Liudmila Ulitskaya: Heed the mothers! About the relatives of political prisoners who have gone on hunger strike and are demanding a meeting with the authorities

posted 23 Dec 2019, 06:08 by Translation Service   [ updated 24 Dec 2019, 08:29 ]
18 December 2019

Liudmila Ulitskaya, writer

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group [original source: Novaya gazeta]

Mothers always defend their children: from cold, hunger and enemies. It is regrettable that we are seeing mothers trying to defend their children from a state that has taken a hostile position towards the younger generation.

We who lived most of our lives under the Soviet regime are frightened people. We are accustomed to the fact that any criticism directed at the authorities can lead to heavy punishment. The majority of us are well schooled to be silent.

The younger generation, the people of 21st-century Russia, have no experience of this silence, and they try to speak openly with the authorities, to show them that this country has laws that they are not observing, and laws which violate the current Constitution.

These young people – intelligent, educated, independent-minded – have fallen under the repression of those same authorities which they futilely try to engage in discourse.

Today, the mothers of young people, including some minors, are demanding that the authorities unconditionally release the prisoners in the so-called Moscow Case, New Greatness Case, Rostov Case and others which have been fabricated by zealous law enforcement officers, working in the tradition of the repressive Soviet apparatus of the GPU, the NKVD and the KGB.

The attempts of the Mothers Against Political Repression movement to talk with the authorities, to demand from the leaders of the Russian Federation an explanation of today’s insane policy regarding young people (depriving them of the right to vote, participate in society, and establish dialogue between the state and society) are running into a stone wall of silence. This is dangerous. It is dangerous not to heed the voices of people, particularly young people, who will live in our country after us, build it, raise it to the high cultural and intellectual level which Russia was famous for in past years: during the time of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Bunin, Chekhov, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and the artists of the Russian avant-garde.

The young people who have been thrown into jail and sent to camps today are the future of our country. They must be protected, respected and loved.

If we don’t understand this, we are doomed to become not citizens of a modern civilised state, but denizens of a province of the world.

Listen to the mothers of those who may constitute the pride of our country in two decades’ time.

Translated by Anna Bowles