Navalny listened to the news of Gorbachev’s death in the camp. Where else in Putin’s Russia

Navalny listened to the news of Gorbachev’s death in the camp. Where else in Putin’s Russia
Navalny listened to the news of Gorbachev’s death in the camp. Where else in Putin’s Russia

Alexei Navalny, who is currently sitting in the camp where leader Vladimir Putin sent him after the court farce, describes his impressions of the news of Mikhail Gorbachev’s death. The connection between the news and the location caught Navalny’s attention.

“The prison radio reported the death of Mikhail Gorbachev. During his reign, the last political prisoners were released in the USSR. The fact that today people like me are learning of his death over loudspeakers in their prison cells perfectly characterizes the transformation of our country that this outstanding man initiated.

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My relationship with Gorbachev evolved from wild irritation – he stood in the way of the ‘radical democrats’ I adored – to sad respect. When these ‘radical democrats’ turned out to be mostly thieves and hypocrites, Gorbachev remained one of the few who did not use power and opportunity for personal gain and enrichment. He resigned peacefully and voluntarily, respecting the will of his constituents. That alone is a great achievement by the standards of the former USSR.

I am sure that his life and history, which were for the events of the end of XX. key century, descendants will be evaluated much more favorably than contemporaries.”

In general, we understand what Navalny writes. Despite all that is known about Gorbachev and the obituaries do not mention it. When we read Grobachev’s own memoirs, we are struck by how he speaks with respect about quite terrible figures, such as KGB chief Yuri Andropov and others. In the Baltic republics, due to the bloody interventions of the Soviet armed forces, they also perceive him differently. The truth about Chernobyl crawled out of the Kremlin like a furry blanket, furry like a Russian bear. This is all true.

But the contrast is still there. Under Gorbachev, it was possible to gradually start talking about forbidden topics. Suddenly, voting began in the elections. At the beginning of Gorbachev, political prisoners were still in the camps. Gorbachev became General Secretary in March 1985, and the Ukrainian poet Vasyl Semenovych Stus died in the Gulag on September 4, 1985. It was slow going, and Gorbachev’s Western admirers probably wouldn’t want to live in his USSR for even a week. But the direction of the whole thing was important, when one could hope that something would improve, and it did improve.

Since 2000, everything has been getting worse in Russia, and one can only guess where the bottom will be.


The article is in Czech

Tags: Navalny listened news Gorbachevs death camp Putins Russia

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