Home Sweet Home

Vasya Lozhkin, "Abroad / Motherland," 2015. Source: Facebook
Vasya Lozhkin, “Abroad / Motherland,” 2015. Source: Facebook

[…]

Enter the Abroad, lamenting, with the Forbidden Hemisphere,
And with the Horizon, debased, dangling from her evening gown.
She calls our simple Yermolai names like François, Jacques or Jean-Pierre,
Carps on and on about the law. Unfair tariffs get her going.
She blurts out, “How are things!” Raphael and Buonarotti
Disturb our gaze with flesh’s gloss, but on the back there’s not even a jot.
Workers of the world
March into a bar and grill.

“In those jeans you look like a Yank.”
“Popped her cherry when I was drunk.”
“I was just a simple worker.”
“By the by, we all are wankers.”

Enter Thoughts of Days to Come, dressed to the nines in khaki blouses.
They carry in atom bombs, ICBMs, a launching pad.
Oh how they reel, dance and caper: “We are warriors and carousers!
Russian and German will fall together; for example, at Stalingrad.”
And like old widow Matryona, cyclotrons are dumbly howling.
In the Ministry of Defense a nest of crows is loudly cawing.
Look at the pillow. What do you know!
Shiny medals all in a row.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
“A pint of vodka, they say,
Soon’ll be a ruble a pop.”
“Mom, I really don’t love Pop.”

Enter a certain Orthodox, saying, “These days I’m number one.
I’m pining for the sovereign, and in my soul the Firebird flares.
Soon Igor will reunite with Yaroslavna and have his fun.
Let me make the benediction or else I’ll box you on the ears.
Worse than evil eye or herpes is the plague of Western thinking.
Sing, accordion, and drown out the saxophone, jazz’s vile offspring.”
On the icons they plant a kiss,
Sobbing victims of circumcis—

“Me? Steak, Director’s Cut, of course.”
“Barge haulers in Severomorsk,
Wasted thin by radiation,
Drag the cruiser to its station.”

[…]

original

This Be the Verse

I saw Joseph Brodsky for the last time at Victoria Schweitzer’s place. He had just gone through a second operation on his heart. He had been expressly forbidden to smoke, but he bummed cigarettes from me and said he could not work without smokes. Joseph read us his new poem “Predstavlenie” [“A Vaudeville”; 1988?] which he had dedicated to Mikhail Nikolayev [Schweitzer’s husband, who had died in 1987]. He read in his usual manner, a drawling tone that emphasized the musical and rhythmic flow of the stanzas and thus made it hard to understand their content. (Once, at Oxford, when Brodsky was reading his poems to a large audience, a female English Slavist had asked me, “Is this like liturgy?”) When I read “Predstavlenie” on the page, it struck me it was Brodsky’s dying verse, although he would go on living for several more years. The past and present, as they emerged in the poem, were illuminated by a transcendent rather than an earthly light. I consider the poem one of his masterpieces.

—Igor Golomstock, A Job for an Old Policeman: A Pessimist’s Memoirs (Moscow, 2015), p. 288

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

[…]

Enter a Cop shouting, “Basta!” The prosecutor squares his jaw.
The door to the regular guy’s cave opens sans Ali Baba’s code.
Great-grandson or great-grandfather rolls a cart in the shaft’s dark maw,
Weeping crystal tears reflecting the color of the motherlode.
And on Death’s moonlit plain, beyond the pale the living never cross,
Studded with gold incisors, a jawbone sparkles with permafrost.

There long will be veins enough
Of those who’ve bitten the dust.

“I have a pad, but getting there’s a chore.”
“I’m a crane driver, not a whore.”
“Life arose like an addiction
Before the egg or the chicken.”

We have filled the entire stage. All that’s left is to climb the walls,
Soar like a hawk under the big top, shrink into a roundworm.
Or everyone, foaming at the mouth, puppets and all,
Should suddenly copulate in unison to breed a new life form.
For, economizing space, what other shape can the multitude assume,
If not the cemetery’s ranks, if not the checkout’s black queue?

