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Unfiled November 4, 2005
Glorious Sea, Sacred Baikal
By Edward Limonov Browse author

I know that Kremlin is populated by bloody bastards, but I was surprised by Khodorkovski and Lebedev's sentences. I thought that both will get some five years each, then they will be out of camps after three years. But eight, no, I didn't expect it?

Then, both businesmen were send to serve their sentences to the place--to such places?

Actually those points on the map are legendary onces. Khodorkovski will serve his sentence near lake Baikal, glorious because of an old song about prisoner, escaped exactly out of that very place: Akatni mountains. That song called "Glorious sea, sacred Baikal," and it had such expressive lignes:

"For very long time I carried heavy chains,

For very long I suffered at Akatui mountains,

Then my old friend helped me to escape,

I returned to life when sensed freedom."

When that old song was created, no uranium was exrtract from Akatui mountains. Later in twentieth century, in the 70s, witnesses said that those places becamse infected with uranium dust, because extraction of uranium ore was done not from the mine, but on surface, from an open pit. Khodorkovski will serve his eight years near the town called Krasnokamensk, what is translated into English as Red Stone. Uranium ore has lilac colour, every geologist will confirm that. Lilacis very close to red colour, town of Krasnokamensk got its name after colour of uranium ore. Poor Khodorkovski, Kremlin hate his guts. As to Mister Lebedev he is sended as far as behind Polar circle. I am shocked, I thought that Russian penetentiary system has no camps beyond The Polar Circle. But it has Near Settlement called Harp.

I think that Mr. Putin personally has some unknown mortal grudge against those two: Khodorkovski and Lebedev. May be his secret services have reported to him about conspiracy of two businesmen against him, Putin, personally? Anyhow, no doubt that both Khodorkovski and Lebedev will have a hard time to bear, will have a problem to survive. If they will not be pressured anymore, if Kremlin will be satisfied with the fact that Khodorkovski will breathe an uranium dust for next six years, and Lebedev will suffer of terrible cold and unconvenience of beyond Polar Circle climat, both will arrive in Moscow in the end of Octobre year 2011. Both will be in poor health, of course. But if Kremlin will continue his pressure, on administation of campus, in order to create unbearable conditions of life for both businesmen, both will arrive to Moscow much earlier, in coffins. May be even their relatives will be denied right to receive their remains. I am not exaggerating, not at all. I am thinking about fate of Tchetchens: those of Raduev, Atgeriev and Ismailov. All of them were unprisoned at Lefortovo, when I was unprisoned there. Raduev, Atgeriev and Ismailov were sentenced to prison terms (Raduev to life in prison, Atgeriev to fifteen, Ismailov to ten years), but in espace of eight monthes all three were dead. All were young men actually about 35 each of them. I have no doubt that they were killed. Ismailov was obviously poisoned. He died when transported from prison into camp, in rail-road carriage for prisoners. Raduev and Atgeriev died under unclear circumstances inside of their camps. Alas, Khodorkovski and Lebedcv may be killed in the same way. Kremlin populated by hard-liners, and Russian hard-liner is traditionally a bloody beast. If let alone, both men will leave detailed, well organized lives.

They will get up at 5.45: brigadiers will scream ferociously: "Get up!" They will have few minutes for dressing and for dressing up their beds. They will run to toilets for their needs, and then will have few moments to smoke a sigarette outside of their barracks. Then they will march to drill ground of the camp, where they will do phisical exercises with a crowd of more then 1,5 thousand prisoners under command from broken tape from loudspeakers. Then they will march back to their barracks. They will run into small "eating-room," where on 15 or 20 at best square metres about two hundred men will make their tea. If lucky they will find some poor prisoner who has no relatives, and no tea, so he will be willing to make for Khodorkovski or Lebedev and for himself a tea. In ten minutes, no matter you have drunk your tea, or you didn't succeeded to make it, loudspeeker will announce that your "otriad" (regiment) is called into dininghall. Regiment will form up in column, five men in one ligne, then column will march to dininghall. If prisoners will march badly, they will be punished by evening excersises on drill ground. After breakfast consisting of "kasha," the dish of cooked grain or groats, and of bread, regiment will march back into barrack. Then brass-orchestra will announce the time of work. Individuals designed to go to work at industrial zone [usually industrial zone is located over the fence, next to barracks] will form column, five men in one ligne, all that mass of pole men wearing black clothes will go out of camp into industrial zone.

Khodorkovski, if lucky, will, because of his experience as a manager, will become "nariatchik," somebody who is in charge of organizing work. If lucky. What prisoners do inside of industrial zone? They produce something. They sew clothes, or they working with metal. At colonie N13 near Saratov, where I served my sentence, prisoners were busy with polishing frames of gaz-counters. Once they produced defective articles, so all of them were beaten up by wardens. They will eat diner at industrial zone. In the evening they will march back into camp. Sometimes they can work even until midnight if "plan" is not fulffilled.

In camp they will march to dininghall for eating another "kasha." Then the best part of the day comes: evening before going to bed. Eating room will look pleasant and comforting: prisoners will drink their tea with candy. Or they can watch some tv at "red-coin," room where about fifty seats, table and television are available. Some will smoke their cigarets outside of barrack. At 21.30 everybody are near their beds. At 21.45 brigadiers will scream retreat. