Monday, 27 September 2010

07. June 24, 2009

Dear Mikhail Borisovich!

More than half a year ago I sent you a letter, which, as has become clear now, did not get to you. I hope this one will.

The trial - absolutely Kafkaesque - has been somewhat delayed. I even thought for a moment: this lack of talent… is it natural, is it “the way it always is”, or is it some kind of satanic plan that counts on the psychological fatigue of society, which gets tired of responding to events which are developing slowly and weakly, like in a bad theatre play. Well, there are two players, you and Platon Lebedev, who interrupt this bad dream from time to time.

By doing so, they create a constant feeling that a game is being played with living people, not with shades or ghosts. Maybe puppets? Not people, but some kind of soap bubbles, you could say - they are Gogol's characters, if it had not been staged so painfully talentlessly. No, no, it’s clear that their intention is to delay the trial, at least to not set you free.

And what are you saying to this, Mikhail Borisovich: is this a bad job performance of the director of the show or an artful move counting on the inevitable fatigue of public opinion? Hoping that the whole world will forget about this trial? But it will not be forgotten. It will be in the history textbooks of the country, like the trials of Sinyavsky and Daniel.

Just the other day, I was at a reception at general Kalinin’s [60] for the books for the children of the colonies, we collected 62 parcels. For the first time in my life, I saw a general of this agency. The general left the impression of a living, educated and professional person. Just a good impression. I understand that the management of the federal penal system is not a ladies’ charitable organization for homeless kittens, but still …

And what do you think, Mikhail Borisovich, this barrage of punishment that falls on you, the life-threatening and ridiculous attacks that occur - at what level is it organized: the local prison authorities or the highest level? Or does it come from a diocese? I mean the Kremlin, of course.

In no way I wish to put you in a more difficult situation than the one you are already in. Therefore you must not respond to this question if you don’t want to.

When Dmitry Medvedev became president, all the journalists from abroad asked this question which troubled them: what to think of the new president? But what could answer someone who has the luxury of not having to think about them at all - neither of the old nor of the new one? There are many more interesting things in life. But I always answered one and the same thing: we will soon find out about the new president: if they release Khodorkovsky, it means this is a different president, and if not, it means there is no new president. There’s a Sphinx’s riddle for you!

And you, Mikhail Borisovich, in your hidden world, excuse me, do you feel that power has changed, or has there been not even a little change?

You have a remarkable destiny, Mikhail Borisovich: several different lives - and I hope that another excellent piece of life is waiting for you - business and public or private and closed, but in any case, life will be meaningful and creative. I can not imagine you in retirement. How do you imagine your life after being set free? Now you are defending yourself and you’re doing it beautifully. What will you do when you get back home?

About a month ago I was in the lyceum for orphans in Koralovo, which you have founded. There is a new director there, a very good and clever person. Marina Filippovna and Boris Moiseyevich [61] are surrounded by kids, and it can be seen what wonderful relations they have. They have defended themselves against the idiotic tax on the remaining parents of the fosterlings, and the entire lyceum as a whole is some kind of embodied social utopia. I saw traces of your philanthropy - often specific traces. A wonderful cause has been destroyed. I am not talking about your company. In this case, I’m interested in you, and not in the money they took from you.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky's parents

What are you going to do after your release? I can’t imagine you are not making plans for the future.

I wish you strong health and patience. You are certainly not lacking in courage and strength. See you at liberty.

Lyudmila Ulitskaya


[60] General Yuri Kalinin (°1946) is a Russian general who began a career in the Russian penitentiary system in 1970. Between 1998-2004 he was Deputy Minister of Justice. He then became director of the Federal Penitentiary Service. In April 2009 he became Deputy Minister of Justice again.

[61] Marina Filippovna Khodorkovskaya (°1934) and Boris Moiseyevich Khodorkovsky (°1933) are Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s parents, they are in charge of the lyceum for orphans he founded in Koralovo.

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