Liudmila Alekseeva: 'I believed my fellow citizens had gotten rid of their imperial syndrome. It turns out that they haven’t'

posted 8 Feb 2016, 09:14 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 8 Feb 2016, 09:20 ]
'It was a big, unpleasant surprise to me that a large portion of our population supported the invasion of Crimea. I was dismayed to find that more than 80% of my fellow citizens support the so-called campaign, “Our Crimea.” This was an unpleasant surprise for me because I believed that in the years that passed since the collapse of the Soviet Union my fellow citizens had, for the most part, gotten rid of their imperial syndrome. It turns out that they haven’t. As it happens, they are pleased that we have annexed something, and they are content to show the strength of our state and that we are feared. This is extremely sad, since an empire cannot be a democratic state. And if I am dreaming of a democratic future for my country, then this country must stop being an empire, it must cease holding lands by force, and its citizens must lose their desire to be feared. Let us be liked, let us be respected, let us be valued for the contribution that Russian culture has brought to the treasure trove of world culture. But being feared… Why would we want to be feared? Unfortunately, the less educated groups of our society, not in the biggest cities, but the provinces, which, generally speaking, make up the majority in Russia, have kept this way of thinking: “Perhaps I am naked, perhaps I am barefoot, perhaps those in power humiliate me - but we are feared throughout the world.” '

- Liudmila Alekseeva, chair of Moscow Helsinki Group

Source: 'Liudmila Alekseeva: An Empire Cannot be a Democratic State,', 27 January 2016