Marfa Smirnova: Anatoly, hello! Thank you very much for joining our broadcast. In the theatrical environment, they are discussing that the case against Berkovich and Petriychuk is, in a sense, it could be a hit-and-run at the Golden Mask festival. As a person from the inside, what do you see as the reason for this persecution?
Anatoly Bely: Calling me a man from the inside is already wrong. I am a man on the outside, and have been a man on the outside for almost a year now. Therefore, I can only express my own point of view. From the outside it looks ... I don’t know what the Golden Mask has to do with it, I didn’t have these thoughts in my head at all. But it is obvious that this is just the beginning, unfortunately, of a natural path. This is a link in the chain, absolutely natural. The time has come to take on those cultural figures, in particular the theater, who remained in the country, who did not leave for some subjective reasons of their own. They did not leave, as Zhenya Berkovich did. So they stayed and continued to talk, write, stage.
This is, in general, a natural step of the system, which will destroy these remnants of words, deeds, truth. For me, this looks, unfortunately, I repeat once again, an absolutely natural, expected step. That is, all this was allowed up to a certain point. I don’t know if they didn’t have time for that or something else, the attention was paid more to something else. Now the internal cleansing will definitely begin. Here they started.
Marfa Smirnova: And why was it necessary to start these internal purges? You are probably right that this will be a signal for those who have been in Russia for more than a year. Probably, they will once again think about whether it is worth packing their bags. But I still don’t understand myself, than Berkovich and Petriychuk, especially since we are talking about a performance that came out long before the invasion ... Why did they come after them because of this performance? Why is this article so scary?
Anatoly Bely: You are looking for logic, but there is none. That's all. These reasons lie in a completely different plane. It’s just that the system needs to clean up all the remnants of words so that no one does anything extra, doesn’t say anything. So that everyone walks in formation, thinks the same way and does only what they are told.
It's so obvious to me! I had some kind of epiphany last year, and, in fact, everything confirms only one thing: this system will not stop. This is a direct path to the 30s of the last century. God grant that it would not be to such a huge extent as it was then, but the path, the road definitely leads to this. And I feel really sorry for those people who are left behind. I'll be honest, for me it's such a sacrifice. The people stayed. For some reason Zhenya stayed. "I want to stay, I want to be here until the last moment and do something."
Maybe I will express a seditious thought: for me, this sacrifice is meaningless today, completely useless and absolutely harming the people who remained there. Now Zhenya has fallen under these millstones, and then all those who remained in Russia and still think sensibly will fall further. Therefore, for me, there is only one solution to this issue in today's day - this is to leave, to leave. There is no force there - some kind of consolidating force, uniting healthy people. She is gone. All alone.
Probably Don Quixotes are welcome at all times. But this is a victim, and not just some kind of Don Quixote, but quite tangible people close to me. I am extremely hurt for them, but it is obvious to me that they will not do anything there. Just to sacrifice yourself is what it means to stay there. For example, I don't want to be a victim. I'm tired of being a victim. I don't want my family to be a victim of this regime. My private life and the life of my family are dearer to me. But Zhenya thought differently. And now, in fact ... Unfortunately, it could not be otherwise.
Marfa Smirnova: In a sense, I will allow myself to disagree with you. Maybe you were lucky, I was lucky, we were able to leave and take our children, arrange our lives and theirs abroad. Many, unfortunately - even the majority, I think - do not have such an opportunity. Because, again, there is Zhenya's mother, her grandmothers.
Anatoly Bely: I also allow myself to disagree with you, because if you strain very hard, then there is always a way out. There are friends who will help. We in Israel are simply ready and helpful. We have resources to help. But the man chose a different path. There is always a way out. Man chooses himself.
Marfa Smirnova: What do you think… Yesterday I was struck by such a detail from the process. Badamshin petitioned and attached this to the case file: the employees of the Federal Penitentiary Service liked the performance. This prompted me to think - is it possible that today Mashkov or the conditional Sergey Bezrukov are the favorites of the authorities, and tomorrow, at the snap of a finger, everything can change and they can come after them?
