Marfa Smirnova: Viktor Anatolyevich, hello! Thank you very much for this interview. I don’t know if you saw it, but this week Meduza, Reuters and Important Stories published a joint investigation into how a certain Russian Internet Development Institute (IRI, as it is called) finances military propaganda. For me, the most interesting moment there was that even those who now oppose the war took the money. Well, they took money for films before the invasion, but nevertheless, everyone again had this question: how ethical, how decent is it to do at least something, even for good, but with the money of the state?
Viktor Shenderovich: You see, this is an eternal question and a question that already has answers. I will just quote them, because there is no need to reinvent the wheel. The degree to which compromise is acceptable is an eternal question. And he is absolutely specific. You're making a deal with the devil. You must make good out of evil, because there is nothing else to make of it, as it is said in the great novel by Penn Warren "All the King's Men" translated by Viktor Golyshev. You have to make good out of evil, because there is nothing else to make of it.
In the case when a person is… I don’t know, a poet, he can write poetry. A composer can write music, put it on a table and hope that in two hundred years someone will dig up this music and perform it. But if you want your music to be performed during your lifetime, for your book to be published during your lifetime, then you go to a publishing house, to an orchestra - and you immediately find yourself in a totalitarian, authoritarian state. Only not on grandmas, but on the state. You must cooperate with him. There can be no uncontrolled orchestra, there can be no theater, no cinema. There can be no hospital, returning to the topic of Nyuta Federmesser and Chulpan Khamatova. Nothing can happen without the permission of the state. If this is an authoritarian state, then it controls everything, takes its cream from everything and has the right to always stop it.
So, if Nyuta Federmesser wants to anesthetize the dying, then tens of thousands of anesthetized dying people should, so to speak, in the person of Nyuta Federmesser bow at the waist to Putin, she should join some filthy United Front. Chulpan Khamatova should simply say the words with a grimace on her face that she asks us to vote for “this person” (she couldn’t even put his last name in her mouth, so to speak). And where to go? Because before your eyes are children who will die without help, old people who will die without pain relief.
To what extent it is possible - for me, in human assessment, only goal-setting. When this goal-setting is the same as that of Chulpan Khamatova and Nyuta Federmesser, this is one story. When the goal-setting is like that of some Bezrukov, or, I don’t know, Boyarsky, or Babkina, with a speaking surname, then this is different.
Where is the border? Formally, no one will establish this. It is up to the individual to decide whether this is acceptable or not. Once again, a poet can in principle write poetry and expect to be read in two hundred years. I can afford to say what I say, because behind me there is neither a team nor television. I can talk, I can not talk. Well, yes, since I do not cooperate with the state, my audience has decreased thousands of times. But this is my choice. I could compete with Solovyov and Urgant, but I could make this choice. But I am aware that the audience will decrease. Without the state, you are marginal immediately. I can afford to be marginalized. In the case of a doctor or a film director, marginality simply means leaving the profession. You cannot be a doctor in a Moscow hospital if you are not included in this system, if you are not silent like a rag about the war or theft going on there. That's the whole answer.
Marfa Smirnova: In general, my acquaintances, my former colleagues from Dozhd and even NTV became the defendants in this investigation. And now in this liberal crowd, pardon the use of this expression, there are many voices that have been cancelled. It turns out that all their, even worthy, work is now being leveled. But do you know what they did? They took money to shoot a film about Soviet design in 1920, or something. I have a feeling that this is some kind of another misunderstanding among their own. Their own drown their own kind.
Viktor Shenderovich: Me too. There are bound to be completely emotional and personal aspects to this story. I will say this: I have heard reproaches for many years. I worked for a television company that Berezovsky gave money for. It was called TV-6. I worked for "Echo of Moscow" - "Gazprom-Media". These were platforms where I could do what I can do.
Further, it seems to me that the fair question is: do I serve Berezovsky and Gazprom-Media, or do I, using Berezovsky and Gazprom-Media, do what I consider necessary for myself and for my radio listeners? Here is the correct question. And the fact that you took the money - well, I took money from Berezovsky and Gazprom-Media, so what? Well, I didn’t take much from Gazprom-Media, there were no salaries there. Doesn't matter. But I went on the air on their site. This is normal, I think.
I repeat, the watershed goes by goal-setting. We rip the treasury, we cut money under the guise of artistic activity, medical, any kind of scientific activity - or I really do scientific work, and yes, I take money from the state. In the second case - yes, I make compromises. And then only my conscience and the results of my work.
