A WICKED FATHER
I have spent a lot of time looking at the TV screen, studying the face of the man who rules Russia. This is an evasive face and an evasive look that does not want to meet any other, that does not want to meet our popular looks. If he has the possibility, he hides his look. Watch it yourself. Possibly he is not confident about himself, or he does not want to look at us. Not at you and me concretely, but the TV camera is us.
I also carefully listen to his talks, how he is speaking, if he stumbles or speaks smoothly. He speaks evenly, mainly without an intonation. Only sometimes Putin allows himself to puts himself out in a sucessfuly-repressed access of agitation. This is when he is angry. Then his muscles show on his cheekbones.
By all the enumerated signs, he gives the impression of a bad person who carefully hides his bad character under an indifferent business-like mumbling and turning his eyes away from us. Since the president is short, possibly he has always problems with appearing significant and for this goal he developed a sum of tricks. A business-like, rapid and cold speech creates the effect of distancing from others, isolates him. Not closing his eyes also serves the same goal. By isolating himself he elevates himself. From him we do not have to expect drunken scandals humiliating for Russia, which characterized his predecessor Yeltsin; we do not have to expect open hot anger in public. Maybe it is not bad that he does not behave like Ivan the Terrible in front of the TV cameras, but on the other hand it is worse if he has a revengeful character and he settles his scores with people behind the scenes. Not by himself. But with the help of efficient faithful servants. For example the Prosecutor General, for example the Federal Security Service, for example, with the help of the justice ministry, the Prisons Department, for example with the help of the central electoral commission…
Sometimes president Putin’s impassivity and inhumanity work against him, like in the case with the Kursk submarine. Then, you remember, he stayed in the hot Sochi, on the shore of the south sea, while only by his duty as president he must have urgently left to the shores of the Barents Sea. And there lead the rescue of the sailors, at least a bold attempt of rescue. He must have immediately go into the water on the shore, in boots and hasten the rescuers. In rubber boots. He must have used all proposals that came from foreign States, to use any help. And when, a few days later, nothing could be done anymore, he, exhausted, with the trace of sleepless nights, must have stood on the background of this cold sea that became the grave of one hundred eighteen Russian sailors and told to the camera: “Country citizens, Russian people, I did all I could, I couldn’t do anything else!” However he did not do this and we saw him tanned and calm on the shore of the south sea, in a polo shirt. He proved to be inhuman for the first time then. He proved to be indifferent. And then followed his historical cold answer to Larry King’s question: “What happened with your Kursk submarine? “It sunk”, simply informed the president, with a meek and calm expression on his face. He did not even have the idea to declare a national mourning. Already then it became clear to what level he is indifferent to his compatriots. The president’s face is brightened with sincere smiles, cordiality and sympathy only when we see him meeting big western leaders, his friends: Bush, Berlusconi, and Schroeder. Here his charm is lightening up. A question: why isn’t he the same with us, with the Russian citizens? He thinks that we need to be treated with severity or at least impassionately?
We mostly see him on television on the background of the old fashioned, “a la tsar” Kremlin furniture. He is sitting on small couches embroidered with brocade with carved and curved legs and on similar chairs. The wallpaper and the curtains, on the background of which we see him have necessarily the drawing of two-headed eagles. With a hint or an eloquent statement: here are the tsarist attributes of the president’s power. But we have a republic since the times of the February revolution of 1917! Or do I misunderstand the two-headed eagles? Since I have lived in France for a long time I remember that Francois Mitterand has sat on similar furniture, on couches with curved legs for two presidential terms. But I still did not see royal lilies and crowns there, in the Elysee Palace, on television. Pavel Pavlovich Borodin, the restaurateur of the president’s Kremlin palace apparently followed the models of the French presidents’ Elysee Palace because the furniture in the American president’s White House is less curved, the couches there are more linear and simple. My opinion is that the president of Russia, a country where from one third to half of the population are poor should not appear surrounded by such bad furniture of old fashioned wealth. My opinion is that Putin’s daily-televised meetings with the ministers around the same small table showed to the entire country is only an akward performance. That this little table was initially intended by its creators to play cards almost. There is no evidence that this table serves the president for work: there are no spread papers, no folders or files, no computer. Why cheat the population in such a vulgar manner? Imitate work. Here he is, Putin, in the business-like monotonous voice of a firm president (hiding his eyes) asks questions to a minister: “Why didn’t you do so and so?” The minister, holding a folder and coughing, affirms: “so and so is already done and this and that will be done in a week.” The citizen must be happy. The president is sober, the work is advancing. The minister is caughing; the affairs are in the folder. Or maybe these are old newspapers?
