Magnitsky’s martyrdom makes Russia ask: What is to be done?

The Mail on Sunday

In the darkest pages of Russia’s historical catalogue of state murder – the period of the Stalin show trials – there is a recurring moment of intense poignancy.

Typically, some comrade with years of loyal service to the Bolshevik cause, suddenly finding himself under arrest and charged ludicrously with working to sabotage the USSR, would beg his accusers to make one quick phone call to Stalin; that’s all it would take, he thought, for the hideous misunderstanding to be cleared up. Little did he know.

I thought of this when Bill Browder told me his story of the events that ultimately led to the cruel death of Sergei Magnitsky.

The criminal acts that Magnitsky had been investigating as Browder’s lawyer were so brazen that, as Browder put it to me: ‘I thought there was no way Putin would let such things happen if he got to know about them.’ Little did Bill Browder know, but he knows now.

What is to be done? In retrospect, Lenin’s question seems to have been hanging over that great intractable country for two centuries, since the ‘officers’ revolt’ against Tsarist absolutism in the wake of the Napoleonic wars.

It hung over the generations of radicalised intelligentsia who came after, and, during the short 20th Century of Soviet communism; the same question, with a reverse twist, was being asked by the victimised children of the Russian Revolution, the generation of Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov. In the end, it seemed that the question would be answered by the movement of history.

For a short, heady, chaotic time after 1989, it looked possible that something like a just society could put down roots in Russia for the first time. The Magnitsky case is one of many that tell a different story.

It is fitting enough that the story of this brave and honest man is being brought again to public attention by a writer and playwright.

There is no country where literary culture is more saturated by political nightmares and dreams of a just society. The abuses of power have done that for Russia. What Is To Be Done? was the title of a novel by a revolutionary in the 1860s. Lenin picked up on it.

A century after Lenin, alas, the question is still there, hanging over the martyrdom (there is no other word) of Sergei Magnitsky. онлайн займы срочный займ www.zp-pdl.com https://zp-pdl.com/online-payday-loans-cash-advances.php онлайн займ

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