Speech by Olga Zinoviev, widow and guardian of the intellectual heritage of A.A. Zinoviev at a press conference in RIA Novosti, “The 90th anniversary of the great Russian thinker. Why do people still fear Alexander Zinoviev?”(Moscow, October 26, 2012)
As the widow of Alexander Zinoviev I have approached his 90th anniversary deeply offended and insulted but fully determined to continue the project which my husband initiated and trusted me to carry to its conclusion.
Thirteen years have passed since Alexander Zinoviev returned to Russia from his exile and it is six and a half years since he died.
Any attention paid to Alexander Zinoviev on the part of our Mass Media is a rare phenomenon in our corrupt and dissolute times. Therefore I regard this first and only news conference dedicated to my husband since his death as an opportunity to tell the Russian people at long last to their face the true story of how the machine of state squeezed the life out of Alexander Zinoviev and did its utmost to have his name deleted from our national history. The transparent purpose of this exposure is to make the Russian people aware of what the state authorities and apparatchiks are doing today and how their actions are reminiscent of their predecessors’. The Russian people should understand that the functionaries of today are the direct successors of the butchers of the 1970s.
Today I present to Russian society the ‘Zinoviev list’, which contains the names of those whom I consider personally accountable for the deletion of Alexander Zinoviev’s name from our national history.
During these past six years since Zinoviev’s death we have encountered total ignorance as regards his commitments and deeds, and demonstrative indifference on the part of those who would like to eradicate his name from Russian culture. Alexander Zinoviev’s triumphant repatriation to Russia in 1999 destroyed the revanchist plans of the recalcitrant ‘men of the 1960s’, who aspired to be the leading lights in the spheres of Russian philosophy, spirituality and culture. The Russian leadership supports and nurtures dissidents who have nothing but contempt for Russia’s civic values and receive millions of roubles’ worth of financial support at a cost to the Russian people itself.
People who have became prominent in public life in the context of an as yet infantile Russian national consciousness have still greater aspirations: to acquire a dominating role in the formation of public opinion and to usurp Russia’s past, present and future.
It was Zinoviev who stood in their way. It continues to be Zinoviev, the mere mention of whom still makes these people tremble. The reason for this reaction is the fact that it was Zinoviev who appeared to be the only defender of a great epoch in the life of a great country: the Russian people and their right not to be erased from world history.
Zinoviev it was who stood guard over the Russian people. He was the first to warn them that there were forces wishing to eradicate their name from history, to minimise their role in history and their contribution to world science. The way Alexander Zinoviev has been treated is an example of what is being done to the Russian people as a whole.
Around the world Alexander Zinoviev is well known as an outstanding Russian writer and scientist, yet in Russia itself his books are not studied either in secondary schools or institutions of higher education.
All the minor names have been recalled from oblivion, whereas the name of one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century has been ignored. The Russians have been deliberately deprived of their heritage and this is evidence of the fact that the future is being stolen from our younger generations.
The current ban on Zinoviev’s name in Russia stems from the fierce hatred emanating from the Yeltsin family. Boris Yeltsin took his revenge on Zinoviev because of the telegram sent by Alexander Zinoviev from Munich on the 19th of August 1991 demanding Yeltsin’s immediate isolation.
Yeltsin, who later became the gravedigger of a great country and who was the cause of the impoverishment and death of millions of citizens of the USSR, hastened and brought about the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century – the collapse of the great Russian Project. Under Yeltsin’s orders, a lawsuit against Zinoviev was filed in 1994.
I consider the existence of censorship in the Russian mass media to be a proven fact and I hold Vladislav Surkov personally accountable for this fact and for the suppression of the name of Alexander Zinoviev. The Russian press has completely forfeited its independence as regards the decision-making process with respect to publications relating to Zinoviev, for fear of angering Mr. Surkov, whose portfolio of responsibilities in his capacity as chief of the government apparatus includes the mass media. I firmly believe that his attitude derives from the injury which his vanity sustained when his oxymoronic political construct of ‘sovereign democracy’ as a definition of the contemporary Russian state system was trumped by Alexander Zinoviev’s scientific definition of that system as an instance of ‘colonial democracy’.
