Common sense is based on a sense of measure, a sense of proportion. Common sense is simply impossible in Russia, because the very fact the Olympics are being held here does not jibe with any justice of “number and measure,” as Plato called it. Meaning, literally, there are the Olympics, and “there is nothing else to talk about.” The hospitals have no drugs, the countryside has no schools, roads and stores, the universities cannot pay salaries of more than 10,000 rubles [approx. 200 euros] a month, and the most widespread dwellings, after all these years, are shabby nine-storey prefabs, built forty years ago by authorities who still possessed a shred of conscience. If you work in a kindergarten you’re dirt poor. If you’re a pensioner, boil yourself buckwheat and ask at the shop for an eighth of a loaf of bread. And in the midst of all this there is the Olympics. No “discussion” whatsoever is possible here. It was hard to imagine that the renewed tradition of ancient sporting competitions would come to symbolize the total, final and irrevocable humiliation of absolutely all people in Russia.
Source: Facebook (with kind permission from the author)
Triumph of the Will
Every day Nina Toromonyan comes to feed her pets amid the ruins of her house in the center of Sochi.
The house and 25-acre plot with a view of the sea were confiscated by force and the house demolished, ostensibly because they impeded construction of Kurortny Avenue.
Thirteen people lived in the house, three families. They received total compensation of five million rubles [approx 105,000 euros]. Masked riot police toting machine guns evicted them on October 23, 2013, although Kurortny Avenue had already been built two kilometers from Nina’s house.
Her grandfather was officially granted the plot in 1947 in recognition of his heroism in World War Two.
None of the three related families who lived there has been able to buy themselves a house or even an apartment in Sochi. Like vagabonds, they find shelter where they can.
No one touched the homes to the right and the left of the plot. Experts says someone had set their sights on Nina’s property and used Putin’s Olympics to grab it on the sly. In fact, the prices in Sochi are such that the compensation payment should have been no less than forty million rubles [approx. 845,000 euros] .
When the riot police were dragging the bawling women from the house, Nina’s nine-year-old grandson Grisha shouted, “Don’t shoot, don’t kill us!” Trying to calm him down, his mother took his hand and said, “Don’t be afraid, son. They’re just making a movie—about fascists.”
Four LGBT Activists Detained on Vasilievsky Island
February 7, 2014
Four gay activists were detained today on the Spit of Vasilievsky Island [in Petersburg] when they decided to take a picture with a banner on the way to the place where a protest action was planned.
The LGBT activists did not make it to Belinsky Bridge, where they had planned, according to a previously circulated press release, to unfurl the meters-long banner in support of Olympic values.
As Fontanka.Ru has learned, along the way the activists decided to take a picture on the Spit. However, before they could unfurl the banner, emblazoned with the slogan “Any form of discrimination . . . is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement,” police officers arrived at the spot and detained them.
According to preliminary reports, among the detained is a young man and three young women, one of whom is pregnant. They are being taken to the 16th police precinct.
Well, I’m home.
The short version is that during the four hours at Kitai-Gorod police station [in Moscow] Lynne Reid and Knicks Nemeni were handcuffed and kicked, Gleb Latnik was punched and pulled by the hair, and Ginger was put in a choke hold. I got off relatively easy: first, they suggested I “suck their cocks,” then they spat in my face.
Oh yeah, “You all should be burned” was among the remarks they made.
None of the policemen were wearing badges.
They enjoyed themselves. They confiscated our telephones. They sat there looking through our photos and leafing through our text messages.
A defense lawyer (an aide to MP Ilya Ponomaryov) was not let in to see us.
Then I was simply kicked out of the police station, with no arrest report, no nothing. “[He or she] sang a song to the tune of the Russian national anthem with distorted lyrics” was written in the arrest reports of the people who got them.
That’s not true. We sang our country’s national anthem, including the parts about “our free fatherland” and “you are unique in the world.”
We sang the national anthem all the way to the end.
It’s excellent singing the national anthem on Red Square. It’s nice on Red Square in general. We need to go there more often.
Oh yes. When we left the cafe where we met before the protest, the police were already waiting for us. Dear LGBT activists, phones really are bugged, email really is scanned, and text messages are received not only by the people they’re sent to. Use alternative means of communication and take care of each other.
Love triumphs, both at the Olympics and just like that.