We demand the steppe’s expanses
Without a chain reaction!

“We demand a sentence without relief!”
“Who is hollering ‘Stop, thief!’?”
“In her notebook she drew his penis.”
“Let me go, for the love of Jesus.”

Enter an Evening in the Present, a house in the boondocks.
The tablecloth is arguing interior design with the drapes.
Ruling out palpitations (nonsense I’d put in brackets),
One gets the sense Lobachevsky has been subtracted from space.
Grumbling leaves the color of money. A mosquito’s steady buzzer.
The eye is too frail to magnify the two-by-threes of those gone forever,

Who have sprouted as thick grass.
But they won’t be the last.

“From lovemaking, children are born.
Now you are alone in the world.
Remember the song I’d sometimes hum
Softly when twilight would come?

“This is the mouse, this is the cat.
This is the watch tower, this is the camp.
And this is Time that, on the sly,
Sentences Mom and Dad to die.”

The Kids Are (Not) Alright

Piter_april15_35

Enter Pioneers, all in ranks, some with plywood planes and lorries,
Others with piquant denunciations, handprinted in block letters.
From the next world, like chimeras, shades of pensioned janissaries
Nod their approval to the kids, whose snub noses gleam with ardor.
They crank up “The Russian Balldance” and dash in the hut to Dad,
Chasing out sleepy Dad from the double bed where they were made.

What can you do? Such is youth.
Strangling them would be uncouth.

—Joseph Brodsky, “A Vaudeville”

_________

Survey

Students at the Russian State University for the Humanities disrupted a lecture by Nikolai Starikov, a member of the Anti-Maidan movement. They were supported by some professors. How, in your opinion, should the conversion of public universities into hotbeds of liberalism and a source of manpower for a Russian Maidan be stopped?

• Regularly rotate teaching staff, weeding out teachers known for making Russophobic statements and being involved with dubious Western NGOs — 83 votes (25%)

• Actively campaign for vocational education as an alternative to countless “lawyers” and “economists.” People who are busy with real work do not rebel — 33 votes (10%)

• Follow the recipe used by Tsar Alexander III, who pacified Russia for a long time after the terror campaign by the Populists: reduce the number of higher education institutions and raise tuition costs for fee-paying students — 53 votes (16%)

• Leave them alone, let them sow their wild oats. Students have always been rebels, but once they graduated and wised up a bit, they became conscious and law-abiding members of society — 168 votes (50%)

Total votes: 337

Source: Kultura newspaper

Editor’s Note. The survey results were current as of 1:30 p.m. Moscow time on May 27, 2015. Thanks to the invaluable Andrei Malgin for the heads-up.

________

“We’re still little,” or Delegating political responsibility to adults
Anna Zhelnina
May 26, 2015
Vedomosti

Recently, debates about how bad things are in Russia—whether they are very bad or whether there is light at the end of the tunnel—have been topical. For example, an article by Maria Snegovaya and Denis Volkov, published in Vedomosti (January 20, 2015), dealt with the political mood of Russian young people. The authors came to a relatively optimistic conclusion. Young people were much more democratic and focused on Western values than the older generation. This attitude on the part of young people gave the authors hope for social and political change in the foreseeable future.

Research carried out by the Higher School of Economics in 2012–2013, as part of the European project MYPLACE: Memory, Youth, Political Legacy and Civic Engagement, found that the views of Russian young people were much more complicated and confusing than has been suggested by the usual divisions into “pro-Russian” and “pro-Western,” “pro-Putin” and “oppositional” camps. Our data consisted of 1,200 surveys, answered by young people 16–25 years of age in Saint Petersburg and Vyborg, and sixty in-depth interviews with survey participants where we had the opportunity to discuss the political views of respondents in greater depth. The interviews showed the survey data had to be treated with caution. Even if a person had come across as liberal in the survey, it did not mean they did not consider Stalin an effective manager, and Putin, a democratic leader.