I am very interested to know what is our president’s ideal leader image? It is clear that it is not a worker in a darned jacket with folders occupying the entire table and that have migrated to the little sofas and broken them. Or whose personal computer is straining itself with all its megabytes and cannot hold all the presidential documentation. It is clear that Putin’s ideal is not Lenin who burned his brain with work, dictating to three typists at once in the puffs of smoke emitted by the workers and soldier deputies. Many important KPSS members renounced Lenin in 1990-91, entire battalions and regiments of party functionaries slammed their party cards against the table! From 1990 the retired KGB lieutenant colonel worked with his former Leningrad State University teacher Sobchak, sharing his views, so it is not Lenin, Sobchak would not have admitted a man with such ideals. One can understand the president’s political ideal with the help of his personal esthetic tastes that have particularly showed during his two inaugurations. I have already described the inaugurations in detail in the chapter “You seem to think you are a tsar”. He imitates Russian autocracy, our country’s ideology until 1917. Mister president of the Russian Federation has turned to autocracy as a model. Both consciously and unconsciously. More unconsciously, so to speak, the call of the blood, the traditions, since in our country every policeman racketeering stalls near the metro behaves like an autocrat… I will return to autocracy later; I only ask to understand and to accept my observations over Russia’s leader. This is important.
I will cite the New York Times. The newspaper tells its readers about the press conference of Russia’s president. “Even when Putin was speaking calmly and even softly his declarations were visibly harsh… When he was talking with someone his body behaved like during a duel. When he was asked questions he often leaned back against the chair, moving his shoulders or stretching his back like an athlete between approaches… When the question was asked he leaned forward, transferring his weight to his forearms and giving detailed answers… His declarations recalled the style of an active micromanager.” This is how the Washington Post characterized the same press conference: “The Russian leader spoke for three hours, bursting in anger outbreaks and attacking the critics of Russian politics with a grimacing face.”
“ Irritated, angry, with grimaces.” Nobody from the foreign journalists saw the president kind. I have never seen him kind. Either he cannot be kind by his nature, or he thinks that his functions – Russia’s president – obligate him to stay wicked. Most probably he is unkind by his nature and thinks that a tsar must be harsh and wicked. In Russian history the people ingratiatingly called their tsar “little father”. The word “tsar – little father” supposes some touch of kindness; the people hoped for the tsar’s kindness. And they also said “tsar-sovereign”; mostly this address is seen in popular prints about Peter the Great. Peter the Great was clearly not a little father for the people; he was a bad, mustached, bearded cruel father. President Putin is also behaving like our father, wicked, demanding, grimaces, hiding his eyes. He beats up his family, don’t expect a smile from him, does not give gifts. And he did not built Saint Petersburg, gives up lands. And demands that we readily go to the war he has invented and sacrifice ourselves for the terrorists in our cities. The Chechens do not want to live in his family but he is keeping them by force, by beatings. Vladimir Vladimirovich, mister President, do you firmly believe that you can force your family to live together with you with beatings? Without love, with beatings? No, you don’t, I suppose. Then why are you forcing the entire country to suffer you?
Russia’s president considers us his subjects, like a tsar, confounding concepts – there are too many two-headed eagles around him. But we are not his subjects and we are not in the XIX century. We are the citizens of a non-free country, yes, but we are not the subjects of this wicked tsar-father. And he tries to rule us like a wicked tsar.
