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Sergei Buntman: Galina Starovoitova’s Birthday (Ekho Moskvy)

posted 30 May 2016, 10:48 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 May 2016, 10:51 ]
17 May 2016

By Sergei Buntman, columnist

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group [original source: Ekho Moskvy

Photo: Wikipedia

May 17 is the 70th birthday of Galina Starovoitova, the Russian politician and government advisor, expert on international relations and human rights, and member of the Moscow Helsinki Group.

Galina Vasilievna would be 70 today. Only 70. And we’ve had to do without her for almost 18 years. If she’d lived, would the country have turned out the way it has? If we think about it seriously, without the exaggeration common in obituaries? For the 1990s didn’t accept and establish the principles Starovoitova stood on, the principles she propagated. Her proposals, judgements, lectures and articles, her devastating comments in the Duma – none of these drew the attention of the State or took root in public awareness.

But nevertheless, if Starovoitova were alive, she would have stood in the way of those whose flourishing has turned Russia into a global scarecrow and a laughing-stock.

Naturally, the mass of the government’s hired zombies, werewolves and vampires wouldn’t disappear, but their “doings” would be thwarted, even if only to a modest degree.

We often don’t notice how the steadfast clarity of one person’s position - the more so if the person is outstanding - influences our life, politics and spirit. How words, undertakings and even reflections accumulate unremarked to prevent the disease from entering a lethal stage.

Only when we lose someone do we understand that things have become more difficult. Who knows if the Russian Orthodox hierarchy would have been reborn to the degree it has been, if not for the death of Father Aleksandr Men’? Would political life have become as stagnant without the deaths of Sergei Yushenkov and Boris Nemtsov?

Galina Starovoitova was, on top of everything else, and maybe above all, an intellectual authority of extraordinary honesty and responsibility, the kind whose brain would explode if it formed conclusions not on the basis of facts and events but on the basis of strategic expediency.

Her judgements would have given us additional resources for dispelling the dark clouds. She knew how to recognize zombies, werewolves and vampirism at an early stage.

She knew how to make a silver bullet. And that’s why she got a lead one.

Translated by Alissa Leigh-Valles