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A letter from Ruslan Sokolovsky [Open Russia]

posted 28 Nov 2016, 06:53 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 28 Nov 2016, 06:58 ]
21 November 2016

By Olga Borisova

Source: Open Russia

Ruslan Sokolovsky, a blogger from Ekaterinburg charged with insulting religious feelings by playing Pokémon Go in a church, has replied to Open Russia’s letter. Here is Sokolovsky’s letter, brought straight from pre-trial detention centre no. 1 in Ekaterinburg:

‘Hello, Olya! 

'I was pleased to receive your letter. It is fortunate that it was not lost among the many thousands I receive from my [online] followers. Just in case, I remind you that the most expedient way to contact me is the “FSIN letter” [an email system operated by the Federal Penitentiary Service - Open Russia]. By the way, send my regards to Polina, you two are equally wonderful. I am grateful for the assistance that has been provided to my mother, especially since I had been paying for her apartment. With me under arrest, things would have been tough for her had it not been for you. My walk in the church has made me poorer than the church mice and the elderly women who give up their pensions so that the Patriarch can buy a new yacht. Thank you for each rouble. It will help with food, and not just spiritual nourishment. Another three months of house arrest would have bankrupted me, whereas in this detention centre, at the very least, I am fed.

'I agree with the assessment of my situation. I do not seek society’s pity, only its support. There is power in the truth, and I would sooner leave this prison in a body bag than betray cosmopolitanism, atheism, and libertarianism. Thanks to the hundreds, the thousands of letters that I’ve received from my supporters, I feel as if there is a legion of free-thinking allies behind me. I do not believe that I will be set free in peace, since, in my videos, I often denounced delusional laws such as the Yarovaya package, supported Charlie Hebdo, and was evidently in opposition to the government.

'For the informational support you have provided, I give my thanks. Not too long ago I would have been able to offer you far more informational support than you to me.

'I do not plan to compromise my ambitions—not at all. Sitting here in prison, I am writing a book in the genre of social fantasy. In addition, I am preoccupied with a whole series of journalistic articles.

'My pen is with you and has been made sharper than a misericord [a long, narrow knife that was used to kill one’s wounded enemy in the Middle Ages – Open Russia].

I impatiently await your reply, Olya.’

A reminder: Polina Nemirovskaya and I travelled to Ekaterinburg on behalf of Open Russia to provide material assistance to Ruslan Sokolovsky’s mother. We stated that Open Russia was ready to put up money for bail, should an opportunity to do so emerge. However, there is no talk of this at the moment, and Ruslan Sokolovsky is due to remain in detention centre no. 1 until 23 January 2017.

Translated by Lincoln Pigman