I was at an interview on TV Rain last week. We were supposedly going to discuss the Oscars, but suddenly we touched on what is an important topic, I think — how to behave appropriately during the war and amid everything else that is happening now.
I often read comments about how I smile all the time, but there is a war going on. About how I joke on the air, but now is not the time for jokes — Navalny is in prison. Why did I post this or that photo? It’s too glamorous and frivolous. Now is not the time for such things.
The complaints are understandable, but I totally reject the point they’re trying to make. It seems to me that the most destructive, the most incorrect thing we can do now is to don dark clothes, wring our hands and publicly suffer in front of our audience. By no means am I saying that there is no point in suffering in this situation. There is. The war is the most terrible event that has ever happened to us. It is absolutely incomprehensible how to go on living when your country has attacked and is destroying innocent people and destroying their lives forever as the scumbags on Russian national TV hoot and holler for joy. Everyone who is reading this post has experienced all this, I am sure, and of course you have been suffering. And those whom Putin came up with the idea of bombing with missiles and killing have been suffering even more.
Only one thing remains to us: to take all these terrible emotions, all these experiences, and turn them into concrete actions. Not cry on camera, not get hysterical, but to try and stop this horror as soon as possible. Today is better than tomorrow. Tomorrow is better than the day after tomorrow, etc. Each of us knows best of all what we ourselves are capable of doing and how to do it. The main thing is not to give in to despair. Despondency, despair and indifference are exactly what Putin wants from us. Don’t give him that.
I’ve attached a bit of the interview. And a frivolous photo to boot.
Source: Maria Pevchikh, Instagram, 31 January 2023. Translated by the Russian Reader
And where you find a hero, you always find tragedy. The hero is always a vehicle for suffering, pain, rupture and tragedy. There are no happy heroes: all heroes are necessarily unhappy. The hero equals misfortune.
Why? Because being both eternal and temporary, dispassionate and suffering, heavenly and earthly is the most unbearable experience for any being. It is a condition that you wouldn’t wish on your enemy.
Ascetics, martyrs, and saints took the place of heroes in Christianity. There are likewise no happy monks or happy saints. All of them are profoundly unhappy as individuals. But according to another heavenly account, they are blessed. Just as those who weep, those who are exiled, those who suffer slander, and those who hunger and thirst are blessed in the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are the unhappy.
A person is made a hero made by an idea aimed skyward that crashes to the ground. A person is made a hero by suffering and misfortune, which tear him apart, which torment, torture, and harden him, and it has always been thus. This can happen during war or an agonizing death, but it can also happen without war, and without death.
The hero looks for his own war, and if he does not find it, he goes into a monk’s cell, to live as a hermit, and fights there with the real enemy. Because true warfare is spiritual warfare. Arthur Rimbaud wrote about this in Illuminations: “Spiritual combat is as brutal as battle between men.” (Le combat spirituel est aussi brutal que la bataille d’hommes.) He knew what he was talking about.
One hero, as the Neoplatonist Proclus says, is equal to a hundred or even thousands of ordinary souls. He is greater than a human soul because he makes every soul live vertically. This is the heroic dimension to the origins of the theater and, in fact, the ethics of our faith. It is the most important thing, which we should not lose, which we should cherish in others and nurture in ourselves.
Our job is to become deeply, fundamentally and irreversibly unhappy, no matter how scary that sounds. It is the only way we can find salvation.
Source: Alexander Dugin, “The Hero: The Metaphysics of Unhappiness,” Katehon, 3 February 2023. Translated by An Unhappy Translator. Thanks to Pavel Pryanikov for the heads-up
Now every employee of the Russian embassy in Germany has to think about Navalny on their way to work because they will see a replica of the solitary confinement cell where Alexei has been confined for the eleventh time.
Not only embassy employees see this solitary confinement cell. It is seen by Berlin residents, tourists and journalists. It is seen by readers of the world’s major media outlets. Millions of people see it — and thus learn about the torture chamber in which Navalny is being held. Some will tell their friends about the project, others will join the Free Navalny campaign, while still others will put pressure on local politicians contemplating compromise with Putin. Circles radiate all over the world from this one site.