Entrusting Russian young people with one’s political hopes is, at very least, premature. They have noticeable problems with political consciousness. Until we got to politics, the vast majority of our respondents gave the impression of being quite conscious, informed, independent citizens. But when it came to political issues, many felt insecure and did not want to analyze them. In part, this explains the comfortable, quite normative choices of answers in the questionnaire. It was easier to check off that you support freedom of speech, the ability of citizens to shape events at home, and other “correct” answers.

On the other hand, young people have traditionally delegated responsibility to “adults” and “those who know best.” This position—that we are “little”, that we have to finish our educations, and get our own lives up and running—is a powerful barrier to collective action. It is curious this stance is a response to the attitude of “adults” towards young people. In the Russian discourse, young people are usually imagined as dependent objects in need of refinement, “patriotic” and other mentoring, but not as subjects of their own destinies. (Elena Omelchenko, director of the Center for Youth Studies at the Higher School of Economics, has long argued this point; see, for example, her article “Youth Activism in Russia and Global Transformations of Its Meaning.”) Young people willingly accept this position and do not want to change anything. Consequently, they do not shape the participatory skills, the civic skills they would need for political engagement in adulthood. Postponing interest in politics “for later,” young people practically postpone it forever. No wonder that a variety of civic education programs designed to instill the habits of citizens in young people are so popular all over the world.

When pinning hopes on young people, we need to consider two other things. First, young people, as they grow up, often forget about tolerance and the experiments of adolescence. Second, in Russian society there is not the radical ideological and cultural gap between the generations of parents and children that would be necessary for the kind of revolutionary outbursts of student unrest the world saw in 1968. For our respondents, parents and older relatives are the only people who can be trusted, and when making decisions, young people are guided by their opinions. Some respondents from the older age group (21–25 years of age) voted the same way in the 2011–2012 elections as their parents had. Moreover, family discussions of political change and parents’ opinions of the 1990s, the “restoration of order” in the 2000s, and even Soviet times have a much stronger impact on young people than any TV propaganda, which our respondents fairly easily identified and ignored, in contrast to the views of their elders. It is often forgotten that Russian society is experiencing a crisis of confidence in public institutions as well as in people outside the closest circles of friends and family. Our respondents are far from being ideological rebels in their families. Even if you do not agree about something with your parents, only they can be counted on for support, and only they want the best for you.

Under these circumstances, it was to be expected that the interviews showed the young people were extremely alienated from politics in general. Politics and everything associated with it was a “dirty business” in which involvement was absolutely senseless. This feeling of meaninglessness has been another important factor blocking attempts by even critically minded and informed young people from participating in political and civic processes. “Nothing can change” and “Everything has already been decided for us” were the phrases they used to explain their own lack of involvement. This, however, is not an exclusively Russian trait. Studies of European young people have also demonstrated a long-term, growing disillusionment with formal politics, declining interest in political parties, elections, and so on (see Flash Eurobarometer 375, April–May 2013).

Interpreting sociological data and trying to use them to make forecasts is a complicated and often thankless task, especially when it comes to mass mobilization, revolutions, riots, and similar “flash” events. Researchers of social movements have long been struggling with the question of why people do, nevertheless, take to the streets. Even in the most difficult conditions, when there is strong dissatisfaction with the situation, policies, and the regime, protests may or may not happen. That is why the analysis of attitudes and stated opinions is not an effective way of predicting behavior. People do not always do what they say, and even if they honestly believe in liberal values, it is not a given that at the crucial moment they will back up their statements with action. On the other hand, if they keep silent, it does not mean this will always be the case.

The author is a senior fellow at the Center for Youth Studies at the Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg. All texts were translated by the Russian Reader. Photo courtesy of anatrrra.livejournal.com

The Joseph Brodsky Law

Let’s call it the Joseph Brodsky Law, especially since it was drafted in that incubator of shamelessness and obscurantism known as the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly, in Brodsky’s hometown.

