Russian Poet Natalja Klucherova on what’s happening in her Country
Been out & down for the count with a truly nasty colf/flu thing ever since Xmas, so forgive the lack of posts this past week. Still typing in bed, & will only paste a bit of an interesting piece below from signandsight. You can read the full article here.
Suddenly we know we are many
Why the Russian youth have tolerated the political situation in their country for so long and why they are no longer tolerant. By Natalja Klucherova
Shortly before the elections they repaired the roof of the kindergarten in our courtyard. But not out of concern for the children. No, the real reason is very simple: this kindergarten doubles as a polling station. And the logic of our rulers is equally simple: if there is water dripping through the roof while people are casting their votes, the voters may be annoyed and put their cross in the wrong box. This is assuming that the voters have failed to notice that water has been dripping onto the heads of their children for years on end (the roof is only repaired immediately before elections) or that they would never make a connection between the leaky roof and the well-fed physiognomy of the politicians. As if people only use their brains and take action once every four years, namely, when they go to the polling station to vote.
This about sums up the Duma’s style: impudence, total confidence in its impunity and contempt for the people. So it is only natural to ask what kind of people would tolerate such a government? In my opinion the word “tolerate” is not entirely appropriate here because to tolerate means to recognise the humiliating aspect of the situation. We have, however, become so accustomed to this situation, that we no long notice it, it’s as if an unscrupulous government were as much a permanent feature of Russian life as the short summer or the soggy paths in spring and autumn. Just as the inhabitants of a megalopolis rarely notice the toxicity of the air they breathe.
Political freedom has never existed in Russia. Which is why in our country even critically minded people are not used to thinking about society as a whole, and many of them genuinely see no connection between a kindergarten’s leaking roof and the Duma elections. Politics is one thing, life is another. Russian society, particularly when it comes to my generation, is extremely unpolitical and this gives the government more or less unlimited freedom. We are not concerned about the government and that suits the government just fine.
Of course there are people, plenty of them, who very definitely do make this connection. But even they do not get involved. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, the entire political system in Russia – from village soviet to federal committee – is based on lies, on the pursuit of private instead of societal interests, and on theft. Even an honest person who ends up in politics has to play the game to some extent, otherwise he will be “eaten“ by less upstanding colleagues. This is why honest people give politics a wide berth. And engage in civil society in other ways. Such as in the voluntary movement which in recent years has become a mass phenomenon.
This article was originally published in Die Welt on 19 December, 2011.
Natalia Klucherova was born in 1981 in Perm (Russia). She is an editor with Pervoe sentjabrja, a Moscow newspaper which covers issues related to education. She has been publishing poetry since 2002, and in the same year made it on to the shortlist for the Debut prize in the Poetry section. In 2006 she published both her poetry collection “Belye pionery” (tr: White Pioneers) and her first novel “Rossija: obscij vagon” (tr: Russia: Fourth-Class Carriage), which has been translated into six languages and will be published in 2010 in Germany under the title “Endstation Russland”.