23 July 2020
Lev Rubinshtein, poet, essayist
We have to hand it to them – the narrative they’re imposing has certain merits. We should face the facts and admit that it has a certain diabolical brilliance, while still being nefarious in the extreme.
The whole dirty trick can be summed up more or less as follows:
“A certain Yury Dmitriev, who calls himself a historian – yes, that’s the one, the guy who spent many years telling people a pack of lies about the alleged crimes of what he calls Stalinism, and who quite successfully positioned himself as some kind of exalted idealist who was above such sordid considerations as money – has turned out to be a paedophile of the basest kind. It was plain as day when you think about it.
How do I know? What do you mean, how do I know – a court sentenced him. Are you trying to say that I shouldn’t believe a sentence handed down by one of our courts? Whom and what should I believe, if I can’t believe an impartial court? What do you take me for, a legal nihilist or something? God knows where that would get us!
You liberals, you’re talking about the law all the time. And here is the law in action! Here is a court, witnesses, lawyers for the defence, expert testimonies – everything is as it should be. So why are you complaining yet again? Didn’t you want the rule of law? Didn’t you want a separation of powers, like in your beloved West? Well, here it is!
And by the by, there are many outraged citizens that would quite rightly like to know why this paedophile got such a short prison sentence.
To be quite honest with you, I can’t understand it either. But what can you expect? Our courts are simply paragons of mercy. We live in a country that has a tradition of dispensing justice fairly; it puts people in prison, lets them out, executes them, rehabilitates them, buries them, disinters them. And it will also erect a monument in honour of Zurab Tsereteli, made from expensive non-ferrous metals, because our country spares no expense on things like that, and – most importantly – it is infinitely just.
Did the court really hand down too short a sentence? Well, perhaps it is a bit short. But we’re not in America here, thank God, we don’t put people behind bars for 130 years.”
The scoundrels writing for the media don’t believe in what these courts say any more than you or I do (and I use the term “courts” in the loosest possible sense). They know just as well – and perhaps better – than us what’s really going on.
Anyone who isn’t a complete imbecile understands exactly what’s going on.
And this is what is so intolerable about the whole situation.
They say that it is necessary to understand that the underhandedness and effrontery underlying all of this political spin complies with certain rules, strategies and conventions. They say that if you understand this, it will become a little easier and a little more straightforward to exist in this time and in this place.
They say that it is necessary to understand, but I don’t wish to put myself through the torture of understanding.
All of my individual and collective social and aesthetic experiences, all of the books I’ve read, all the acquaintances, friendships and liaisons, both useful and useless, all of the conclusions I’ve reached to date in one way or another about good and evil, wisdom and stupidity, simplicity and complexity, honesty and dishonesty, honour and duplicity – all of this, both jointly and separately, runs counter to any such understanding. Because an understanding of this kind would mean an acceptance of sorts, and an acknowledgement of this whole charade as simply a normal variation rather than a pernicious social and moral disease.
And this is what we must not allow.
Translated by Joanne Reynolds