Андрей Илларионов (aillarionov) wrote,
Андрей Илларионов

"After all, tools are just tools"

Выступление Олега Козловского 2 декабря 2010 г. в Центре Вильсона по случаю присуждения ему премии имени Иона Ратиу:

Несколько цитат:

The tradition of those years was for leadership of all so-called opposition parties (including SPS) to engage in secret talks with the Presidential Administration before each national election.  The parties promised to behave properly (for example, not to attack Vladimir Putin in their campaigns) and in exchange could hope to be allowed to make it to the Parliament.  Oftentimes, even lists of their candidates had to get clearance from Vladislav Surkov, the gray cardinal of Putin’s domestic policy.  Although this undemocratic and degrading procedure has never been officially acknowledged, everybody knew it existed.  Parties’ leaders didn’t know how to campaign without privileged access to funding and television, so they used all their authority to enforce these secret agreements in their parties. Those who did not comply had to leave the parties, like I eventually did in 2007.  Interestingly enough, even these agreements didn’t help SPS, either due to their own mismanagement or because the Kremlin violated its part…

By 2005, old opposition political parties had discredited themselves. They lost all remains of their morale; self-preservation became the main motivation for their leadership and staff.  They brought themselves into that dead end by pretending to be in the opposition to the authoritarian regime and not daring to speak openly about it at the same time. I recall how the SPS spokesman was striking all mentions of Vladimir Putin out of a press release that I had prepared in 2004.  He explained: “Putin has 70% rating and we only have 3%. We will criticize him when it becomes vice versa.”  No surprise that SPS failed to receive even 1% in 2007 and dissolved itself a year later...

While United Russia was trying to use old Soviet propaganda tools to score some points on forest fires, other people designed a project called Karta Pomoschi (or “Map of Help”) located at www.russian-fires.ru. They were gathering reports of forest fires from people all over the country and putting this information on a map. They were also contacting volunteers from nearby regions who would fight those fires. Then they began coordinating aid to those who remained homeless because of the disaster. The project was prepared in a few days by several dedicated activists.

Another crowdsourcing project, shpik.info, gathers information on police and FSB officers and other public servants who participate in political repressions. Shpik.info runs an open online database of more than 500 such officials with detailed descriptions of what they have done.  The authors of the site say that they want to break the sense of immunity that these people have by exposing their misdeeds. They also believe that one day this database will help lustrate those responsible for human rights abuse under the current regime...

Another problem that everybody is, I believe, aware of is that repressive regimes use the Internet to gather information about the dissent and their activities. They learn about planned actions from our e-mails and take measures to disrupt our plans. Oftentimes, activists got arrested even before they made it to the place of a planned protest simply because the information leaked out over the Internet. Three months ago, spokesman for Moscow police openly admitted that they were reading communications of Oborona activists. We too often forget that tools so handy for us to use are also handy for the government to intercept...

The new tools that are available to us thanks to technological and economical progress are already changing the Russian society and one of its most active parts, the democratic movement.  Old methods of waging political struggle are beginning to fail, and both the regime and its opponents are looking for something new.  It is not necessary that the change will be favorable for democrats.  Those who will learn how to use these instruments more effectively will have a major advantage in the future.  But it cannot substitute vision and courage, persistence and faith—the traits that helped Ion Ratiu keep up his fight through half of a century. Because, after all, tools are just tools.


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