Mikhail Khodorkovsky: Government Must Exist On The Level Of Its Citizens; It Must Breathe The Same Air

March 27, 2018

A terrible tragedy has taken place in our country.  A monstrous fire has claimed the lives of scores of people, and that’s just according to the official statistics.  Many of the dead are children.

Smoke raises over a shopping center Zimnaya Vishnya in the West Siberian city of Kemerovo, Russia, early 26 March 2018. At least 56 people reportedly died, including many children and around 60 are still lost. EPA-EFE/ALEXANDER PATRIN/A42.RU

Surely explanations for the fire will surface in due course, and a couple of scapegoats will face punishment.

However it is less likely that we’ll get an honest account of who “covered” this lucrative shopping mall in the center of Kemerovo, in spite of its deadly condition.  In my opinion, the answer is obvious: without the feudal ugliness of the local leaders this wouldn’t have been allowed to happen.  And certainly if it were not for the collapse of government in the region, or for the local governor to whom Russia’s “ruler” so stubbornly holds on?

The main reason is that in Russia the people exist for the benefit of the state, and not the other way around.  The government takes interest in the citizens from the point of view of taxpayers, potential voters, soldiers, subordinates, or whatever else they like, but not as human beings with their own lives, desires and grievances.

The Ministry of Emergency Situations officially reports on how its services are tackling the fire, only briefly mentioning the victims.

The local governor does not bother to visit the scene of the tragedy, instead he’s busy kissing Putin’s ass.  State media channels refuse to interrupt their entertainment broadcasting schedule to cover the tragedy.

Meanwhile the man “elected by the Russian people” is silent: “the president’s schedule remains unchanged.”

The monstrous, painful death of dozens of children and adults through fire and smoke, deaths that could and should have been prevented – is this not reason enough to change your schedule and express your condolences at the scene of the tragedy?

You can argue all you like about what kind of government Russia needs: left, right, liberal, conservative.  The most important thing is that the government exists on the same level as its citizens, and should breathe the same air; it must come from within, from the heart.

Are you tired? You can’t go on any longer? Then leave office.

This is far from the only, but is certainly a necessary condition for humane existence in a country.

I express my sincere and deepest condolences to the families and loved-ones of those who died in Kemerovo.

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