Ukrainian Anthem in Russian Jails

August 26, 2015
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Ukrainian Anthem in Russian Jails

Only a few years ago it was impossible to imagine that one would hear the Ukrainian national Anthem on the court premises somewhere in Russia. Who would have thought that it would be so soon that there would be Ukrainian political prisoners of Putin’s regime? 

Film director Oleh Sentsov and social activist Oleksander Kolchenko were sentenced to 20 and 10 years of imprisonment respectively in a clearly thumbed-up case. One a film director, the other - a civic activist. To 20 and 10 years! In a colony of intensive regime! 

Many prominent cultural figures from around the world expressed their strong support for Sentsov last year. But those liberals and apologists of universal human values shall not be mentioned! Because even Nikita Mikhalkov exhorted Putin to release the fellow-director! Many of Ukrainian bloggers enthusiastically embraced this news, saying, it’s going to be ok now, if even Mikhalkov shows his support! However, in my understanding, back then Mikhalkov only legitimized today's sentence. He showed that even a person so of such influence and so close to the "throne" cannot affect the court’s decision, which a priori is supposed to be unconditional and impartial. As they see it, that is. 

When we observe the cannibalistic grin of Russia’s criminal system on dissidents, let us not forget that the current Russian elite consists to a great extent of the former KGB officers – a very special caste of Soviet people, for whom no rules were written, who had a mandate to disregard the law for some “higher goal's” sake. As they see it, that is. 

More recently, I involuntarily think of Russian Federation in comparison to ISIS. What I mean is that it is also a state only appearance where violence rules. They both commit crimes against humanity, against law, and against common sense – acts that should be absolutely unacceptable in the 21-st century. The difference between RF and IS does exist. For now, at least. It is clear that Russia is a country with a long history and a considerable cultural, scientific and other heritage. IS, on the other hand, is not burdened by historical memory, it kills people and destroys priceless cultural monuments as quickly as their ammo and explosives arrive. Russia still plays the game of civilization, although it’s already started to apply flagrant legal arbitrariness upon territories and persons. But I think that the heritage I mentioned above is considered rather a burden to current Russian leadership who is ready to get rid of it in a blink of an eye when they think the time is right.   

Peter I, Ekaterina II, Alexander III, Ivan IV, Dostoevsky and Mussorgsky, "Onegin" and "War and Peace," Lomonosov, Mendeleev, and Sakharov – the all are packed in the last train cars and stand ready for decoupling. After that, this locomotive of madness will run at a breakneck speed without a conscious driver, without any brakes. 

Surely, no analyst can rationally explain or predict Russia's behavior today. Perhaps divination by coffee grounds could be of any help, but even this method is difficult to apply when it’s a cup without a bottom.   

The verdict for Sentsov and Kolchenko evokes in me not just resentment or anger, but also disgust. Yes, looking at Putin’s hostages behind the bars, one might think that they lost this battle. But the words of Ukraine's National Anthem in Russian torture chambers testify to the ultimate victory of the prisoners' spirit: as free spirits, they will never be defeated. 

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