I have an acquaintance who was laid off seven months ago from his job of many years in the marketing department at a reputable, Soviet-era instruments manufacturing company. He has been diligently looking for a comparable job (or any good job) since then, but has found nothing.

Part of the reason his company tanked was that the wise guys (pun intended?) who now own it, diversified into real estate development and construction during the “boom” times a few year ago, and lost tons of money building luxury high-rises somewhere in the middle of Leningrad Region which no one wanted to move into.

Igor will be thrilled to learn his country has plans to label him a “social parasite” and assign him to a life of slave labor because he, a hard-working, pleasant, smart, decent guy, had the bad fortune to be born in a country where, in reality, “labor” and hard work have always been vilified and criminalized, whether by the serf-owning noblemen of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the vanguard of the proletariat during the twentieth century or the new overlords, the Ozero dacha co-op and their minions from the worlds of organized crime and petty officialdom.

rus_lit_60_05Joseph Brodsky, convicted social parasite and Nobel Prize winner

By the way, this is yet another reason the abomination known as the Joseph Brodsky Memorial Apartment Museum, which seems closer than ever to becoming a reality, now that the Friends of Brodsky have finally made a deal with the nasty old neighbor lady from the Brodsky family’s communal flat in the Muruzi House who was holding out on the Friends of Brodsky and asking for too much for her portion of the flat, should never be opened, much less have been contemplated in the first place.

The nasty old neighbor lady has been the only (albeit inadvertent) heroine in this tedious, drawn-out saga, because she has been the only one of the players trying to prevent the building of a needless, unwieldy monument to a man who, whatever his other extreme personal and political quirks, would hardly have wanted to return—whether in the flesh, in the spirit, as a bronze suitcase with his severed head propped on top, as yet another salon of old knickknacks and furniture (aka the Russian writer’s museum), etc.—to a city which is not only run by a, so to speak, legitimately elected ex-KGB officer and where homophobia is not merely legalized but almost functions like a quasi-state ideology, but where the law that was used to put Brodsky away when he was just a punk poetry slammer is now being revived, if only, so far, on the “exploratory” and “thought experiment” level.

BrodskySimunKonstantin Simun, Memorial to Joseph Brodsky, Philological Faculty, Saint Petersburg State University

The Brodsky Museum should not be opened if for no other reason than that all these creeps from the Mariinsky Palace and the Smolny (you can fill in their names), so keen on grinding gays into the dirt and stigmatizing the jobless, among their other hobbies, will show up for the grand opening. And the Friends of Brodsky will have invited them there. God knows that is exactly how Brodsky would have wanted to be remembered—as a door mat for thieves and crooks to wipe their feet on while accumulating cultural capital. (They already have a lock on the real capital, the shiny stuff you can buy swanky digs in London with.)

Finally, note that the only person who talks any sense, in the article, quoted below, is the guy from the Communist Party. Go figure.

_________

In a move reminiscent of the Soviet era, Russian lawmakers have proposed introducing a penalty for being unemployed, and called for amending the Constitution to make labor the duty of each citizen, Russian media reported Monday.

The bill, drafted in the municipal legislature of St. Petersburg and soon to be introduced before the State Duma, would make “employment dodging” an offense punishable by community service, Izvestia reported. The daily claimed to have obtained a copy of the draft bill.

The move would echo the practice of the Soviet Union, whose Constitution enshrined labor as the “right” and also the “duty” of each citizen. It would also echo a law that the former Soviet republic of Belarus adopted recently, making “social parasitism” — a Soviet-era term for unemployment — punishable by a fine, in a bid to crack down on tax evaders.

Joseph Brodsky, one of Russia’s most prominent poets and its last Nobel prize winner in literature, was convicted of social parasitism during a 1964 trial, over the course of which the judge famously wondered who had recognized him as a poet.

Izvestia reported that under the new bill, adult and able-bodied Russians who have been out of a job for more than six months “when there is appropriate work available,” could be sentenced to up to one year of community service.