Anatoly Bely: Yes, of course, no doubt. Moreover, it seems to me that at some point it can come absolutely. Again, we are all looking for some kind of human logic. She is not. There is the logic of a devouring beast that just needs to get fed - or not, it's insatiable. Re-read "Mephisto", re-watch the film. All this has been said for a long time.
Marfa Smirnova: Do you believe that for people who are now pleasing to the authorities - I take artists, directors - this persecution of Berkovich can also be some kind of signal?
Anatoly Bely: I don't know. Maybe someone will be touched, someone will not be touched. My personal opinion is that the system will now eat people, as it, in fact, did before, according to some random principle.
Those arguments that are given against this performance are based on pseudo-scientific evidence and pseudo-expertise. There is nothing to do with normal. Everything is sick there. You see, these are all absolutely sick people who come up with pseudoscience, rely on it, and draw conclusions based on these pseudoexpertises. Well, what can we talk about? It's just a sick society, a disease. And she behaves according to laws unknown to us.
Is it worth it to be afraid? Someone is a blowjob, someone is not. Don't know. I only pray that this will not be such a million-strong Gulag as it was in the 30s. But there will be reprisals. They will get tougher. I repeat, I appeal to those people, normal, adequate, who remained there: guys, senseless quixoticism! Now, at this moment in the history of Russia, you will not do anything. You just need to leave in order to save yourself and do something to preserve Russian culture.
Here I am now in Israel, so far in the Russian-speaking field. I play performances in Russian and will continue to play in Russian for some time. Read poetry, programs with a symphony orchestra, and so on. I will do it in Russian, because in Israel there is a huge demand for Russian-speaking culture. And I will keep it as best as I can. For me, the meaning is in this, and not in going to jail now without changing anything.
This does not mean that I am on a white horse, just understand correctly. Now you see that I am not judging anyone. I am hurt and bitter for Zhenya, who is the brightest, most talented person, made this choice, although she had the opportunity to make a different choice. And now she sits down for nothing and has not changed anything. Excuse me, I am a pessimist by nature, so you will not expect words from me now about a bright Russia of the future.
Marfa Smirnova: To tell you the truth, I don't really believe in it either, and I also continue to write and work in Russian. And this is also my goal. Can you tell us more about Zhenya from a personal point of view? I take it you knew her well. And immediately a follow-up question. I can't help but think of her adopted girls, who were left without a mother for these two months. And we understand that this is most likely not two months.
Anatoly Bely: Yes. You know, I would not use the verb "to be" in the past tense in relation to me and Zhenya. We were not, but remain people ... I can’t say friends, because I don’t know her so closely, but absolutely people of the same spirit, the same views. Once my son coined the word "unisaurs". He was fond of dinosaurs, like-minded people joined with dinosaurs, and unisaurs turned out. This concept appeals to me very much. Here Zhenya and I are more like unisaurs in terms of some concepts and principles of life.
Of course, I know her work very well, because in the solo performance that I made in Israel, her poems sound. At Dozhd, I also read her poems in the Russian Lessons program. From this side we communicated on Facebook. In Moscow, we did not communicate so closely and strongly, but during this terrible year I talked a lot with her about poetry - they chose, she sent me some selections.
In principle, it is not necessary to drink tea with a person every day in order to understand what kind of person he is. It is absolutely obvious to me that Zhenya, in a good sense of the word, is a person not of this world. This is an absolutely creative unit, powerful and talented in many areas. She matured for a very long time, being a student of Kirill Serebrennikov. She walked for a long time, looking for her way and handwriting, broke away from the master so as not to slide into imitation, and so on. And I found my language. Insanely talented, very gifted, very in-depth in creativity man. That's why she was so far from the earth, some earthly things.
I don't know what to say, how she can handle it all. But she can handle it. She is a very strong person. Of course, insanely sorry for the girls. But what to do? I think there are people who can help.
Marfa Smirnova: How do you think Zhenya can be helped now?
Anatoly Bely: Well, I tried to say the same thing. I'm sure that now there will be people who... According to the letter of the law, again, I don't know what can be done there. But those who will be there and help - of course, these people will be.
Marfa Smirnova: Thank you very much, Anatoly!
Anatoly Bely: Not at all. Thank you!