December 10, 2022

The State is the Real Enemy of the People


The State is the Real Enemy of the People
Ilya Yashin at demonstration in 2019. Alexei Mironov

Last spring, antiwar opposition politician Ilya Yashin, 39, posted a YouTube video about potential Russian war crimes in Bucha, near Kiev, crimes that were already being documented by Western journalists and Ukrainian officials.

He was arrested two months later, in June, charged with "discrediting the Russian armed forces," but his channel on Youtube has continued to publish videos debunking Kremlin lies.

Yesterday, on December 9, he was convicted on the charges against him and sentenced to eight and a half years in prison. Yet he was defiant and upbeat in his final statement, saying that "the verdict's authors optimistically evaluate Putin's future, too optimistically in my view."

Further, Yashin said:

“The trial was supposed to serve as the denunciation of ‘an enemy of the people,’ i.e. me, but it turned into an antiwar tribunal, and, in response, we only heard the prosecutor’s incoherent Cold War slogans... I can only repeat what was said on the day of my arrest: I am not afraid, and you should not be afraid. Changes are coming.

"My mission is to tell the truth. I spoke it in city squares, in television studios, in parliamentary stands. I will not give up on the truth even behind bars. After all, to quote the classics, “a lie is a religion for slaves, and only truth can be the god of a free man.”

Yashin rose to prominence during the mass protests following Vladimir Putin's re-election in 2011 and 2012. He went on to lead the People’s Freedom Party, known as PARNAS, and was elected as a municipal official in Moscow.

Yashin is a close friend of Alexei Navalny, also an imprisoned dissident, whose lawyers released a statement after the verdict was handed down:

“I have known Ilya Yashin since he was 18 years old, and he is probably the first friend I made in politics. Another shameless and lawless Putin verdict will not silence Ilya and should not intimidate the honest people of Russia. This is another reason we must fight and I have no doubt that we will win in the end.”

For his part, President Putin, when quizzed at a news conference on the day the verdict was handed down if he thought giving Yashin “eight years for words is too brutal,” replied, “Who is he? Interfering in the work of the country is unacceptable and I consider it inappropriate to question the decision of the court.”

The full text of Yashin's final remarks machine-translated by Google, can be found here.

 
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
A Taste of Chekhov

A Taste of Chekhov

This compact volume is an introduction to the works of Chekhov the master storyteller, via nine stories spanning the last twenty years of his life.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
Okudzhava Bilingual

Okudzhava Bilingual

Poems, songs and autobiographical sketches by Bulat Okudzhava, the king of the Russian bards. 
Russian Rules

Russian Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955