Russia needs a civil society

Russia needs a civil society

Recently published reports about the unmasking of four British spies and the ensuing “raid” of the FSB upon Human Rights’ Organizations gave rise to contradictory reactions among the public. As one of the passionate supporters of strict measures for the establishment of state control over the activities of all non-government organizations the head of the Center of geopolitical examination, Alexander Dugin; got himself much talked about (“Russia neither needs any World Trade nor non-government organizations at all” – Krasnoyarsk Worker. 21st Century, No. 3, 26th January 2006).

Inmy opinion all this involves the danger of a limitation and violation of civil rights and liberties. Particularly scandalizing were Dugin’s attacks on the Foundation of Soldiers’ Mothers, which, in the opinion of this great geopolitician, consider the mere fact of an existing Russian army as “something bad”. Does it mean that they include the soldiers’ mothers among the spies and saboteurs? In all seriousness – the state should go on its knees to these mothers, who are fighting for the lives of their sons, trying to do what the state itself is supposed to do.

As far as the “Open Society Foundationis concerned, this is a slightly more difficult matter. I am not fully informed about Soros’ deceitful intentions, but I am very well aware of the fact that his foundation helps Russian libraries to a considerable extent. Most of our “thick” literary magazines, such as “New World” or “The Banner”, would not have survived for sure without its support. At any rate, the state avoids to play its role as a sponsor, although the Russian state is the biggest recipient of financial aid and support itself.

“Almost all Russian reforms were worked out on thebasis of financial means granted by foreign and international organizations, - it is reported in a common official statement of the Perm Civil Chamber and the Perm Regional Center of HumanRights (published on one of their websites on January 27). – Among them we find the World Bank, the US Agency of International Development, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and many more foreign foundations … President Putin is well aware that he is the head of a state, the politics of which are founded to a considerable extent on the means of foreign tax payers and international sponsors”.

Hence, we possibly must not search for spies among the soldiers’ mothers, but from among the upper ten thousand? Maybe the reason for all these campaigns against non-government organizations is an expression of fear of the ruling power to get confronted with the “orange revolution” in Russia? Or is all this supposed to be some “wise” strategy? The strategy of carrying out an entire “purge”, placing the non-government organizations under strict supervision, beating their financial resources out of them and reorganizing them into simple groups with common interests? This is exactly what Aleksey Babiy, chairman of the Krasnoyarsk “Memorial” Organization, believes: “After this “purge” they will give all “right” non-government organizations a paek (privileged “ration”; translator’s note) and all “wrong” ones a paika (penal “ration”; translator’s note). This is the well-proven stalinist scheme. The state is unable to cope with its obligations, unable to master its social tasks. Thus, it shuffles off all guilt to others, looking for an appropriate “enemy of the people”. It is obvious, where such an attitude is leading us. When we talk about what Russia is in need of, we have to admit that it is in urgent need of a civil society above all …”. By the way, the Krasnoyarsk “Memorial” Organization is sponsored by western foundations, as well as by local private enterprises. It also receives money from the regional budget. The “Books of Memory”, for instance, which were published in commemoration of the victims of political reprisals, came into being by the financial aid of the regional administration. And only recently, they received an amount from the Ministry of Education for having organized an expedition together with the Yeniseysk College of Pedagogics. Oh, gentlemen, do not look for spies among them of all people!

Krasnoyarsk Worker, 02.02.2006