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he may be fighting for ideas that are hard to support, but he at least walks the walks, and has been fighting for his ideas - and for the ability to express them, with consistency and bravery in the face of constant police harassment. He's spent a couple of years in year on highly dubious charges.

His columns on the exile over the past several years are a must-read.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 04:48:23 AM EST
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One could have said the same of Hitler in 1930.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 08:38:20 AM EST
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but he sure believes in the right to sprout it, and has gone to great lengths to fight for that right.

He writes in a pseudo broken English in the exile which only shows how well he masters the language and is able to play the semi-ignoramus to get some points across. All his texts suggest that his party cannot threaten anything - they just pretend to (cf the flag posted below - it's hard not to think that it's full of double entendres and deep irony) but are taken highly seriously because they are fighting for something more important - the right to irreverence and independent expression.

Note: a typo in my text above was that he spent a couple of years in jail, if that was not obvious.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 01:23:23 PM EST
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Oh, like the guys over at Stalin lives?

By the way, Kasparov sure takes himself very seriously, so are you suggesting Limonov is taking both Putin and Kasparon for a ride, and that he got himself jailed for the entertainment value?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 06:10:58 PM EST
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Limonov personally is also ego-centric. As for perceptions of NBP in Russia, the organization is not being viewed as extremist, primarily because of Limonov's background as writer.

In current form NBP is mostly anti-capitalist and anti-establishment where youth can roleplay as revolutionaries and street fighters with the police. Open question, though, for the authorities is always whether members of NBP take NBP press seriously or view it as an post-modern project.

Limonov was jailed for arms purchase and acquitted on charges of creation of illegal armed group and terrorism. Several NBP members were arrested for purchase of the AKs, and one of them told prosecution that Limonov was personally involved in the purchase.  Prosecution also tried to portray article in "Limonka"  (NBP party newspaper, "Limonka" itself is a nick name for the Soviet F1 grenade) calling for NBP members to organize armed insurrection among Russians in Kazakhstan as an actionable plan by the party leadership. The charges were questionable, given Limonov's record, and suspicion that unidentified  AK sellers were police agents, although provocation of this type is legal in Russia. He was freed after few months in jail after the sentence and seemed to choose not to appeal.

NBP was telling at the time that the process is political at the authorities of Kazakhstan and Latvia were concerned about NBP activities there (radical actions in the defense of Russian minority) and were pushing Russian government to take action. One of the consequences of the arrest was that Latvian courts took a harder line on NBP as organization and reclassified seizure of a building by NBP members in Latvia with wooden mockup of a grenade from hooliganism to terrorism and gave them a sentence of 15 years in jail.

NBP's #2, Linderman (Abel), from Latvia, who is now active in "Another Russia", is still wanted by Latvian authorities and Interpol on the charges of trafficking of the explosives; several kilograms of C-4 were allegedly found by the police in his Riga apartment. I think the latest is that Russian courts are refusing to extradite him on the suspicion of politically motivated prosecution.

by blackhawk on Sun May 20th, 2007 at 12:40:36 AM EST
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Jerome,

"the right to irreverence" included (this is the newest case being prosecuted currently) two members of NBP engaged in military training, planning to organize bombing of the regional headquarters of security service and of a major dam (disrupting electricity supplies to a major Siberian city and flooding a part of it in the process), and trying to persuade a female friend of theirs to become a suicide bomber.

Thanks, no thanks, but I believe that post-modern stops somewhere, and that peoples' lives are more important than narcissism of this "glamour fascist", even though human life is such an archaic concept.

I am eternally surprised by Westerners believing that some things which would never be tolerated in their societies are OK in Russia just because the instigators shout "Oust the Putin gang!", or "Long live democracy!" before that. I became disgusted with such approach almost a decade ago, and still don't understand why some intelligent and very sensible people have a compartment in their minds where Russian people (and myself, therefore) are lumped together with guinea pigs (but definitely inferior to pandas).

by Sargon on Sun May 20th, 2007 at 05:44:01 AM EST
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and since when is democracy the be-all and end-all?

The USA and the EU find it quite convenient to disregard the results of the Palestinian election when Hamas is elected.  

by zoe on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 09:01:37 AM EST
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Oh, and what about the Algerian Civil War?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 10:32:45 AM EST
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Hugo Chavez & Salvador Allende
by zoe on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 11:13:58 AM EST
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Mosssadegh and Lumumba.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 11:15:10 AM EST
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Ditto on Limonov.  He is also unbelieveably funny, though I'm never sure if it's on purpose.  

Anyway, one thing I've never figured out is how he fits into the Western MediaTM's meme of Putin wanting to return to Stalinism, illustrated by the way he won't let Kasparaov & his ilk demonstrate.  What about how Putin won't let The National Bolsheviks demonstrate, or really exist at all?  I mean, is Putin an evil Commie, or isn't he?  One could easily go after Putin, and perhaps correctly so, for just being in it for himself, and this is why/how he subverts democracy (like George Bush), and not rely on a flimsily constructed argument that Putin represents a return to the bad old days.  

But than we wouldn't have that conveinient package of a war of ideologies, good v. bad, Democracy v. -ism du jour to wrap everything up in in order to cover up the holes in our arguments and pat ourselves and our audience on the backs for being on the right side...  

Someone just being a jerk doesn't sell papers I guess.

Anyway...

Angela recently sent me a WSJ article on the possible disbarment of the laywer representing Kohodorkovsky and Kasparov.  It was hoot.  Again, instead of just reporting the facts, they framed it as "This person is one of the world's leading champions for human rights, and that's why she has become the target of Putin."  

Meanwhile we sit in America & mew about how United States Attorneys "serve at the pleasure of the President" so there is now wrongdoing in the mass firings of those who wont do his bidding...

Sigh...    

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 11:14:45 AM EST
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I personally subscribe to the idea that he has voluntarily taken what appear to be really ugly ideas precisely to fight for the principle of freedom of expression - which should apply even if the ideas sound ugly.

And thus, apart from some support frome the literary world in France, he's been treated like an embarrassment to the West instead of defended - when he is just as worthy, if not more, than Kasparov.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 01:25:55 PM EST
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well Jérôme, if I crossed the border into Germany tomorrow and started a party called, let's say, the "Nationalist Socialist Party", I would be in prison very quickly.

I could say it was to defend democracy, but would you give me the benefit of the doubt - perhaps I am Adolf Hitler reincarnated.

by zoe on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 02:04:51 PM EST
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Just came across this.  Pretty much sums it up:

http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/content/view/340/81/

Excerpt:

My my how times change. Now again we see those evil, energy hogging Russkies for what they are. And suddenly, dissidents are right back in media fashion.

Today, UK's Labour Minister Peter Hain joined the chorus of Telegraph readers and declared that the `murky murder cast a shadow over Putin'. Moralising Peter Hain, by the way, just happens to be one of our Labour Ministers who refused to condemn Guantanamo Bay.

On second thoughts, maybe Litvinenko should get a Nobel Prize. He doesn't deserve one as much as a real dissident writer like Limonov. But Sasha's affair has exposed the hype and hypocrisy of the British media establishment like nothing else.




"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 02:27:20 PM EST
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Personally I have a lot of sympathy to Limonov and even to  his movement, as long as NBP and its splinter cells to not overindulge in AKs and RDX.

It's just a little bit amusing how punks, anarchists and radical left are suddenly the best hope against "Putin's regime" for Western leadership and those inside Russia who only 10 years ago were demanding lustrations and use of police and military against Communists.

by blackhawk on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 04:17:43 PM EST
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