• Marina

The Past and the Present


"Lies and shame is your emblem, the spicas for which you export from the USA,” wrote the writer Geliy Snegirev (1977) in a letter to Leonid Brezhnev. Snegirev was arrested and died after several months of prison torment.

Recently I found my birth certificate which bears the same emblem. Looking at it I wonder, how come I was born into a Communist dictatorship and am now trapped by another form of dictatorship?

In the USSR, if the party says that 2+2 equals five, then it is five. After this system collapsed, we had a few years of relative freedom. When I was 12 putin came into power and started to build his insidious regime. His opponents ended up in jail, being poisoned, shot or simply “disappeared”. Despite all this, we still had independent media, human rights foundations and mass protests.

In the last years and especially since the beginning of the ***, repressions became rapid. There’s a similar relationship with truth as it was in the Soviet Union. Last month they closed the faculty of political journalism at the State University and the high school of Economics had to close its specialization "Human Rights and Democratic Governance.” Total of 811 information resources have been blocked by the state, and we’ve seen the return of denunciations and terms like “national traitor”.

The Justice Ministry closed the Russian offices of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Bell Foundation and Carnegie Endowment for "violations of law.” Apparently, human rights are against the law once more.

Thousands of people have been arrested for anti-*** protests, many with charges so absurd that it deserves a book of its own.

We have new laws about “fake news” and “discrediting the Russian army”, which means 2+2 equals whatever state propaganda wants to say.

I feel I’m in a time machine that is rushing back through history. Will we stop at the economic disaster of the 90s or the late decomposition of the USSR? Or maybe 1937, the year of Stalin's “purges”? Will we have another revolution and civil war? Or perhaps we go deeper in time to the violence of the Tsars?

With our past and present colliding, the future seems dark.

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