Based on the results, you can weigh whether it was justified or not. In the case of Nyuta Federmesser, the clearest case for me, yes, justified. When you imagine that your loved one is dying without anesthesia, that he is suffering from pain, you will not only go to Putin, you will go to Hitler, if he gives money for this, he will allow this person to be anesthetized. And there is nothing to be ashamed of, in my opinion. That is, it seems to me that this is primarily a matter of goal-setting. If people sawed loot, then shame on them. If they used resources to do something worthwhile, honor and praise them.
Marfa Smirnova: Don't you think that these disputes have become much larger? For example, this week they ran into Rodnyansky because he wrote some kind of post about blowing up the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station. Everyone is constantly talking about how to support Ukraine, how to suffer, who to sympathize with, who not to sympathize with. No wonder these new expressions, memes appeared: “white coats”, “liberal regional committee”. Why is it on the rise now?
Viktor Shenderovich: Well, listen, the situation, life has become aggravated. Nerves, so to speak, burned. A huge number of public controllers appeared. They surrounded me from all sides. No matter what I write on Facebook, no matter what I write at all, there will still be a dozen or one and a half, or even a hundred or one and a half of some kind of disgusting comments, rudeness and raids. A huge number of advisers, public controllers who tell me how I should help Ukraine, how much I should deduct, what I should deduct, how I have the right to grieve or not mourn for this or that person.
It's crazy, but it's understandable. The fact is that this is the first such big war that takes place in the new information space. There was no such thing. Imagine a resident of besieged Leningrad who would suddenly have the opportunity to read how the inhabitants of Berlin correspond with each other, and for some reason in Russian, which he understands. How they complain, talk about their premieres or home problems, about the health of loved ones. Imagine if there was a possibility of a backlash, if a commentator from besieged Leningrad could write something to a resident of Berlin. And not supporting Hitler, but simply a resident of Berlin, whose children grow up, mother-in-law gets sick, food disappears. How would he comment?
This is an unprecedented situation. We live in an absolutely glassy, transparent world. For example, I underestimated this fact, because I wrote on my Facebook, based on the fact that this is my page and those who are interested in what I wrote come here. No, it turns out that I am standing in the wind, so to speak, against all of humanity, and everyone considers themselves entitled and have the opportunity to come and whip me on the cheeks.
This is a new situation. It's just not really understood by us. Nothing can be done about it, this is such a new world. Then there is the question of human ideas about the rules of decency, about ethics, who behaves how, who understands, feels the boundaries of decency in this invasion, and who does not. But this is a very understandable thing, unfortunately. That is, it does not mean that it is easier. But it is very understandable at least.
Marfa Smirnova: Is there any cure for this?
Viktor Shenderovich: Intelligence and ideas about the rules of decency. I can write a post and limit the audience to myself. Then no one, apparently, will say anything bad to me. But in principle, yes, intelligence, taste - this is the medicine so that you understand what is decent, what is obscene.
According to my personal understanding, a person with whom I strongly disagree, who annoys me, I will simply unsubscribe from him, I will not receive mailings from him. I will not go to someone else's territory to shake their breasts and demand from someone that they agree with my views. I understand that this is stupid. But dozens of people who come to me don't think it's stupid. They have different ideas about the rules. I repeat, the rules are not spelled out, so everyone determines them for himself. I determined for myself, they determined for themselves. Our rules don't match.
Marfa Smirnova: But now we are talking about some kind of Facebook squabbles, in which journalists or just media people participate. And speaking of opposition politicians, Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky and several other opposition politicians came to the European Parliament this week. Naturally, Navalny's associates were not there again. Many political scientists with whom I spoke believe that no unification is needed. But as a voter, would you be pleased to vote for some single candidate from the opposition?
Viktor Shenderovich: I would be very pleased to vote. But where to vote, in which country will I vote for the opposition candidate?
Marfa Smirnova: Well, in the beautiful Russia of the future, as everyone says.
Viktor Shenderovich: Listen, the beautiful Russia of the future is the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm.
Marfa Smirnova: I understand, yes.
Viktor Shenderovich: So, this is all a rather meaningless conversation. Of course, after the results of the 2003 elections, when not a single decent party, not cannibalistic, got into parliament, I took Garry Kasparov by the hand and brought him to Boris Nemtsov. And all this degenerated into the "Committee 2008". In 2003, it was already clear that there was no point in any Yabloko, Union of Right Forces, that a normal national united front, a civil front, should be done in order to still unstick Putin's fingers from power. Because in 2003, twenty years ago, it was clear to normal people, not blind, that he was moving towards absolute totalitarian power.
I spent a couple of years at committee meetings, where at the end, when I left, I said that if you didn’t love Putin as much as you don’t love each other, then Putin would, of course, not exist. Intraspecific competition, intraspecific hatred is the strongest. And I watched it. I then realized that this is completely impossible, unfortunately. Hopes glimmered a few more times, but already at the new round of the Coordinating Council in 2012, I no longer went, because I could no longer see it. And he did the right thing by not going. It was doomed.
