Posted 20 апреля 2021,, 12:41
Published 20 апреля 2021,, 12:41
Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36
Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36
The 2010 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics (together with Konstantin Novoselov) Andrey Geim, who lives and works in England today, has given two interesting interviews in the recent days, one to the French newspaper Le Monde, and the other to the online publication Meduza. In these interviews he spoke about his scientific work and his attitude to Russian politics. Novye Izvestia cites the most interesting excerpts from these publications.
In general, I try not to get involved in politics - neither Russian, nor British, nor any. The pastry should bake pies, the shoemaker should throw boots - or what they say? I have no ambitions for [Academician Andrei] Sakharov or anyone else to teach. Life has taught me that if I vote for someone or participate in any referendum, I always lose. Therefore, I do not meddle in politics, unlike the Russian oligarchs.
This is not about Navalny. I do not know Navalny's program, I have not met him himself. If I begin to understand his political program, I think I will find many facts with which I disagree. Moreover, I must admit that until a year - I don't remember now, but I think until 2013 or 2015 - I was, I can't find the Russian word, apologist [apologist], defended Putin and the Russian government. Then there was a fracture. (...) The situation is extremely alarming for me and, I think, for Europe and the whole world.
I didn’t have such a simple opinion about Crimea as it did in the West. Here, when Northern Ireland or Barcelona [wants to secede], we must carefully consider history. And when it comes to Russia, they are bad, and we [in the West] are good and always on the side of those who oppose Russia.
On the prospects of Russia
I am not a supporter of Navalny. Good or bad, I don't know. It is actually a litmus test of what will happen to Russia in the future. If he is killed in one way or another, you will no longer be covered by the guardsmen - the case has reached such a political level that it is clear that the responsibility will lie with Putin personally. I don’t think, at least I don’t want to think that he wants to go down in history as [Lavrenty] Beria or Idi Amin.
There are many obstacles - moral and others - before a person kills a person. But after having killed once, it becomes easier and more natural to repeat it again and again. If something happens to Navalny, I'm afraid that everything will turn into chaos - such a good Russian word. That is, Russia, whatever it is now, with its good and bad sides, will turn into a zone, as it was under Stalin and Beria. Therefore, I am very worried.
The West should be blamed for making Vladimir Putin a strong man, a new tsar (...) I think Vladimir Putin was not going to become the new Stalin or Amin Dada [former president of Uganda from 1971 to 1979]. The West pushed him to this, or at least allowed him to act in this direction. It is time for the West to realize that other countries cannot be judged by the standards of their own voters. At the moment, nothing can help Russia. Further sanctions will only contribute to a split within Russia, and the Putin government will take another step towards autocracy.
Educated people can read between the lines, and most of them are appalled by the changes that have taken place over the past few years. In the 2000s, this was not the case. But the intelligentsia in Russia is a minority, and many of its members live in fear. What scares me especially over the past three years is that in conversations with me, colleagues and friends from Russia began to avoid political topics and express their opinions about what is happening when I call them on the phone. The gene inoculated by the Stalinist regime makes them silent. Five years ago, the situation was different.
This is largely due to the fact that people have nothing to say, they got used to it. But it seems to me that this fear, these genes came to us from our parents or grandparents from Stalin's times. The less you speak, you will be more whole, as my father told me many times in childhood. He survived both the camps and Siberia. It scares me that this has begun to seep into the mentality of the Russian people: people are slowly accustoming themselves to a state of lawlessness. I feel sorry for those who live and work in Russia. If everything continues to slide towards Stalinism, for the people who live in Russia it will be more than a problem. It will be a question of survival.
About the academic community
The scientific community is haunted by two eternal questions of the Russian intelligentsia: "What to do and who is to blame?"
Chernomyrdin was very right when he said that everything in Russia in general [happens like this]: "We wanted the best, but it turned out as always." In hindsight [I understand] that although everything was correct then, in reality it turned out that the Academy of Sciences was a rather strong counterbalance against the dictatorship of power. Her opinion was taken into account. The change in the status of the Academy of Sciences seems to have had a negative impact on politics, which I now greatly regret. Now the power and prestige of the Academy of Sciences, perhaps, would help a little in the situation with Navalny. And this is no longer there, that's why I say: "We wanted the best, it turned out as always."
About the last hope
My only hope is that all the oligarchs who are now silent, and the politicians who grew up thanks to the support of Putin, and his friends - that they, too, have the genes of Stalinism, like all of us. They must remember history, remember what happened to the same [Yakov] Sverdlov and other revolutionaries who supported Stalin. Lawlessness - it has two ends. And ultimately it concerns not only people from the street, but also those who still have some word, some weight in the existing government. This is my last hope.