Ksenia Sobchak: Why I went to the Caucasus?

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Ксения Собчак: Зачем я поехала на Кавказ?

My answer will probably have to start with a monstrous platitudes, but sometimes you need to repeat the obvious. The Caucasian part of Russia. Not that chauvinistic and isolationist Russia, which exists only in the fantasies and reports of officials. Not the “United” Russia, which dreams of how to rebuild the Soviet Empire, trampling on the rights of peoples. The Caucasus — a part of a real, complex, contradictory, poor and beautiful country, bound together not a geopolitical imaginary phantoms or “scrapie”, a common history, culture, blood, grief and joy.

This banality is necessary again and to repeat again for those who like to speculate about the “specialness” of the Caucasus: they have there, they say, their traditions, clan system, clans, and let them deal with all of this as you want. I have not once been in the Caucasian republics, and each time more convinced: all the Caucasian problems are Russia’s problems, just mixed leaves. We have behind the “damned nineties”, and there was a real bloody war.

In Moscow, attacking the headquarters of the opposition groups, arrest activists for 15 days, is immediately throw the drugs or be killed.

And we, in the Caucasus, on the very top of the power pyramid, the same mixture of intrigue, lies, disregard for the law, strutting male arrogance and incompetence that is impossible to disguise there is no “Caucasian characteristics”.

Russian politicians, even the opposition, are rarely in the Caucasus, I fear and shun him. The result of the local rulers feel free to do what you wish. To cure this disease the only possible way — by integrating the Caucasus into the real Russia and opening it to free the Russian policy, you want to revive, and in many ways to create from scratch. It is not only the only sensible strategy for all multinational States, but also salvation for the ordinary residents of the republics — salvation from lawlessness and arbitrariness.

And so we and they could remember that you need to meet and talk. Directly, bypassing the argument and cliche, bypassing state propaganda and ill-fated instagram Kadyrov. To communicate simply in order not to lose each other. With me refused to meet Kadyrov and Yevkurov: apparently, the messengers of Moscow they are ready to recognize only the emissaries of Putin. It’s their fault. But I’m glad to communicate with people on the streets, to know the opinion of ordinary Chechens and Ingush. It is more important to me.

Behind us two centuries and a recent history of mutual assistance and mutual guilt. Feel it skin on a Beslan cemetery on mountain roads, in markets, on city streets, when talking with people. Here in the Caucasus where the memory is stored more careful and experienced sharper, all agree that the rehabilitation of Stalin as criminal. Even in liberal circles of Moscow human rights defenders I have not heard a determination to prevent the return of Stalinism. That we have to learn from each other despite all attempts by political opportunists to divide us.

In the Republic of Ingushetia, so hating Stalinism, could be subject to attack “memorial”? What really think people in Chechnya, about the arrest Ouba Titieva? The answers to many questions are not from Moscow.

This, incidentally, concerns not only Caucasus, but also of the Urals, Siberia, the Volga region. Trying to impose a unitary Federation rules of the game, a power driven differences in the underground. From there they escape in the form of explosions — both social and real, with smoke and blood.

And, of course, for me the most important part of this trip is to support Ouba Titieva. Today, when local human rights activists have disappeared, been killed or had left the country, support from Russia is very important for him. Only transparency, only our undivided attention can save him. It just seems that the authorities don’t care about our opinion: they are still exactly as long as they think that all the same to us. But managed to secure the release of Yuriy Dmitriev, and I’m sure that our attention to his process played a role.

If all presidential candidates had risen to the protection of Titieva would say “no” to the tyranny of the authorities, then our life would be fairer and freer. Our main opponents are in the Kremlin, but a personal, physical confrontation of the tyranny, corruption, and stagnation must occur everywhere where this disease affects people. Hostel in Serpukhov, the courtroom in Karelia, the “memorial” in Ingushetia, the streets of Grozny. We have such a huge and different country with the same troubles.

Ksenia Sobchak

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