Of course, I would like people I respect to unite in politics. But I see that it is absolutely impossible. I am very depressed by the position of Navalny. Well, not Navalny himself - he behaves impeccably, he is in prison - but his political structure.
Of course, a merger would be very desirable. Of course, all conventional discrepancies between Khodorkovsky and Navalny, Gudkov and Kasparov are insignificant compared to what unites us. Well, with me, if you like, I am not a politician, but just as an electorate. I would vote for anyone on whom they, having agreed among themselves, will stop. I would vote for this figure blindly. I say without fail that I put aside all my disagreements with this figure in advance. It's not that important at all.
I have no doubt that non-imperial Russians (“good Russians” is some kind of kindergarten), normal, European Russians, people who belong to the Russian civilization, but who understand that the empire is death and the empire must be ended, there are millions of them . And these millions, of course, would vote for a united candidate.
Marfa Smirnova: Returning to the people in Russia. Our program will include an interview with my colleague from Insider, who has just arrived from Shebekino. She filmed both there and in the Belgorod region. I asked her about the mood there. And I was struck by the fact that people who have experienced the war on themselves, who already have a civil war going on in front of their noses (I mean the RDK and so on), are still in some kind of dream, stupor. I don't understand: is it such a strong scale of fear that does not allow them to see what is happening in front of their noses?
Viktor Shenderovich: This is a mixture of the "Stockholm syndrome", which is already inoperable - they internally linked themselves with Putin long ago, Putin is Russia - and insufficient, perhaps, intellectual capabilities. But, I repeat, I think that the “Stockholm syndrome” prevails here. After all, in order to admit even to oneself that it is Putin’s fault that the war is going on in Russia, that NATO is really standing at the gates, there is a war going on, people are dying, twenty years of economic development is going to dust, the country’s future is thrown out for a couple of generations, - it is necessary to understand, see and connect the phenomena. This takes a certain amount of courage.
And this intellectual courage is lacking in many. It really takes courage because it brings down your life. And what should you do after that? Go to RDK? Blow up military offices? Or admit to yourself that you just got fucked and you are garbage under the feet of these scoundrels who are fattening? They deceived you, filled your head with tops and giggle behind your back.
It is very difficult to admit all this. It is much easier to believe - and this is a very understandable thing: here is the enemy at the gate, here Putin was right. Putin was right, it is necessary to Putin, to ask Putin for protection. Only something Putin has no protection. There is no protection from Putin, and Putin has no protection.
Marfa Smirnova: But, on the other hand, you come to the pharmacy, there is no insulin, as my correspondent colleague said. I don’t really imagine that at this moment a person will think: “But I have Putin.”
Victor Shenderovich: At this moment it is very important where. Like Schwartz: I knew at home, but at the parade ... It's one thing at home. I'd love to hear what a person without and in need of insulin has to say about all this. Even within the family circle. And what can we say about the current public acoustics, when for a Ukrainian flag on your phone, which your neighbor sees in the subway, you can be put in a camp.
Understand, when we talk about public reaction, it is very easy to notice in a free country. I have already said: in America you are for Trump, you are against Trump, but it would never occur to you that you should give the correct answer. You have the right, this is your country. And when sociologists are interested in how you feel about Putin, well, yes, these are Pyongyang indicators will soon be. But this does not mean that Kim Jong-un is loved in Pyongyang. This means that at the very question “How do you feel about Kim Jong-un?” the nervous system immediately sits down. Because he understands that if he does not answer convincingly enough, he will be shot with a flamethrower. They don’t shoot people with flamethrowers yet, but they put them in camps. So why be surprised at sociology?
Marfa Smirnova: This week's news from your region. You live in Poland, right?
Viktor Shenderovich: Yes.
Marfa Smirnova: So, they were deported from Poland, and on an emergency basis, despite the fact that the lawyer Karina Moskalenko applied to the ECHR, a former FSB officer who collaborated with the Polish authorities, and Vladimir Osechkin from Gulag.net handed over tons of super-valuable files information. Nevertheless, he was sent to Russia, where, probably (we cannot say for sure yet), he will be persecuted. I talked with various military personnel, and with former PMCs who left for other European countries and whom no one is expelling from there. These are Norway, Spain, France. Do you think this is some kind of purely Polish case and the rejection by the Polish authorities of this, of course, also a criminal?
Viktor Shenderovich: This is a monstrous story. From a humanitarian point of view, of course, a monstrous story. I don’t know the practice well enough, so I can’t say that this is literally a Polish case. This is not only the Polish case. Throughout the post-war period, we remember how some activist who supported Navalny was not allowed into Estonia (and was not allowed - this means that they were returned back to Russia by the same FSB agents).
