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Feature Story February 20, 2003
Let ‘Em Send Me to the Bughouse Again!
By Dar Zhutayev Browse author
Page 6 of 7
Russian punk icon Egor Letov was for a long time a close associate of the AKM and gave many concerts under the group's auspices (however, I don't believe he is or has ever been an actual member). It is easy to see why. Though Letov has a degree of sophistication that most AKM members can never hope to attain, the basic "Do It!" ethos, the basic existentialism is the same. When Letov was a budding anti-Communist (what else do you expect? "I'll always be against" is a programmatic line from one of his songs) punk singer in the late eighties, the evil Sovok authorities locked him up in a bughouse. This was in a cold windswept Siberian town. Opposite the mental hospital there was an apartment house under construction. And the only dream in Egor's life at that period was to escape from the asylum. He didn't hope so survive for long in the bitter frost in the thin hospital clothes-and the first militiaman would have stopped him. What he wanted was to run as quick as he could to the top of the house opposite and jump down from it, thus ending his misery. That's a story any true-blue AKMer will have no difficulty in relating to.

The AKM has also nourished an interesting rock singer in its own bosom, somewhat in the Egor Letov vein, only more na?ve. His name is Ivan Baranov and his stomach-twirling ultra-romantic anthems are about red stars and hammers and sickles flaming in the sky, the grass swept by the wind in the boundless steppes, about how the red sun of Revolution will rise for all of us... When drunk, I'm literally moved to tears.

Let's Get Serious for a Moment

If I go on for much longer (and if the long-suffering eXile editors decide to publish my piece), I'm afraid I'll exhaust the paper's none-too-plentiful royalties fund with these endless thousands upon thousands of words. So let's wind up with some conclusions and the aftermath of the events.

The whole story sucks. I mean, absolutely. It's a shame and a sin that the largest Leftist youth group in the country should be so disoriented and fuzzy (as in "fuzzy from too much counterfeit vodka" and as in "fuzzy logic"). It's a shame and a sin that a guy under psychiatric care should have been allowed to run round unsupervised within a self-proclaimed revolutionary organization and that he should even now be widely regarded by the AKMers as a hero. It's a shame and a sin that the number of political prisoners in Russia should be rapidly growing each year, the absolute majority of them being Leftist political prisoners. It's a shame and a sin that we've got such a proto-fascist police state here in Russia that the idea of the whole thing having been cooked up (or stage-managed) by the secret services comes most naturally to one's mind. It's a shame and a sin, the kind of evidence Igor Fedorovich the Sapper is now giving to his interrogators.

Whether it is his mental illness (as suggested by some observers) or the beatings he's being subjected to in detention (as suggested by others), but the picture painted by the Sapper is truly grandiose. He speaks of a mammoth terrorist plot in which he was just "a pawn." He says that ideologically the terrorist network is a "Trotskyite-Stalinist bloc" headed by Victor Anpilov and the above-mentioned Trotskyite leader, Sergei, the one with the cockroaches and the weird-colored bed linen. The latter, Fedorovich alleges, recruited him last summer "under threat of brutal physical punishment" and had allegedly promised him $1,000 for the Mosgortrans bombing. Hey, bleeding-heart human rights junkies and connoisseurs of the 1937 show trials, rings any bells?

These allegations have resulted in numerous searches and interrogations in Leftist milieus in Moscow. Sergei, who, bar the cockroaches and his Trot dogmaticism, is a serious, progressive and valuable comrade, had his apartment searched on Feb 11. Confiscated from him were prescription drugs, fertilizer for his window plants, papers and diskettes, not to mention the hard disk of his computer. He himself was detained as a suspect and taken for interrogation to the Moscow City CID.

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Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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