There is no doubt that this man, heading the Russian State, has lost himself in time. He and his army of functionaries. And all his servants: prosecutor generals and FSB gendarmes, the structure of his State is a tsarist one. Let us recall what Lermontov wrote:
Russia, miserable Russia
Country of slaves, country of masters,
And you, blue uniforms,
And you, obedient people…
So nothing has changed. Everything has come back. All these “Butchers of freedom, genius and glory/ a greedy crowd standing at the throne.” Everything is in place. We can make a roll call.
The prosecutor general wears a “blue uniform”. Here they are, these guardians of law, weighting between 150 and 200 kilograms: Ustinov, Kolesnikov: some are thin like all deputy generals, Kolmogorov, Biryukov, Shepel and others. Ustinov (the prosecutor general, the main supervisor over the execution of laws that has recently proposed to take the terrorists’ relatives in hostages) and his team. Everybody answers: “Present! We’re here! Ready to serve!”
– The Cossacks? Where are the Cossacks?
– Present! – The cops answer. – We are the Cossacks of this regime. We disperse popular meetings.
– Is the third section, the okhranka, present?
– We’re here, the gang from the Federal Security Service answers. Masters of provocation, attentive listeners and secret agents with big hot ears. “State security” that allowed to destroy the USSR in 1991 and that is now specialized in the beating and capture of boys and girls from the NBP. Knights of cape and dagger that have arrested me on charges of organizing a seizure from Kazakhstan populated by Russians of the Eastern-Kazakh region, organizing illegal armed groups and buying arms for this goal. Just think about it, the Russian special services arrested me for this! They should have given me a medal for this, if they thought that. Why did they put me in prison, me, a patriot? And they intended to leave me behind bars forever, to leave me rot there. Only they did not manage to prove, how sad. – The okhranka is here, the FSB doesn’t sleep!
– Where are the people from Okhotny Ryad? – Those with big bellies (before they had beards too, but now they are smooth-faced), the most reactionary obscurantist forces in Russia. These were the merchants before, now it is the deputies.
– We are here, as usual, Okhotny Ryad, house number 2! – the United Russia deputies answer. They are so reactionary; soon they will forbid the birds to fly.
– Is the Union of Mikhail the Archangel present? – This one is unlikely to be here. But it is here. The Nashi organization headed by brother Yakemenko; lie in the eye, the services paid by the president’s Administration. Like a hundred years earlier they are always ready to break the skull of the Sovereign’s enemies. A modern feature: the insolents mockingly call themselves “antifascists” and Putin’s opponents – “fascists”.
On the first sight Rasputin seems to be missing, but there is the concrete Cathedral of Christ the Savior, there is the modified Principal Pope, ubiquitous like Rasputin, the Patriarch Alexey, he participates everywhere. They say for 500 kg of gold, given to him for goldening the domes of the church, in 1996 he called his flock not to vote for the communist Zyuganov. There are lesser popes, huge butts in skirts. What tsarism can there be without the popes? The archpriest Chaplin visited the Nashi on the Seliger; he blessed them for the beatings, the official representative of the Orthodox Church, with a two-meters waist.
Well, the functionaries, they are immortal everywhere! There are all sorts of them: fat and phlegmatic, like Mironov from the Federation Council, thin and hysterical like Veshnyakov from the Central Electoral Committee, polished like a piano, like Zurabov. (It seems this Zurabov is wearing two ties at the same time.) There was also Pochinok, a totally clumsy guy with saliva in the corner of his mouth, but he disappeared. And what about the hamster Stepashin… And Dmitry Kazak, or Kozak- his face is a combination of a saw with an axe. And this Grizlov, it seems that he has holes in his faces, he was eaten. He rusted to holes. My God! What kind of people is there! And the girls, the functionary girls, matriarchy, all in nail varnish, combed forever like the British queen, Slizka and Matvienko! Oh! The functionary girls with the mighty butts of hippopotamuses. There is not a good enough singer for you!
