By Edward Limonov
From the time of Peter the Great, Russia is copying Europe. That copying process has costed us a lot of blood, probably enormous millions of liters of blood every century. Construction of only one city of St. Petersburg on the Baltic coast in the midst of swamps, so-called "Window to Europe," been paved by hundreds of thousands of lifes. Citizens have died of malaria and hard labor to satisfy European dream of tzar, who wanted to have his own Amsterdam! Our tzars have carefully copied European militarism, capitalism, and colonialism. Our revolutionaries have chosen to copy European anarchism and socialism and finally Marxism. Eventually Russia even surpassed the West: we constructed socialist dream. We never wanted to be ourselfs. We always wanted to be Westerners.
Nowadays is not different from good old days. In 1985, Gorbachev, guided by Mr. Yakovlev (USSR's ambassador to Canada), long-time admirer of West have started global changements in structure of socialist society, called "perestroika." Yakovlev and Gorbachev have been excited by Western values: human right, freedom of press, etc. So, fourteen years later, Russia, having lost one third of its territory with a half of its population is living in bloody mess. But even harsh lesson of perestroika haven't stopped Russian from copying the West.
Sudden and bloody invasion of Mr. Putin's armed forces into Chechnya are obviously copied from NATO's bombardment of Kosovo. Obviously very impressed by cold-blooded European murderers from the sky, Russian generals are happily working on Mr. Putin's promotional presidential campaign. "Piar" [Ed.--that is, public relations], is a la mode, much used word on Russian territory. "Piarshchik" is highly fashionable profession. All the girls now wants to meet "piarshchik" and marry such man. Bloody "piar" in going on steadily, slowly, in pace with translation from English (as Russian generals don't read English) of details of NATO's Kosovo operation.
From 1990 Russia is being introduced to Western model of "free elections." Our "chinovniks" (functionaries) immediately felt in love with a free elections. Unfortunately for free elections and for general population. By 1999, Russian "chinovniks" have adapted free elections to Russian needs completely. In other words, they are looking like an election in Auschwitz concentration camp, or GULAG if you wish. They surpassed their Western colleagues by sadism, tenacity, and religious belief in its values. It is enough to watch on television Mr. Veshnyakov, head of Central Electoral Commission, to understand that man is sick, that he needs a psychiatric help as soon as possible. Because he is deciding who going to be allowed to participate in "free election," who is going to be forbidden to participate, Mr. Veshnyakov is sick with its own importance. His voice is charged with psychotic force, with sadistic details he is counting nondeclared cars, bicycles, undeclared thousands of rubles. Non-finished garage was reason for non-registration for elections of ex-minister Mr. Mikhailov. Not that anybody regrets ex-minister, fuck him, but why non-finished garage or two thousand undeclared rubles (less than $100!) should be a reason for non-participation of that or another individual or a party in elections? For a Christ sake, we live in country known for its monstrous corruption! Bank of New York scandal alone is concerning 7 billion dollars!
A masterpiece of hypocrisy, "Electoral Law of 1999" is allowing to get rid of every candidate, as candidate or entire party can be accused on eighteen different counts! Suddenly very important participants of 1999 elections are Ministry of Interior (controlling criminal records), FSB (other records), and even Road Police! Former Small Business Minister and now ally of Borises Nemtsov and Fyodorov in so-called "Pravoye Delo" [Just Cause], Irina Khakamada have had an old car of her husband registered (after "piar," "register" and "registration" is highly popular words in Kafka's country of Russia) under her name. So, Electoral Commission have threatened to exclude her. As Khakamada is liberal politician she was left alone. If she was a kind of Makashov in skirt, she wouldn't be allowable in elections. One wonders what the world thinking about us Russians, watching all those electoral perversions and pornography? I bet, electoral perversions they think we are born idiots, with soft brains!
The most shameful thing about that sadistic selection--that it is a performance, spectacle, made to hide a few open dirty secrets.
First Dirty Secret: From a list of 132 All-Russia political organizations, only ten or twelve are real organizations. Other 120 are fakes, nonexistent, "virtual." Virtual is "Spas" [Savor], headed by Mr. Davidenko, who gave a first place in "S[as" electoral list to [Russian National Unity head] Alexander Barkashov. Also virtual is "Conservative Movement of Russia," headed by old dissident Mr. Uboiko. How come?
By Russian law, political organization can be registered as "All-Russian" if it has local organizations in not less than forty-five from eighty-nine regions of Mother Russia. Mr. Davidenko and Mr. Uboiko have a difficulty to get together three or five people, not speaking of forty-five local organizations. When applied for registration they have submitted to Ministry of Justice a lists of Dead Souls, falsified ones. (Note to reader: All-Russia registration is mandatory for participation of block in Parliamentary Elections.) Ministry of Justice perhaps have known about that, perhaps not--anyway, both parties were considered harmless, as "Spas" registered itself without Barkashov. Different fate is given to them now by Central Electoral Commission. "Conservative Movement of Russia" is registered for elections because Mr. Uboiko is harmless and eccentric old man whose movement will take some votes from opposition parties. "Spas" ambitions will be killed on November 2, because Mr. Barkashov is not harmless old man, instead portrayed by media as "Russian Fascist."
[Editor's note: In what seemed to be a last minute glitch, the Electoral Commission actually registered the Barkashov-headed "Spas," declaring the block to be in "full compliance with all applicable laws." As this issue went to print, Justice Minister Yuri Chaika was vowing to bar the block from participating via the Supreme Court, while the Electoral Commission in turn was seeking to refer Chaika's motion to a lower court. Rumors and blatant hypocrisy run ever more rampant, but we still say there's not a chance in hell that "Spas" will be allowed to run in the Parliamentary elections with Barkashov at the top of their candidate list.]
Second Dirty Secret: By Electoral Law, 200,000 signatures have to be collected in order to participate in elections. With possible exception of Communist Party of the Russian Federation, most of so-called "All-Russia" political organizations have bought a computer database of citizens' names and signatures for copying by their activists into registration petitions. This because a task to collect 200,000 is impossible for an organization with a few dozens of activists. Sad picture.
Wanting to become Europeans, we are becoming cheaters, rip-off artists, falsificators. It is better to be ourselfs: nice, open, honest, violent as we are, close brothers of Asian tribesmen, of Kazakhs, Tadjiks, or Uzbeks. We should stop to make a monkey of ourselfs.