Two months before they shot him, Ukrainian journalist Oles Busina wrote this blog entry, “Crushing the opposition is easy.” March 2, 2015
April 16, 2015
Translated from Russian by Tom Winter
In Moscow, they killed Nemtzof, near the Kremlin. In Kiev, Chechetov jumped out the window. I cannot understand the schadenfreude of some people. It’s no crime that Nemtzov was out walking with a beautiful girl. You envy him? Don’t. He’s dead. And who should a man be strolling with, if not a woman? Are policies really people? And wasn’t Chechetov really a person? Just remember his phrase “rid, like kittens.” Are our people now to be punished for honesty? But how many crimes do the silent ones commit? Or the holy ones who cover the vile essence of things with the “correct” phrases about the love of Ukraine? Recall better times, when Chechetov’s party was in power: they built stadiums, and kept the Hryvnia rooted solidly at the level “8”. This might excuse any number of his sayings.
In Russia and in Ukraine, the opposition is different. But in each country, the deal is the same. Defame the country, and they stubbornly glue the tag “fifth column” on you. There is no opposition in the Russian Duma. Though there was once, a place found for the boxer Nikolai Valuev. Then, too, a couple of seats might be found for oppos. In Ukraine, they dream of expelling the opposition and sewing them up, as earlier under Yanukovich.
And nothing is changed.
They persecuted Chechetov, drove the old man to suicide. At least he wasn’t hiding. He did not run away from Kiev, as did many, nor, judging by the charges leveled against him, did he have any wealth, except apartments, but he didn’t save anything from their proceeds.
Lately Tymoshenko stood up for Schuster. a good thing, as there ought to be in society some civilization. But why did no one in power say word one in defense of Chechetov? Have they forgotten, how pressured they themselves were not so long ago?
Crushing opposition is easy. Among us, there’s practically none of it left. But the death of Chechetov and Nemtzov constitutes a clarity of the same order: a demonstration of how far both lands, Ukraine and Russia, are from democracy, whatever they may say about the event on either side of the border. Or no matter how they may keep silent about it. It all reeks of dictatorship. Disgusting smell.