but it is perfectly clear that the NKVD treated an innocent proofreading error as counterrevolutionary activity, sabotage, diversion, and treason.

Today the state and its willing helpers are scouring the country for people who can be ascribed to a “fifth column.” They aren’t afraid of Stalinism’s return. Due to their limited mental capacities and weak imaginations, they don’t even understand that the hammer of repressions will inevitably fall on them, too. This wouldn’t matter, but a country that hasn’t recovered from communism can scarcely withstand yet another onslaught of personal or ideological dictatorship.

Translated by Marian Schwartz

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