20 July 2024, Saturday, 19:01
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Both Are Worse

6
Both Are Worse
IRYNA KHALIP
PHOTO: NASHA NIVA

But we have more chances.

“I think the students look at me suspiciously. I'm on them, too. I can't lecture like I used to.” My friend Natasha, a Russian professor-biologist who has been teaching for many years, said it. "I tell them that Russia is not far ahead of the whole planet in terms of technology, that slogans like 'Russian stem cells are the best stem cells in the world' are not related to science, and I see that students look at me with distrust. Perhaps they believe that I am a provocateur and draw them into the discussion to report on them later. And I wonder if they won't report me."

This bitter story of the relationship between a Russian professor and the students, where all previous ties began to crumble, and trust was replaced by suspicion, is the best image of today's Russian society. As in the thirty-seventh, they are waiting for who will report on whom. Any phrase not about the greatness of Russia is perceived as a provocation. Real return to the times of the Gulag occurred, although not everyone there noticed it. Against this background, you understand that the Belarusian society is still healthier even with all the horrors of our repressions, which are much larger than the Russian ones.

A resident of Yaroslavl, Andrey, who left them for Russia immediately after the beginning of the full-scale invasion, talking, holding his tears, about his sister, who was among the first to sign a contract to go to war in Ukraine. She served one contract and almost immediately signed the second. There, in the war, among the murderers and thugs, she chose some guy from DPR to marry him and after the completion of the contract, they came to Yaroslavl to live. "Do you know how they spent the money they earned for killing Ukrainians?" says Andrei. "Do you think they drove to Sochi to live a beautiful life?" Do you think they bought a house on the bank of the Volga River? Not at all! They bought an underground shelter. It's a good investment, isn't it? Now they are satisfied and happy: they have an underground shelter, they will not be caught up.” A couple of weeks ago, Andrei called in a tantrum. His sister was shown on all federal channels as the heroine of the "SVO" [the war in Ukraine - Ed.]. And friends from Russia wrote to him in messengers: wow, what a cool sister you have, you're lucky! Now Andrei has neither a homeland nor a family: parents are proud of their daughter, who successfully invested money in a bomb shelter, and the son who left Russia is considered an outcast and a traitor.

The niece of a friend married an athlete from Dagestan. His father came from a mountain village to the district center to enlist in the war. At the age of 60, he successfully served his contract, took the money and bought goats. And now I am happy: only a few months of inconvenience and murder, but now you can safely do your favorite thing – goats to graze, and your own, and not from some collective farm. Life is good.

Of course, we are all in a horrible situation – both Belarusians and Russians – because of the wild fantasies of the crazy dictators. The only question is how these fantasies affect people. We in Belarus have, of course, every creature in a pair: there are the Yabatski and enforcers, people like Kochanova and Yarmoshyna, there are propagandists and informers. But all of them have been faithfully holding their Olympic record called "three percent" for many years. Wherever the world tries to move them – even in the direction of increase and expansion - they do not give up. They are standing firm holding each other. In a cattle-pen. Behind the fence, where normal people do not go (unless, of course, they are brought in handcuffs under escort).

But even in this leper colony, a rural shepherd will not go to another country to kill people for the sake of buying a goat. Cutting a neighbor's throat drunk is easy. But in a sober state, for a salary, under a contract, to get a couple of goats, he will not go. And the mother-yabatka (I wonder, what does the femininity of Yabatka sound like?) Maybe "Yamatka"?), no matter how rusted her brains from watching BT, the opposition son will hardly be cursed. And she will gather a parcel for him to send to prison, albeit angrily grumbling, "Oh, in vain his father and I did not flog him when he was a child." Also, students, together with their professor, are unlikely to spend two academic hours in a row thinking about who will report first.

I am by no means saying that Belarusian ghouls are better than Russian ones. Both are worse. But the Belarusian ones remain within the statistical error. They drink our blood, but do not infect us with their stupidity and disgust. We are resistant to stupidity, and to disgust – and even more so.

Fortunately, it gives us strength. Unfortunately, that doesn't take them away from the bastards. By the way, they still remain in the minority.

Iryna Khalip, especially for Charter97.org

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