St. Petersburg lawmaker Andrei Anokhin was quoted by Interfax as saying that jobless Russians should apply to state-run employment agencies, and the “state should provide everyone with work.”

“Then it would be much easier to track down those who avoid working,” Anokhin was quoted by Izvestia as saying.

A lawmaker on the State Duma’s labor and social policy committee, Valery Trapeznikov, said that his panel would review the proposal, adding that Russians who do not work are costing the state income tax losses, the report said.

Communist State Duma deputy Vadim Solovyev referred to the proposal as “unconstitutional” in comments carried by Interfax.

“The introduction of a criminal penalty for being unemployed would mean violating the Constitution and international agreements,” Solovyev said Monday, noting that Russia is bound by its ratification of the International Labor Organization’s convention prohibiting forced labor.

Mikhail Yemelyanov, a Duma deputy from the A Just Russia party, said that he is confident the proposal will not survive a parliamentary vote. “This initiative cannot be approved because it is meaningless,” Yemelyanov told Interfax on Monday.

Meanwhile, Federation Council member Alexander Ryazantsky offered an alternative to the proposed penalty in comments to Interfax, suggesting that the unemployed should lose their rights to certain social benefits, such as advanced medical coverage and pensions.

source: Moscow Times

P.S. Kommersant reports a bill has been introduced in the State Duma that, if passed, would ban the use of hunger strikes “by way of resolving collective and individual labor disputes.”

You cannot make this stuff up, but they can. Have a gander at yesterday’s post, about the work-to-rule strike in Moscow medical clinics, where recent and current hunger strikes by Ufa health workers are also mentioned.

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1

Christmas has come and my pocket is empty.
My novel’s finished, but the publisher’s iffy.
The Koran has made the calendar itchy.
There’s no one to visit, no one to worry.
Not my pal, whose kiddies just bawl.
Not my folks nor the broad down the hall.
Everywhere money’s the end and be all.
I sit on a chair, trembling with fury.

2

Ah! the poet’s accursed craft.
The telephone is dumb, a diet’s at hand.
I could borrow at the local, but that’s
like borrowing from a dame.
Losing one’s independence is much worse
than losing one’s innocence. I suppose
it’s a vicarious pleasure to dream of a spouse,
to say to oneself, “It’s high time.”

3

Knowing my status, my betrothed
hasn’t changed hers five years in a row.
Where she is nowadays, I do not know:
The devil himself couldn’t make her spill.
She says, “It’s useless to grieve.
Feelings are what’s important! Agreed?”
And from where she sits, that’s keen.
But she, it seems, is more fond of the swill.

4

I’m altogether skeptical of kith and kin.
My extra stomach offends the kitchen.
To top it off, my personal opinion
of man’s role in life makes them bristle.
They consider me a bandit
and make a mockery of my diet.
With them I enjoy no credit.
“Cut him a piece of gristle!”

5

I see my unmarried self in the windowpane.
One simple fact I’ll never explain
is how I’ve survived until Christmas Day,
Nineteen Hundred Sixty-seven A.D.
Twenty-six years of jolts and bumps,
scrounging for money, the judge’s thumps,
learning to play the deaf-mute, to primp
for the Law like a lady.

6

Around me life flows like molasses.
(I have in mind, of course, the masses.)
Marx is vindicated. But, following Marx’s
theory, long ago I should’ve been slaughtered.
Whose balance this favors is anyone’s guess.
My existence is a philosopher’s mess.
I somersault from this age without a net.
Please forgive me my hauteur.

7

Meaning, there’s every reason to rest assured.
The cry “Mount your horses!” is no longer heard.
The nobles have been squashed to the last earl.
Pugachev and Stepan Razin are long gone, honey.
The palace is taken, if you believe the rumors.
Dzhugashvili lies, a pickled cucumber.
On the forecastle all the cannons slumber.
The only thing on my mind is money.