I have asked the leadership of Channel 1 and “Russia” why these leading channels have been ignoring the public request to provide more information about Alexander Zinoviev for the last six years. Neither Mr. Ernst nor Mr. Dobrodeyev has so far responded to this request.
Another disgraceful instance of government censorship is the ban on making documentary films about Alexander Zinoviev. The documentary entitled “I am a Sovereign State – Alexander Zinoviev’ directed by Viktor Vasiliev was made by the TV channel “Kultura” (Culture) in 2002 but was never shown. This year the film director decided to release it to the web for free access.
The docu-drama “Alexander Zinoviev” directed by Artyom Borovik and filmed by the TV channel “Top Confidential” in 1993 was not shown until 2009. The film lay on the shelf for sixteen years
Another documentary “The Paradoxes of Alexander Zinoviev”, shot in 2005 by the film director Vladimir Krasovsky and adopted by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation Agency for Cinematography, was put on the shelf. No channel has ever dared show it.
One of the first actions of the newly appointed minister of Culture, Mr. Medynsky, was to issue an order to revoke the tender won by the St. Petersburg film director Maksim Katushkin, who had been commissioned by the State cinematographic Agency (Goskino) to shoot a film dedicated to the 90th anniversary of Alexander Zinoviev.
If in the past documentary films about Zinoviev were made but then shelved, today they cannot be made at all.
I hold ex-Minister of Education Fursenko personally responsible for the seven cynical and groundless refusals on the part of the Ministry of Education to award research grants for the study of Alexander Zinoviev’s scientific legacy.
I consider that ex-president Dmitry Medvedev should be held personally responsible for writing a dismissive refusal in response to a request from the leading intellectuals of Russia to create a multi-media Zinoviev museum – the ZINOTEKA – in Moscow. He forwarded this letter to officials in the bowels of the Ministry of Culture, whose garbled reply suggested that there were insufficient funds for a Zinoviev museum.
To my great regret, the Mayor of Moscow, Mr. Sobyanin, who had taken note of the ZINOTEKA project displayed in the Museum of Moscow State University, has done nothing to make this unique project happen, a project that meets the highest European standards and could become one of the cultural highlights of Moscow.
What is more, the question of opening a memorial museum in the city of Kostroma has been under consideration by the federal government for the past three years, although it was promised that this project would be completed in time for the 90th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Zinoviev. This project continues to be delayed by the new Minister of Education Mr. Livanov, who is thus torpedoing an initiative put forward by the administration of the Kostroma region to open a museum in Zinoviev’s native city.
The clannish approach and mafia-style organisational structure of the Russian Academy of Sciences are the reasons why in 2001 Alexander Zinoviev failed to be elected a member of that organization, in spite of the fact that he was already a member of three foreign Academies of Science, the recipient of a number of prestigious international awards in literature and sciences, the number one Soviet logician and an internationally recognized sociologist. The RAS members voted “for” him orally, however during the secret ballot they voted “against” him. Those members who voted “against” him are to be held personally accountable for the failure to restore Alexander Zinoviev to his rightful place in Russian science.
In September of this current year I personally appealed to 18 Russian business men (Mikhail Prokhorov, Roman Abramovich, Peter Aven, Vagit Alekperov, Viktor Vekselberg, Oleg Deripaska, Vladimir Dmitriev, Vladimir Yevtushenkov, Sergei Kiriyenko, Vladimir Lisin, Alexey Miller, Alexey Mordashov, Vladimir Potanin, Alisher Usmanov, Mikhail Fridman, Sergey Chemezov, Anatoly Chubays, Vladimir Yakunin) and the whole Russian business community, calling on them to support the intellectual heritage of Alexander Zinoviev, a national asset of Russia. I have not received a single response from those people so far, just total indifference and silence. Not one of our domestic “captains of industry” has responded to my plea to preserve a gigantic Russian intellectual treasure rather than those laughable “Fabergé eggs”.
