Dignity vs prison: opposition disputes over labeling of foreign agents

Dignity vs prison: opposition disputes over labeling of foreign agents
Dignity vs prison: opposition disputes over labeling of foreign agents
10 January, 18:11SocietyPhoto: Фото: Соцсети
The Soviet dissident called on citizens who received the status of foreign agents not to comply with the requirements of the law.

Another scandal erupted in the camp of the Russian democratic opposition, this time it was caused by a post, which was left on his blog by the famous Soviet dissident Alexander Podrabinek:

“I have freed all my“ friends ”from Facebook, who put the shameful plates of foreign agents on their pages. It is sickening to see how people voluntarily, out of fear of a trifling punishment, obey the directives of the Ministry of Justice, humiliatingly fulfill the wild demands of this power. Moreover, they try to give their submissiveness the character of bravado and make jokes about it. Not funny. It's sad that the courage is enough only to say, write or shout out something, and when it comes to business and personal choice, then all the pathos of denunciation and resistance evaporates somewhere".

Recall that Podrabinek was engaged in the most active anti-Soviet propaganda, largely due to his activities, the world learned about the widespread use of punitive medicine in the USSR against not only dissidents, but also citizens who simply disagree with the government. Podrabinek himself suffered greatly from the Soviet authorities, refusing to leave the country, he was first exiled to Siberia, and then sentenced to three and a half years of imprisonment, most of which was kept in the harshest conditions in solitary confinement. In prison, he contracted tuberculosis. It is this extremely difficult life experience that allows Podrabinek to make such statements.

However, they provoked an extremely controversial reaction from the democratic public. Some have expressed their disagreement with this position through outright insults. But, fortunately, they were in the minority. Basically, opponents of this position referred to gigantic fines, and then prison terms, which threaten foreign agents who do not mark any (including even love lyrics !!!) their texts. And therefore, the dilemma is this: either marking - or a fine and prison. The latter perspective, of course, is not to everyone's liking. And not only because of the fear of ruin or imprisonment. Here is what the well-known Russian oppositionist, writer Viktor Shenderovich , recognized as a foreign agent, wrote in response:


This text is just dedicated to this stupid plaque, which will now appear over my posts for some time ... Among those who expressed contempt for my obedience to Roskomnadzor, there were people whom I respect, so I will try to formulate a position.

So. There are exactly two consecutive answers to the state rudeness with the "yellow star" of the Inoagent.

The first is Tolokonnikov's: label your ass! The answer is excellent (I say without any irony), but Nadezhda Tolokonnikova herself * with her life strategy should be attached to it. There must be a clear understanding of the price of such freedom of manner.

But this price consists in the almost complete destruction of communication with the Russian audience.

I don’t know what Nadezhda’s plans are in this regard - according to the soldier Sukhov, I would have preferred to suffer some more. Therefore (following other "obedient" foreign agents) I choose the second answer: I will continue to do what I did, paying for it (in tightened conditions) with disgusting bureaucratic hemorrhoids and public humiliation in the form of m .... whom brand in front of any of my text.

Of course, I do not feel any pleasure from this, and if, according to the dream of Gogol's Agafya Tikhonovna, Nikanor Ivanovich's lips could be put to Ivan Kuzmich's nose, and Tolokonnikova's looseness (detachment) could be combined with my life strategy, there would be no problem: Believe me, I can send to ... no worse than the best actionists. But you have to choose one thing. And my priorities are such that the idiotic brand will not lose me, but will lose from the termination of communication with my readers, first of all, in Russia ... "

Public figure Yuri Samodurov took the side of Podrabinek in this dispute, and explained why:

“When I now began to see posts of a famous author on Facebook, in which the headline informing that this post was created by a foreign agent is printed in capital letters and occupies the entire area of the page space that appears before the eyes, and to read the post itself, you need to open its continuation, I stopped opening them and read, just skip them. I miss it because it is unpleasant after the first "page", on which nothing else is written to open them. I understand everything, but so far I have done so. I tried to write what the pages of posts of "foreign agents on Facebook" look like (I mean Shenderovich) and why I do not want to open them on Facebook in order to read what is written there next, and not about the content of the posts of all those persons who it is unfair and foolish to call it "foreign agents".

Perhaps I will say that if they called me that, I would simply stop publishing my texts on the Internet, so as not to preface them with such a heading. There is, after all, paper samizdat. One could switch to it and distribute it (I'm not talking about myself, I have few texts that deserve it). But agreeing to precede their publications with the words that they were written by a "foreign agent" is still more humiliating than ridiculous. If people switched to paper samizdat so as not to publish under the heading "foreign agent", this would probably have not only negative, but also positive meaning and, probably, would strengthen ties between people.


And here is another way to combat the derogatory designation "foreign agent", the idea of which was suggested to me by Oleg Taran's comment. If all the people protesting against this hat agreed (decided) and began to precede their posts on Facebook and articles in electronic media with the same heading "this publication was created by a foreign agent", this could devalue this hat and work against its authors.

Probably, lawyers can say something about this idea that you need to know..."

Civil activist Yevgenia Litvinova takes a different position: “My first friend, who became a foreign agent back in December 2020, is Dasha Apakhonchich *. Not only do I always read what she writes, I often repost on my site. And the poems of Tanya Voltskaya * - too".

And publicist Mikhail Nemtsev sharply criticized Podrabinek's position: “I think Podrabinek did exactly what these stigmas were introduced for: he increased social isolation around their bearers. It does not matter what he thought, it is important what he did (this is the ideological principle of "orthopraxia"): he reduced the number of social connections of people on which the tag is increased. And she was hanged for this: so that with these people they would refrain from communication, joint work, meetings, etc."

And this is only a small part of the responses to a really important problem facing the opposition. At the same time, it is hardly worth hoping that she will come to a common opinion. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the overwhelming majority of Russian citizens do not know anything about this problem at all ...

* recognized as a foreign agent in the Russian Federation

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