8

Money is hiding in safes and in banks,
in stockings, in ceilings, in toilet bowl tanks,
in fireproof tins, in money order blanks.
Nature is drowning in money’s mere!
Packs of the newest notes make a commotion
like the distant crowns of birches, acacias.
I’m overwhelmed by hallucinations.
Give me some air!

9

Night. The rustle of falling snow.
A shovel gently scrapes the pavement below.
In the window opposite, an icon lamp glows.
I loll on the sofa’s steel springs.
I see only the icon lamp. But the icon is
out of sight. I draw closer to the balcony.
The snow covers the roof with a blanket,
and the houses stand like someone else’s.

[…]

source

A Modern Song

IMG_0874

A Modern Song

A man comes to the ruins again and again.
He was here the day before yesterday and yesterday,
And will show up tomorrow.
The ruins attract him.
He says:

Gradually,
Gradually you learn many things, so many.
You learn how to pick out your own alarm clocks and charred album covers
From the pile of broken rubble.
You get used to
Coming here every day.
You get used to the ruins being there.
You become accustomed to the thought.

Sometimes it seems: so be it.
Sometimes it seems you have learned it all,
And now you can easily chat
With a strange child in the street
And explain everything. So be it.

The man comes to the ruins again,
Whenever he wants to love again,
To wind up the alarm clock again.

It does not occur to us normal people what it is like to come home and find ruins instead of a home. No, we do not know what it is like to lose our legs and our arms under a train or tram. We get word of all this via sad rumors. In fact, this is the required percentage of misfortunes, the rose of disasters.

The man comes to the ruins again.
For a long while he pokes at the wet wallpaper and rubble with a stick.
He bends down, picks something up, and looks.

Someone builds houses.
Someone destroys them forever. Someone builds them again.
The abundance of cities fills us all with optimism.

The man in the ruins has picked something up and looks.
These people usually do not cry.
Even when visiting friends who are (thank God) unharmed,
They look disapprovingly at stacks of photo albums.
“These days,” they say, “it’s not worth taking photos.”

A lot can be built, and just as much destroyed
And built again.
Nothing is more terrible than the heart’s ruins.
Nothing is more terrible than ruins

On which rain falls and past which
New cars speed,
In which, like ghosts, roam
People with broken hearts and children in berets.
Nothing is more terrible than ruins

Which no longer seem metaphors
And become what they once were:
Homes.

1961

IMG_0893

original

Photographs by The Russian Reader of the now-demolished Rogov House (top) and Renaissance Hall (formerly, Regent Hall) shopping center (bottom), officially declared a “town planning mistake.” The buildings were once situated next to each other on Vladimir Square and Zagorodny Prospect in Petrograd.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks are also due to my parents for emigrating from Russia to Germany when I was twelve and thus helping me discover the joy of bilingual editions. Using them first just to learn a new language, I soon found incomparable pleasure in comparing, in reading simultaneously two very similar yet fascinatingly different texts.  Soon I was gathering together as many versions as possible and I recall lying on the floor with maybe a dozen print-outs of a single poem’s many incarnations spread out around me, having discovered that parallel reading is most fun with poetry. If I like a text, I re-read it in another language. If I love a text, I re-read it in two languages. If there is no translation, I translate it for myself. This quirk to a large degree defines me as a reader. And “me as a reader” to a large degree defines me.

—Alexandra Berlina, Brodsky Translating Brodsky: Poetry in Self-Translation (Bloomsbury, 2014), p. ix

Lecture at the Sorbonne

__________

A Lecture at the Sorbonne

You should study philosophy, at best,
After fifty. Build a model
Of society, all the more so. First you should
Learn to make soup, fry (if not catch)
Fish, make decent coffee.
Otherwise, moral laws
Smack of dad’s belt or a translation
From the German. You first should
Learn how to lose rather than gain,
Loathe yourself more than the tyrant,
Shell out half your measly paycheck on rent
For years on end before holding forth
On the triumph of justice. Which always comes
At least twenty-five years too late.

