Boris Altshuler: "Sakharov's ideas are still relevant today"

Boris Altshuler: "Sakharov's ideas are still relevant today"

15 December 2020, 10:17
Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov died on the evening of December 14, 1989. And soon the year of the 100th anniversary of A.D. Sakharov, who was born on May 21, 1921.

Boris Altshuler, Researcher, Physics Institute named after P.N. Lebedev RAS, Chairman of the Board of the ROO "Right of the Child", Member of the Moscow Helsinki Group.

According to the Order of the President of Russia V.V. Putin dated March 18, 2019 No. 81-rp "On the preparation and holding of events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of A.D. Sakharov ”the Organizing Committee was formed under the chairmanship of the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences A.M. Sergeev, it is planned to release television and documentaries, just on December 10, at a meeting with the Human Rights Council V.V. Putin supported the idea of erecting a monument to Sakharov in Moscow on the avenue named after him.

We are at the Physics Institute. P.N. Lebedev Institute of RAS we are preparing an international “Sakharov” conference on physics (in May of this year), we have prepared for publication the collection “Academician A.D. Sakharov. Scientific works. On the 100th anniversary of his birth ”- with comments from experts on the significance of Sakharov's scientific ideas in the context of the current state of science. Some things are amazing - few people are able to put forward ideas that remain relevant half a century after they were published.

I was familiar with A.D. Sakharovs for 20 years, published a lot about him after his death. And now, on the occasion of his 100th birthday, he has written the book “Sakharov and the Power:“ Beyond the Window ”. Lessons for the Present and the Future ”. In the book, the main narrator, 60% of the text, Sakharov himself are the most vivid and significant pieces of his memoirs, which alternate with excerpts from the memoirs of contemporaries who knew him, explanations, reference and documentary material, including extracts from now declassified documents of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the KGB of the USSR.

These documents testify that every public speech by Sakharov, including the difficult years of exile, was carefully studied at the top of the Soviet power Olympus, a number of his proposals were taken into account and determined the policy of the USSR in key issues of nuclear strategy and detente. Unfortunately, this was done inconsistently. But Sakharov's fate was always decided only at the highest level. “I'm not on the top floor. I'm next to the top floor - on the other side of the window, ”Sakharov once joked, referring to the top floor of power. And this joke accurately reflects the uniqueness of his status, which has become his destiny. And the fate of Sakharov is, one might say, an exciting detective story, a chain of incredible events, however not accidental, but dictated by the genius and fortitude of the protagonist.

The task of the book "Sakharov and the Power ..." is to build a bridge between the time when A.D. Sakharov, and today, to show how relevant today is what Sakharov said 30 and more years ago. This is briefly and obviously incomplete in this note.

The absence of systems of checks and balances, the absence of healthy competition in politics, economics and law enforcement are the systemic reasons that largely determine our present today and make our future uncertain and dangerously unpredictable.

1. Monopoly in politics.

For 20 years now, the Russian Federation has actually had a one-party system, and the parliament “is not a place for discussion”. The influence of the legislative, as well as the judicial, branches of government on the adoption of the most important decisions for the country and the people has been reduced to zero. And what, perhaps, is the most tangible for people is the strangulation by the executive branch of such an important institution of democracy as local self-government.

HELL. Sakharov (from the program speech at the final meeting of the I Congress of People's Deputies, June 9, 1989):

I believe that the Congress did not solve the key political task before it, embodied in the slogan:“ All power to the Soviets! ” ", And further:" Comrades deputies, on you now - right now! - a huge historical responsibility lies. Political decisions are needed, without which it is impossible to strengthen the power of Soviet bodies on the ground and to solve economic, social, environmental, national problems ... ”.

How relevant it sounds today, when the laws of the Russian Federation are being adopted, transforming local self-government into an appendage of regional executive bodies! Meanwhile, it is the local government that depends on local voters and is forced to take into account the interests of the people - the basis of the democratic system in all developed countries. And how can we not recall the Zemstvo reform of local self-government of Emperor Alexander II, which was consistently carried out and is still effectively working in the only province of the former Russian Empire - Finland, a country with negligible, in comparison with Russia, natural resources and the highest standard of living in the world ...

And also, speaking more than 30 years ago at the rostrum of the 1st Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR, Sakharov said words, the relevance of which today does not require explanation: “ According to the current Constitution, the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR has absolute, practically unlimited personal power. The concentration of such power in the hands of one person is extremely dangerous, even if this person is the initiator of perestroika. In particular, behind-the-scenes pressure is possible. And if someday it will be someone else? ".

Autocratic systems, unlike democracies, in principle are not able to systematically solve the problem of the transit of power, the replacement of the first person. Hence the palace coups, the strangulation of the king with pillows, hence the catastrophic revolutions and the collapse of states.

In the Soviet hierarchy of power, the "autocratic ruler" (quoted by Pushkin) was formally the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee. Somehow, back in 1973, I naively asked Sakharov why Brezhnev would not do this and that, something seemingly obvious. Andrei Dmitrievich answered me in the language of physics: “ The higher the position, the fewer the degrees of freedom. Brezhnev can do very little . " The same idea - in the well-known paradigm "the suite is playing the king." Sakharov understood how difficult everything was there - in the Kremlin “under the carpet”. And that is why I never, in my most critical speeches, turned to the personalities of leaders, did not point a finger. He was a wise man.

2. Monopoly in law enforcement.

The lack of effective judicial control and prosecutorial supervision over the investigation by the FSB, the TFR and the Ministry of Internal Affairs has become a disaster for everyone: violations of the law during the inquiry and preliminary investigation, up to obtaining confessions using torture, strangulation of business by the security forces, fabrication of cases “for show” and awards. All this goes unpunished, and the courts stamp convictions. Henry Reznik spoke about this a year ago at a meeting between the President and the Human Rights Council, and V.V. Putin supported his highly professional proposals, in January this year. they officially became the Instructions of the President of the Russian Federation. And 4 days ago, on December 10 of this year, at a meeting with the President, we talked about the same thing, but over the year the situation has only worsened.

The ROO "Right of the Child" is primarily concerned with episodes when minors become victims of an illegal investigation, from which they "squeeze" the testimony needed by the investigation. A monstrous example of this kind is the case of Yuri Dmitriev, a researcher of Stalin's repressions, including the alleged mass execution of thousands of ELEPHANT prisoners in Sandarmokh. In September this year. The Supreme Court of Karelia sentenced him to 13 years in prison on the basis of the testimony of a teenage girl imposed on her by the investigators and psychologists of the Investigative Committee of Russia, who outraged the child's psyche (see -yuriya-dmitrieva / ).

Question: who in our country can check the legality of the actions of these officials in relation to a minor? There is no answer for today - and it's scary!

And it is scary that the instructions of the President of Russia, aimed at correcting this unacceptable situation, remain on paper. The fact that unaccountable law enforcement officers have become a "state within a state" is a statement by members of the Moscow Helsinki Group dated 07.12.2020, which, among other things, says:

“A tragic manifestation of the seizure of power in Russia by the security forces is also the unacceptable silence of the political leadership of Russia regarding the actions of suppressing mass protests in the Republic of Belarus, unthinkable in their cruelty. Thousands of detainees, hundreds of them ended up in hospitals, many detainees disappear without a trace. At the Nuremberg Trials, such acts were called "crimes against humanity." Silent means consent! And it's embarrassing and scary . " -

HELL. Sakharov (from the draft speech at the II Congress of People's Deputies; the draft was written in the morning of December 14, 1989, in the evening of the same day Andrei Dmitrievich died):

In reality, in our life, a suspect or accused is in extremely difficult conditions of pressure from the investigation. Everyone remembers numerous cases of self-incrimination, taking the blame on themselves because of press cameras, beatings, blackmail and threats. Everyone remembers the death sentences of innocent people, carried out not only in the republics, but also in Moscow. ".

And six months before that, at the I Congress of People's Deputies:

The Congress should, in my opinion, adopt a resolution containing the principles of the rule of law. These principles include: freedom of speech and information, the possibility of judicial challenging by citizens and public organizations of actions and decisions of all authorities and officials in the course of independent proceedings, democratization of judicial and investigative procedures (admission of a lawyer from the beginning of the investigation, trial by jury, the investigation must be withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the prosecutor's office: its only task is to monitor the implementation of the Law). I appeal to revise the laws on meetings and demonstrations, on the use of internal troops . "

The investigation should be removed from the jurisdiction of the prosecutor’s office ,” and this was done in 2006 with the creation of the Investigative Committee of Russia! Such a division of the investigation and the procurators could only be welcomed, there was hope that the prosecutor's office would finally take up its direct responsibilities - overseeing the observance of the law during the investigation. But the trouble is - the legislator has deprived the prosecutor's office of such a right. Someone very strong lobbied for this legislative absurdity. The result is the lawlessness of law enforcement officers, which has become our everyday life.

Henry Reznik's proposals spoke about expanding the jurisdiction of the jury, and about the need to establish an institution of investigating judges designed to control the legality of the investigation. But someone very strong managed to shelter the corresponding instructions of the President of the Russian Federation.

3. Monopoly in the economy.

Every day we read about the rise in prices for the most necessary things - food, housing, medicines, housing and communal services, in the newspapers, including in the statements of the highest leaders, including the President of the Russian Federation. Due to the inadequately high cost of electricity, gasoline, and other fuels and lubricants, production suffers, and the economy stagnates.

For the root cause of this price outrage, see, for example, the latest, October 2020, study by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of Russia - the publication “Almost all cartels in the country remain undisclosed” (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, October 30, 2020). The previous reports of the FAS Russia speak of: "The general cartelization of the Russian economy", and further: "A specific feature of anti-competitive agreements in Russia is the participation of state bodies in them ... with all the features inherent in organized criminal groups and criminal communities." The report again emphasizes the inaction of law enforcement officials: "Article 178 of the RF Criminal Code" Restriction of Competition "under investigation by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia ... practically does not work . "

Moreover, the “List of Instructions of the President of the Russian Federation on the Implementation of Priority Measures to Identify and Suppress Cartel Activities” dated August 5, 2017 says:

FAS Russia, together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, the FSB of Russia, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation and with the participation of the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation, develop an interdepartmental program of measures to identify and suppress cartels and, if necessary, create an appropriate interdepartmental coordinating body.

Deadline - October 1, 2017

Responsible: Artemiev I.Yu., Kolokoltsev V.A., Bortnikov A.V., Bastrykin A.I., Chaika Yu.Ya. "

No one lifted a finger - neither by October 1, 2017, nor later. Hence the question “Who are the Russian security forces subordinate to?”, The relevance of which is drawn attention in the above-mentioned statement of the MHG members.

HELL. Sakharov on economic competition:

“The restructuring of the administrative-command structure of the economy that has developed in our country is extremely difficult. Without the development of market relations and elements of competition, dangerous imbalances, inflation and other negative phenomena are inevitable . " (1988).

From Sakharov's election program (Jan-Feb 1989):

" Dissolve large enterprises in order to stimulate competition and prevent monopoly pricing ."

He understood everything and tried to get the authorities to show decisiveness in the fight against economic monopoly. Unfortunately, the authorities did not show such antimonopoly decisiveness either then or in the process of economic reforms in the 1990s, and does not show it now. And many thousands of families with children in Russia, including large families, literally have nothing to feed their children and nowhere to live. And for many years now, 200 thousand citizens from among orphans, who were supposed to be provided with housing, have nowhere to live. Even the Chairman of the ICR of Russia and the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation speak openly about this problem; but at the same time, for some reason, the deliberately criminal acts of restricting competition in the construction industry are passed over in silence, which is why people have nowhere to live in the largest country in the world.


Sakharov died 31 years ago. Since then, the Internet has come to the world, as well as new generations have come, young people have come, not burdened with Soviet stereotypes of servility to the authorities. Concluding this article on an optimistic note, I will say about one of Sakharov's foresight that is so relevant today, and I will quote his words about youth.

In the article "The World in Half a Century", written in 1974, that is, addressed directly to our time, A.D. Sakharov wrote:

One of the first stages of this progress seems to be the creation of ... a world information system (WIS) ... WIS should include individual miniature interrogative transmitters, control rooms that control information flows, communication channels, including thousands of artificial communication satellites, cable and laser lines ... ". Further, Sakharov presciently writes about the influence of the WIS on the life of every person, on overcoming the disunity between countries and people, and also expresses the hope that the development of the WIS will not lead to the devaluation of works of art.

Sakharov (from an interview with the Knizhnoe Obozreniye newspaper, April 1989):

I agree that the rise of society is possible only on a moral basis. I believe that moral strength is always preserved among the people. In particular, I believe that young people, who begin to live anew in each generation, are capable of taking a high moral position. It is not so much about revival as about the fact that a moral force that is in each generation and is capable of growing again and again should be developed . "

December 14, 2020

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