The following article appeared in Der Spiegel, however the translation (with kind assistance from Google) was made from a Russian version. The author, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, is a critically acclaimed modern Russian novelist and short-story writer.
In late July, the Russian writer Lyudmila Ulitskaia was awarded the Austrian State Prize for European Literature. In an essay for Der Spiegel, the writer combines the description of the ceremony with reflections on the current state of affairs in Russia and the world.
"The official part begins with the Austrian national anthem - writes Ulitskaja. - All spectators stand up, I do too. Good for you, Austrians, I think wistfully. Text of your national anthem was written in 1947 by an unblemished poet - Paula von Preradovic. And we have long been ashamed by our Russian anthem. The first version of the text to the music by Alexander Alexandrov in 1943, wrote the court poet Sergei Mikhalkov. It had powerful lines: "Stalin brought us up on loyalty to the people, // He inspired us to labor and heroism." After Stalin's debunking the anthem was played without words ... in 1977 Mikhalkov corrected the text, since then the hymn glorified Party instead of Stalin. Then came a new century, and in 2000 a newly revised text was approved: the same Mikhalkov, professional to the core, replaced the "Party" by "God", as we now express our new allegiance to the Orthodox church. Bot the lyricist and and the composer meantime passed away, so it's hard to say who will win the editing job for the anthem next time. Our country in its development maketh such zigzags and spirals that in the new edition of the hymn, God forbid, we will go back to Stalin."
"I live in Russia. I am a Russian writer of Jewish origin, was brought up in a Christian culture. Now my country is at war with the culture, the values of humanism, freedom of the individual and the idea of human rights... My country is sick with aggressive ignorance, nationalism and imperial megalomania. I am ashamed of my ignorant and aggressive parliament, of my aggressive and incompetent government, of political leadership - supporters of violence and treachery aiming at the role of supermen. I am ashamed of all of us, of our people, who lost their moral compass,"- continues the writer.
"I am not politically active, but when people ask me, I say what I think. Due to that I was listed as part of the "fifth column" and accused of hatred of my own country. To justify myself, in my opinion, is useless and stupid. I do not feel hate, only shame and helplessness. Today Russia promotes suicidal and dangerous policy that poses a threat primarily to Russia itself, but can also lead to a third world war. This war, in fact, already begun. Local wars in Chechnya in Georgia, and now in the Ukraine - the prologue. Perhaps no one will be writing the epilogue. "
"Civilization has reached an impasse - believes Ulitskaja. - Science, education, learning and the arts could not tame the inherent nature of human aggression. Previously, it seemed that the culture has enough power to overcome the desire for self-destruction, but I fear that the mankind is out of time. Civilization and its outstanding technical achievements, sadly, have only led to a situation where we have an ability to mutually destroy each other in a short time... The idea of the infernal nature of evil has become obsolete, people do evil themselves and overcome the devil himself in this activity".
"My country brings the world every day closer to a new war... Farewell Europe, I'm afraid we will never become part of the European family of nations. Our great culture, our Tolstoy and Chekhov, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, our artists, actors, philosophers and scientists today just cannot prevent the policy of madmen in authority, as previously they were unable to do anything with the policy of religious fanatics and communist ideas. 300 years we have drawn strength to exist from the same sources ... and never gave up hope. Today we, the people of Russian culture, the small part to which I belong, can only say one thing: Farewell to Europe!"
And here is some very relevant and very bad news:
As a result of the fighting near Lutugino (Lugansk region) Ukrainian military has captured a BMD-2* of the Pskov** Airborne Division with all the paperwork.(*) BMD-2 - a Russian airborne APC.
It is reported by journalist Leonid Shvets on his page on Facebook.
"The guys asked me to tell: at war with the Russian army. In Lutugino area our [troops] captured BMD-2, reg. number 275, from the 1st Airborne Company unit # 74268, Pskov Airborne Division, the platoon commander sec. Lieutenant Popov. In the car, all the documentation: journal of duties, evening roll call, journal of leaves. Russian-packed rations, produced in March of this year," - wrote the journalist.