You should study a philosopher’s work through the prism
Of experience or wearing glasses (which nearly amounts to the same thing),
As when the letters run together and
The naked dame on the rumpled sheets is once again
A photograph for you or a reproduction
Of an artist’s painting. Genuine love of
Wisdom does not insist on reciprocity
And ends not in marriage
To a hefty tome published in Göttingen
But in indifference to oneself,
In the blush of shame; sometimes, in an elegy.
(Somewhere, a streetcar clangs, eyelids droop,
Soldiers return from a brothel, singing;
Only the rain is reminiscent of Hegel.)

The truth is there is no
Truth. This doesn’t exempt us
From responsibility. On the contrary:
Ethics is the selfsame vacuum, filled by human
Behavior almost continuously;
The selfsame universe, if you like.
And the gods love the Good not for its eyes,
But because they wouldn’t exist were it not for the Good.
And they in turn fill the vacuum,
Perhaps even more systematically
Than we do, for we are
Unreliable. Although there are more of us
Than ever before, this is no Greece:
We are undone by low cloud cover and, as mentioned above, rain.

You should study philosophy when
You have no need of philosophy. When you have a hunch
The chairs in your living room and the Milky Way
Are interconnected, and more closely than causes and effects, than you
And your relatives. And that what constellations
And chairs have in common is insensibility, inhumanity.
This a bond stronger than copulation
Or blood! Naturally, you shouldn’t try
To resemble things. On the other hand, when
You’re ill, you don’t necessarily have to convalesce
Or worry how you look. This is what
People over fifty know. Hence, when they
Look into a mirror, they sometimes confuse aesthetics with metaphysics.

Original

__________

A Russian emigrant student in France yelled at Russia’s top investigator Alexander Bastrykin this week during a panel at the Sorbonne, calling him a murderer and accusing him of launching politically motivated criminal probes.

An unidentified male student was apparently angered with Bastrykin’s evasive replies to questions about the prosecution of Greenpeace activists from the Arctic Sunrise and participants at the opposition rally on Bolotnaya Ploshchad in May 2012, French media and eyewitnesses reported on the Internet.

An eyewitness of the incident, Lolita Gruzdeva, posted a video on her Instagram account late Wednesday in one of which an unidentified male student yells at Bastrykin in French.

In another video posted by Gruzdeva, the same young man yells at Bastrykin in Russian, “You are a criminal!”

The student’s outburst happened after Bastrykin, replying to questions from participants of the meeting, said that the fate of Greenpeace activists would be decided by the court system and that the denial of medical assistance to a hunger-striking suspect in the Bolotnaya trial, Sergei Krivov, was not his business, Gruzdeva wrote on her Twitter account Wednesday.

Source:  Moscow Times 

Don’t Leave the Room

Don’t leave the room, don’t make the mistake and run.
If you smoke Shipkas, why do you need Suns?
Things are silly out there, especially the happy clucks.
Just go to the john, and come right back.

Oh, don’t leave the room, don’t ring for a car.
Because space consists of a corridor
And ends with a counter. And should a floozy slip in,
Flashing her teeth, make her scram without stripping.

Don’t leave the room, feign that you’ve caught a chill.
What could be more fun than four walls and a chair?
Why leave this place only to come back late in
The evening same as you were, moreover, mutilated?

Oh, don’t leave the room. Dance the bossa nova
In shoes but no socks, a coat over your naked bod.
The hallway reeks of ski wax and cabbage.
You wrote a lot of letters: one more would be too much.

Don’t leave the room. Oh, just let the room imagine
What you look like. And generally, incognito
Ergo sum, as form was told in anger by substance.
Don’t leave the room! Methinks out there it ain’t France.

Don’t be a fool! Don’t be like the others.
Don’t leave the room! I.e., let the furniture have its druthers,
Blend in with the wallpaper. Lock up and let the armoire
Keep chronos, cosmos, eros, race, and virus from getting in the door.

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