These deportations are a completely shameful thing, as it seems to me, obvious from a humanitarian point of view. Because the people who are deporting him cannot but understand what awaits him in Russia. Now they definitely can't. Но, видимо, клеймо ФСБ-шника таково для поляков, что они одного ФСБ-шника отдают на сжирание другим. Я не в восторге от этого, мягко говоря.
Марфа Смирнова: Но клеймо «вагнеровца» не менее страшное, чем клеймо ФСБ-шника.
Виктор Шендерович: А он «вагнеровец»?
Марфа Смирнова: Я как минимум знаю двоих «вагнеров», у которых брала интервью, и они живут себе хорошо в Европе, работают со следствием, и никто их депортировать не собирается.
Виктор Шендерович: Видимо, тут человек может закосить или действительно является уголовником, который таким образом вырвался на свободу. Если он докажет властям, что никого не убивал, а просто воспользовался этим, чтобы вырваться из путинской тюрьмы (и он может придумать себе какую-нибудь политическую карьеру, допустим, для пущей убедительности) — да, для сегодняшней Польши это, безусловно, лучше, чем ФСБ-шник. Но повторяю, истина конкретна, и ваша история, которой я не знал, меня, конечно, опечалила.
Марфа Смирнова: Последний вопрос, традиционный — про будущее. Его все журналисты любят задавать. Когда Украина выиграет, Россия проиграет, что будет с теми людьми, которые все это время верили Путину, смотрели телевизор? Станислав Белковский мне в прошлом эфире сказал, что будет большой спрос на психотерапевтов.
Виктор Шендерович: Будет большой спрос на психотерапевтов, но не будет денег на психотерапевтов. Поэтому будут справляться водочкой и бытовым насилием, к сожалению. Спрос-то будет очень большой, разумеется. Только те люди, по которым это ударит прежде всего, не знают слова «психотерапевт», понимаете? Да, будет большая травма психическая, в том числе просто медицинская. У людей будут ехать крыши, безусловно.
Мы можем посмотреть, как это было в Германии. Только в Германии это было двенадцать лет сумасшествия, а у нас все-таки, надо отметить, как минимум от 1917 года. У нас не отрефлексировано сто с лишним лет. И до какой степени гнойник вскроется, до какой степени какая часть правды начнет доходить до населения... Конечно, это будет очень травматично.
При этом надо иметь в виду, что Россия будет не в руках психотерапевтов к этому моменту, а в руках некоторого количества… Это будет просто саванна с каким-то количеством силовых прайдов. Прайд Пригожина, прайды Кадырова, прайд Шойгу — Герасимова, прайд Золотова, частные армии, нацисты русские, которые к этому времени тоже поднакачают сил, и никакая прокуратура им не грозит. Я уже говорил, что политик без силового ресурса не будет иметь никаких шансов в России будущего — в непрекрасной России будущего. Ее будут делить вот эти боевые прайды.
И россиянам имеет смысл заранее подумать, как ховаться и куда прятаться в этой ситуации. Потому что они будут делить территорию. И среди этих пяти сил, которые я перечислил, — а там могут появиться и шестая, и седьмая, — не будет людей, чересчур перегруженных этическими вопросами. Так что будет не до психотерапевтов.
А вот этот вскрик из старой рекламы: «Ой, что же я наделал?» — ну, кому-то это придет в голову, но не думаю, что миллионы людей прямо свяжут происходящее со своей гражданской пассивностью, со своей приверженностью к Путину. Я полагаю, что большинство из них будет уговаривать себя, как и немцы при Гитлере, что они не очень виноваты, что такое было время.
Марфа Смирнова: А какая роль будет у гражданской войны, начало которой мы, наверное, сейчас наблюдаем?
Виктор Шендерович: Собственно говоря, эта смута будет катализатором, я надеюсь, какого-то следующего этапа. Потому что в таком виде это не может существовать долго. Как сказано у Жванецкого, если бы все на мине подорвались, но об этом можно только мечтать. Если бы все эти уголовники друг друга поуничтожали и наконец-то можно было начать разговаривать на территории России, обсуждать новые правила пересборки России на свободных условиях... Но это я очень сильно фантазирую. До этого времени еще довольно далеко.
Но я надеюсь, что это время настанет, и, в общем, деваться некуда. Потому что либо это просто становится территорией, лежащей за границами цивилизованного мира, либо мы пытаемся пойти на следующий виток, к российской цивилизации без Российской империи. Потому что с империей мы уже попробовали, и, слава богу, сейчас мы наблюдаем ее агонию в прямом эфире.
Марфа Смирнова: Спасибо большое, Виктор Анатольевич!
Виктор Шендерович: Спасибо вам.