I regard all these facts as an on-going repressive policy pursued by the government with regard to Alexander Zinoviev, which began in the Soviet era and which was the reason for the enforced emigration of this great man.
In keeping with this state-run policy, in 1991, in the twilight of its existence, the KGB pulped the 35 volumes of the so-called “Zinoviev case” together with the denunciations submitted by the still thriving “men of the sixties ”, who engaged in dissident activity in their kitchens in the 1960s and surrendered their great country without a fight in 1991.
I regard as criminal the decision taken by Brezhnev to strip Alexander Zinoviev – a front-line soldier – of his Soviet citizenship and his war medals, and to have him demoted to the rank of common soldier for telling the truth about soviet life, the truth to which Brezhnev turned a blind eye, thereby passing sentence on the entire Soviet Union.
I now bring a declassified document to the attention of the public. This document has been retrieved from the archive of the President of the Russian Federation and is nothing short of sensational. For the first time in 34 years, confidential documents of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, revealing how Alexander Zinoviev was persecuted, are in the public domain.
Alexander Zinoviev fought throughout The Great Patriotic War as a pilot in a low-flying attack squadron. On average, pilots in such squadrons had a life expectancy not much better than the kamikaze. After seven sorties death was more or less guaranteed. Fifteen sorties were considered an outstanding achievement and after thirty sorties pilots were awarded the title of “Hero of the Soviet Union”, taking into account the very high risk and huge casualties. As it happened, Zinoviev had exactly 31 sorties on his track record but his Motherland never did award the title of “Hero” to her freethinker Alexander Zinoviev.
I appeal to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Russia, the President of the Russian Federation: with great respect I ask Mr Vladimir Putin to award the title of “Hero of the Russian Federation” posthumously to a great son of Russia, a war participant, a pilot captain of the guard in a ground support air squadron, Alexander Zinoviev. Please show the dignity and generosity of a military officer and honour a Hero of our Time. Call a hero a hero. Rectify the errors committed by your predecessors Brezhnev, Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Medvedev.
I am calling for counteraction and resistance to the deliberate disregard towards everything related to the name of Zinoviev. Concealment of the name of Alexander Zinoviev has long been to the detriment of the whole of Russian culture, reducing the competitive potential of the entire country.
The authorities who privatized Russia have done everything in their power to deprive the Russian people of the possibility of intellectual enrichment and self-improvement by denying them access to the intellectual potential offered by a Russian genius.
Unfortunately, to my deepest regret, the Russian state leaves me no alternative and I am taking the following drastic decision.
By the year 2014 I will have exported the entire intellectual heritage of Alexander Zinoviev from Russia, including his paintings, personal archives, works, manuscripts, video- audio- and photo- archives. I am doing this in order to preserve his legacy for the future generations of European civilization, to which my Motherland Russia until recently belonged.
Today I have arrived at a fateful conclusion: the unavoidability of a second compulsory emigration of the Zinoviev family from our Motherland. Leaving Russia is the only way to protect the legacy which I have been safeguarding all this time from the talentless and the indifferent – the enemies of talent, of shining intellect, of everything “Russian”. Our country has become accustomed to losing spacious lands and resources. And now too, the way things are looking, the country will be losing a gigantic treasure – the creative legacy of Alexander Zinoviev.
I fully realize my personal responsibility to future generations of Russians – I want to pass on this intellectual baton to those who will be determining the identity of Russia and the world of Tomorrow.
Regrettably, I have a long-term vision of the future of Russia: Russia will not have the opportunity to be reborn, to get her second wind and make the breakthrough that will show the world the phenomenon of the “Russian miracle”.
Armies of parasitic State officials and executives are driving my country into a new wilderness of savagery and abandoning her to the ravages of a new Golden Horde.
Video on Russian