It is in your power to make these circles spread even wider. Help us achieve freedom for Navalny and for the whole of Russia — support our campaign at acf.international/#donate.
Thank you for being on our side!
The Navalny Team
Source: FBK (Anti-Corruption Foundation) email newsletter, 2 February 2023. Translated by the Russian Reader
Maria Pevchikh is an investigator and associate of Alexei Navalny.
0:00 Let’s go! 0:37 Why we met in London 5:13 How the film Navalny is saving Navalny’s life 9:36 Dud in the Internet’s homeland 13:03 How to turn a photo of a hallway into an investigation 16:17 What is going on with Navalny now? 20:26 The second largest house in the UK is owned by a Russian oligarch 25:30 But why can’t a Russian oligarch buy a house in London? 29:48 The UK is fighting Putin but harboring thieves: is that normal? 37:22 Who are you and where are you from? 42:31 Where did you get the money to study in London? 44:02 What’s wrong with Moscow State University’s sociology faculty 47:19 What did your father do for a living? 48:41 A crash course about British universities (eight lectures a week) 53:16 Alexander Dugin was Maria’s thesis advisor: how did that come about? 1:00:03 Does Putin listen to Dugin? 1:03:05 What Medvedev was like thirteen years ago 1:05:20 “My cat was hit by a car, please sort it out”: what British MPs do 1:08:22 Gadaffi’s son was at university with you 1:14:35 Where did you work before becoming an investigator? 1:16:32 Do you have a flat in London? 1:17:47 How did you meet Navalny? 1:22:50 Why didn’t you mention Skabeyeva and Popov’s mortgage? 1:27:28 How are drones able to fly over Putin’s and Medvedev’s residences? (A question from Nikolai Solodnikov) 1:33:14 Where did you get the conductor Gergiev’s bank statements? 1:36:32 Is it okay to pay a bribe to avoid mobilization? 1:40:54 What is your beef with Fridman? 1:48:13 Is Galitsky an accomplice of the regime? 1:57:18 Can we detest someone for being afraid? 1:58:26 Why does Popular Politics have such sensational headlines? 2:04:08 Is it okay to call a program guest a “fat beast”? 2:08:21 The rude tweet about Durov 2:10:21 Does radicalism prevent the Anti-Corruption Foundation from becoming popular? 2:16:09 Roman Abramovich is a master of reinventing himself 2:24:13 How soft power works 2:29:52 If Abramovich had ended the war would you have forgiven him? 2:31:38 The “List of the 6,000” 2:33:59 Why have you called for sanctions against Sobchak? 2:35:35 Why have you called for sanctions against Venediktov? 2:44:00 What did Oleg Kashin do wrong? 2:46:34 Why were the designers of a facial recognition system removed from the “List of the 6,000”? 2:51:01 Is your father an accomplice of the regime? 2:55:49 How do you do your work without Navalny? 2:57:18 Why were your supporters’ data hacked? 3:05:38 “Carry out a mission in the fight against Putin and get points”: what is that about?! 3:07:53 How do people who work for the regime change sides? 3:15:51 Do you see yourself as a politician? 3:19:44 Do you have a plan for Russia’s future? 3:25:09 Won’t the dictatorship in Russia survive without Putin? 3:30:20 Do you have a UK passport? 3:35:51 What exactly have you done over the past year to overthrow Putin? 3:41:21 “Compromisers” 3:52:07 Russia without Putin 3:56:58 What does it mean to be strong?
Source: vDud (YouTube). Annotation translated by the Russian Reader. Thanks to Tiina Pasanen for bringing this remarkable video to my attention and persuading me to watch it despite my initial misgivings. When I assembled the first part of this mash-up, a few days ago, I had no idea that Pevchikh and Dugin were so closely connected in real life. For another perspective on the sociology faculty at Moscow State University during roughly the same period as Pevchikh describes, see Oleg Zhuravlyov and Danail Kondov, “Towards a History of the Conflict in the Moscow State University Sociology Department” (2008). ||| TRR