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Paints With Dirt

Today, I read two Russian-language articles — from «Meduza» and «Radio Liberty» — about the real situation in the village of Tomsino in the Pskov Region— a twelve-year-old girl wrote a letter to Putin. There has been no response from the Kremlin, local officials refused to help, and the girl and her mother’s own fellow villagers began to mock them.

Today, I read two Russian-language articles — from «Meduza» and «Radio Liberty» — about the real situation in the village of Tomsino in the Pskov Region — a twelve-year-old girl wrote a letter to Putin. There has been no response from the Kremlin, local officials refused to help, and the girl and her mother’s own fellow villagers began to mock them. I recommend everyone to read these articles.

¿But after all, in Russia and in other countries, there are dozens, hundreds, thousands of similar cases, and I am not an overly emotional person — why this exact situation?

Because it perfectly reflects my thoughts about what situation we are in and an ordinary person should do.

A year and a half ago, living conditions in the Samara city — and in Russia as a whole — became so unacceptable for me, that I decided to affect the results of the upcoming presidential elections with everything I could, despite of the fact that, I always considered and continue to consider politics as the instrument of solving the consequences of problems, but not their causes. In October 2017, I went to the Navalnyi Headquarters in Samara, because I have seen serious work only from them among all political organizations, and a month later, after knowing all the information and making the final decision, I decided to verify my signature for the presidential nomination of Alexey Navalnyi and began to inform people, distribute booklets, and put up leaflets. For the entire pre-election and strike campaign, only I have spread more than a ten thousand materials: I was doing this almost for all my free time.

It was during this period I first stood in a single picket and took part in a protest meeting.

The photograph from the protest meeting on the seventh of October, 2017.
The protest meeting on the seventh of October, 2017.

After Navalnyi has not been allowed to take part in the last presidential elections, I decided to boycott these «elections».

The photograph from the protest meeting on the twenty eighth of January, 2018.
The protest meeting on the twenty eighth of January, 2018

Despite of the boycott, I have still been interested in what will be happening — so, I attained the pre-election meeting with Vladimir Zhirinovskiy and asked him the question, which he did not want to hear. Firstly, he got furious, then switched to personal insults. After that, Zhirinovskiy agreed with me and even publicly invited me to Kremlin for a public discussion. Such a pity — several days later, his communications representative has not answered to my email about exact dates of going to Kremlin.

I have predicted this: I do not trust politicians. Especially, Russian politicians. But many people still do — look at their faces on the photo below: a lot of them tried to shut me, while I was asking my «uncomfortable» question.

Other people asked Zhirinovksiy — the politician — about his attitude to Space industry in Samara. During the elections.

Conformism.

Fear.

The photograph from the pre-election meeting with Zhirinovskiy on the eighth of February, 2018.
The pre-election meeting with Zhirinovskiy on the eighth of February, 2018.

After Vladimir Putin was re-elected, I participated in my last protest meeting on this topic. In times of boycotting the elections, I still wanted my actions to be useful, so I was studying as an independent observer for collecting the statistics of attendance on the elections: it was not a secret, that the main goal of the presidential administration after banning Navalnyi was the high attendance. Fake, forced, with violations — did not matter. The advertisement of elections was everywhere. Even the parents of my ex-classmate have been forced to «make their choice on the blank» and take a picture with it.

And a lot of people have done this — not only my ex-classmate’s parents, but people all across the Russia.

I have been in the polling station at the Komsomolskiy village in the Samara Region. I have seen, how it was.

Conformism.

Fear.

After that protest meeting, I stopped to support the Samara Navalnyi Headquarters so actively, and attended my last meeting because of the disagreement with the decision of Russian government to increase the retirement age.

After getting such invaluable experience and broadening understanding of the current social and political processes, after seeing arrests of grandparents and children on the meetings, after hundreds of active discussions and thousands acts to inform people on what is happening, I have understood one very important thing: environment has the main role in shaping the human behavior. There are no «good knights» and «evil dragons», and believing in them is very harmful and dangerous.

The fellow villagers of the twelve-year-old girl and her mother act so not because they were born «evil» or with greed — the environment of the constant survival, not living, shaped their attitude to the world and reaction to others’ pursuit of naive justice in the unjust system. It is very important, even vital, to understand this.

The photograph of the FIFA World Cup 2018 graffiti in the residential area of the Samara city.
The FIFA World Cup 2018 graffiti in the residential area of the Samara city.