The other day, Valeria Ilyinichna Novodvorskaya would have turned 70 years old. Her life was hard, but extremely busy. Politician, dissident, writer, founder of the Democratic Union political party.
Alina Vitukhnovskaya, writer
From her youth, almost from childhood, Valeria Ilyinichna was a fierce anti-Soviet. On December 5, 1969, at the gala evening dedicated to the Constitution Day of the USSR in the Kremlin Palace of Congresses, before the premiere of the opera October, Novodvorskaya scattered handwritten leaflets with an anti-Soviet poem of her own composition. Then a criminal case was instituted against her.
She was placed in solitary confinement at Lefortovo Prison. Her abrupt behavior with a representative of punitive psychiatry from the Serbsky Institute doomed her to further torment. If she behaved differently, the case would be transferred to the Komsomol institute organization.
In the summer of 1970, a dissident was transferred to Kazan. From June 1970 to February 1972 she was undergoing compulsory treatment in a special psychiatric hospital in Kazan. Novodvorskaya was released in February 1972.
By the will of fate, I met Valery Ilyinichna in court, at my trial, fabricated by the FSK (now the FSB). I was protected by the entire progressive public, including the world. Russian PEN Club, its late director, writer and human rights activist Alexander Petrovich Tkachenko, also joined the defense. Also Andrey Bitov, Andrey Voznesensky, Leo Timofeev, Alexander Vaksberg and others. Valeria Ilyinichna came to both the PEN Club and the court, regularly wrote articles in my defense. My lawyer, Karen Georgievich Nersisyan, managed to bring to jail and give me her letter, which I would like to quote in full, in order to preserve such a valuable document for history.
“A LETTER FROM VALERIA ILYINICHNY TO THE NOVODVORSKAYA ALINA VITUKHNOVSKAYA IN BUTYRSKAYA PRISON, 1997
Sorry, I did not foresee a collusion between the President and the Duma. This big and dirty little company had an inevitable consequence of your arrest, because the Soviet macrocosm kills everything rebellious and alien, just for the sake of high. Like fish. What is the point in Fish Yar? Same as in your arrest. You are from another dimension. In the West, sometimes they also kill for this, but not always, more often send them to the aquarium of alienation. And here, people like you are always killed ...
You have the right, for you are a true poet. I finally understood your poems, I learned to read them. It is a different language, a different form of life. you have found an entrance to a world where there are no illusions, to the world of the subconscious of Being. Cleaner than Alice in Wonderland. And you have been given the opportunity to enter this world, live in it, at least 2 hours a day (I do not advise you anymore: I will not be able to return) and describe it, translating it into our language. I cannot enter your world, for example. But I can look over your shoulder. And the majority cannot. You scare them.
You are absolutely free and absolutely true. You do not know fear, but they live in it. You did what Baudelaire did not. He wrote Flowers of Evil. But he scented and made up. And he planted it in a pot, and tied it with a ribbon. Beauty is not terrifying. She is an illusion. And here you show and flowers and berries of evil. And Being. And non-existence. Without maya, without radiant deception. Dostoevsky did something like, but could not stand it and lied: Myshkin, Alyosha Karamazov, morality, Christianity. Kafka is your counterpart in literature. In poetry you have no analogues. I know everything about poetry, although I myself do not write.
Dali and Bosch - analogues in painting. You are very expensive, Alina. Your gift is unique. Although scary. Therefore, you have the right to spit on everything and write like Brodsky, there, “beyond the hill”. Here is a hungry and barbaric country. Nobody here is up to you. But you, apparently, are a character from Anui and Camus. “Little Antigone was captured, little Antigone can become itself.” Have you read The Outsider Camus, Antigone and Medea Anui? This is about you.
You and I are very similar, but you are trying to die for the Absolute Truth, and I have always tried to replace one intolerable and stupid lie with another. Thinner, smarter and more human. "Western lies." Therefore, I am called a revolutionary, human rights activist and democrat (although the last pariah is nonsense), and you are called a pariah, an outcast, a fiend of hell. What I do needs some part of the people. And even Chubais and Gaidar. Therefore, I am still alive. And you condemned yourself to loneliness (“We smoke evil cigarettes among people who are not close to us.”)
You have broken all records of heroism: Voinovich, Aksyonov, Brodsky, Vladimov, and many dissidents in your position have fled to the West. And you spite them - remain. Like Merceau from Camus, who preferred the death of the lie that society demanded of him. I respect you very much. And I respect few people, Alina. You are doing everything right. Neither life nor death is worth a lie. I would do the same. I love you very much, for such talent and such courage do not often coincide. I do not ask where you get this Roman stoicism. Talent and intellect give you this on top of life experience and a sacred idea that you reject, because any sacred idea is an illusion.
It's just that I am very sorry that you do not have such vents and respite as mine. I am happy when I read, watch films and performances, wear beautiful dresses, eat something tasty. I love cats and capitalism. I feel better. I do not like life, but I am a sybarite and an epicurean. I love the illusions of the western world. But I beg you to survive. What for? I explain in your language. Death makes sense when the world wants you to live as a compromise. Then death is a challenge and an act. And a spit. And now - the scoops, the FSB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as well as all the idiots (and there are many of them) want your death. It will suit them. So do it in spite. They are very bad people. Your life is flour for them, so live. Your death will kill Sasha Tkachenko, Andrey Bitov, Dima Bykov, your grandmother and Leva Timofeev, and they are good people, they should not be killed. In an extreme case - spit on the verdict: there is a commission on pardon by Pristavkin. I hope you will not sit, because even the UN is on its ears. I would have been imprisoned too, if not for a purely political article. Both the past and the reputation. Therefore, we need to hold out a little more. Remember that their goal is to drive you crazy or to commit suicide. You will disappoint them. Not long left.
I don’t go to court, because if I see this, I’ll start breaking the cage or spitting in the face of the judge. And the new lawyer wants to work calmly. But I always think about you, I dream about you. My article in the "New Time", I hope you will bring. I also use TV one hundred percent. We are from different generations and different worlds, but you are close to me, Alina, I really want to bring you to the theater, cinema and ice cream parlor. And buy you a bear. I kiss you, Lera . ”
In the nineties I was still a political child. The freedom that Russia gained almost for nothing seemed natural and endless to me. Moreover, I never mentally lived in the Soviet Union. And Valeria Ilyinichna, judging by her rhetoric of that time, already foresaw both the conservative revolution and the samsaric historical loop into which Russia would be dragged in just 20 years later. She warned us all against repeating the creepy script. Valeria Novodvorskaya was a prophet, but, unfortunately, unrecognized.
Her legacy must not be forgotten. And her work should be continued. And one of the most important historical tasks of modern Russia should be the task of desovetization - similar to that carried out in Germany - of denazification. In other words, an analogue of the Nuremberg trials should be carried out throughout the entire Soviet period of history.