– We are here! The functionaries answer. And they all hid behind the little popularly elected, the wicked, they hid behind him and look up.
All these defenders of the throne probably think that they are the Holy Russia, respecting the bases. While, in reality they are characters from the past, gloomily conserved in Russia’s frozen climate. The Satanist Russia.
Putin’s autocracy’s main defect does not even consist of keeping the population in poverty. Putin’s group’s regime should not be measured by economic indicators (although even by these it looks miserable) but by the quantity of humiliations, suffering, pain and non-freedom brought to the citizens. By these indicators Putin’s regime must be condemned as inhuman. The unbearably haughty, anti-democratic, anti-civilizational, medieval attitude to the person – this is its principal defect. The model of a paternalist State with a severe father, its highness the “President-Boss” at the head of it is really a GUIN model of a prison camp. I was detained in one of those, Number 13, in the Zavolzhie steppes. There, obedient detainees are rewarded only with not being beaten, while the non-obedient ones are beaten, injured and killed. The model of a State-camp does not have to exist in the XIX century. Such States are not normal, they are gloomily old-fashioned.
He behaves like a bad father towards us. And himself?
He is not courageous. He did not go to the Center on Dubrovka, he flied to Beslan secretly, at night, so that no one apart from the local authorities see him, so that, God forbid, he meets the relatives of the victims face to face. Before the 2000 elections he arrived to Chechnya on a destroyer plane for pr, he spent a few hours there in the airport behind bayonets. During every crisis he is hiding and gets out when the storm is over.
He is not generous. Greedy. You can’t ask him for snow in winter. But Russia needs a kind president, a kind one, be it for the first time in its history, who will give out coats to people on Sadovoe Koltso in the cold. Who will give an amnesty to the exhausted prisoners. Who will come to the people, to the poor in their homes and talk to them and give them money. His money.
He is not noble. He keeps nine NBP girls in a cage because they came to the reception room of his administration, for a year now. He could have released at least the girls! But no, he is insensitive and unjust.
He took our freedoms away. All of them. He kept them all to himself.
He employs lies as a method of governing the State. He does not employ it as an exception, but as a rule!
He employs violence as a method of governing the State. He is a man of violence.
With the Constitution that we have, where the president’s rights are truly unlimited, they are greater than the rights that the Russian tsars had, the qualities of the president’s personality are not indifferent to us, the citizens. If he is angry and gives the order to raid the Center on Dubrovka with the help of an unknown gas, then it is we, the citizens and our children who die, and not Putin’s children. If in Beslan he gives the order to start a raid by faking an explosion from inside, then Ossetian and Russian children die in school Number 1, and not the children of the Putin couple. The second Chechen war (I have summed up a lot of information about its victims and gave an average number) has taken lives (here there are victims among civilians, federal troops and Maskhadov/Basayev’s fighters) thirty thousand people and the president calmly looks at this war like a profitable natural phenomenon and does not take measures to stop the war on purpose – it is a dangerous president. He is dangerous because he solves any crisis only by violence. Is he doing this because he comes from the special services or because he was born like this? We do not know why, but the widows and the relatives of those who died in Chechnya and Beslan’s mothers and fathers and the relatives of those who died on Dubrovka know that he is dangerous for us, the people.
Sometimes one can agree with what the president says, and he says a lot and willingly. But one cannot agree with what he does. Maybe only when he gives oats to the mini-horse Vadik. In the rest it is a wicked, apparently vindictive head of State, who became president thanks to an appointment. He organized a paternalist style of government for us, when he decides everything and we do not decide anything. He positioned himself as our wicked father.
In order to understand why he is dangerous, imagine thirty thousand dead bodies – disposed on the asphalt of the city of Moscow. He is not the only reason of the death of these people. But he too, with his personal qualities. The nazbols suffering in prison are right: