Archive | May, 2016

Victory Day

10 May

Massive Immortal regiment march in Moscow at Victory Day

Russia’s ‘Immortal Regiment’ March Is Not About The Past, But the Present

It is not a carnival, or a show of pride – but an overt demonstration of Russians’ current dignity, honor, and courage

Immortal Regiment march in Nizhny Novgorod where the author, a famous Russian writer and left wing political activist, comes from

Originally appeared at Live Journal. Translated by Julia Rakhmetova and Rhod Mackenzie

The notion of the Motherland has been fading for a quarter-century. All that was considered old-fashioned, ignorant and unnecessary, because the entire world is free and all people are brothers.

However, according to Hollywood, some people keep up the idea of Motherland and do not consider all others as brothers, on the contrary, entire nations are considered to be villains. 

It was funny to see how a drunk, tattooed Russian villain, even if unwillingly, was replaced by a Chinese villain, then a Serb, then a North Korean and then an indistinct Arab (we had to guess where he come from: Afghanistan?  Iraq? Who  cares…)

Between the Arabs and the Serbs, the Russians appeared by force of habit, then Cubans and then again Russians, because the enemy should be recognizable after all. They raised ghosts, and the ghosts came to life. 

Russians suddenly realized they were being fooled. Yes, there is a big, free world, international cooperation and offshore places, opportunities to go abroad to lie on the beach, but nobody does anything against his or her best interests. Against his language and his wallet. And finally, against his voters.

If you want to get something from rich white people, give them at least a little of your independence. Many nations have had to make this choice.  A friend of mine from Romania told me, laughing: what kind of independence are you talking about when my own country doesn’t have the right to set the price of bread? The price for bread in our country is set by Brussels. 

For a long time, Russia was weighed down by its independence. It had to control both poles, the Pacific and Arctic oceans, maintain various experts and specialists all over the world. It seemed we needed to leave all that to begin a new life.  Experts would come home, money would remain in our pockets; why do we need this outer space after all – what have we seen there? We gave up everything,  and it seemed we started a new life…

But our new life couldn’t be compared to what we had to give up. And the most important thing was that we no longer wanted to respect ourselves. It’s hard to respect yourself just for the fact that you are able to pay off three loans at once. We want to have something that is forever, – something bigger than we are.

The memory of Victory awakened from sleep, not when our life was empty and dry. On the other hand, we reveled in those days when a Russian man took up arms and met death face-to-face – thank God, outside the country.    

We realized that if we stay out, this doesn’t mean that the war is over. They almost convinced us that we are responsible for every gunshot fired during last century. But it suddenly turned out that if we don’t shoot, continents burn, countries are ruined and military bases are mushrooming around our country anyway.

All of a sudden, there came a mournful understanding that fascism is not a Fritz from a black-and-white Soviet film but a dire reality come to life. 

It finally turned out that no one would carry our independence. “Grandpa, help me!” – a Russian man said, then took on the burden himself.  

The Immortal Regiment is not a carnival, or a show of pride in the feat of the other hundred million people – but an overt demonstration of our current dignity, our honor and our courage: we too can do this, we are ready. 

Every family bears the portrait of their grandfather, with all his wrinkles, all his medals, as a personal banner. And all these banners constitute the colors of the Motherland.

According to demographers, losses during the Great patriotic War amounted to 11% of the USSR’s population. Considering that the average family consists of four people, this means that almost half the country’s families lost one or more of their closest relatives. Half!  

Every house has a banner. Who has the right to prevent us from being proud of that?

May 9th is not about wreaths and fireworks, or drinking a shot or two of vodka.

It’s a day of mobilization, remembering when the people of an almost completely ruined country stood up shoulder to shoulder and said:  We are a nation.

Anyone who shares our joy, our grief and our happiness on this day is our brother. 

Anyone who betrays and despises it – is our foe. The world is multicolored but not simple.  With our sins, our exhausted, rickety, complicated and rather wild country, – we stand for the good.

Grandfather knows what I’m talking about.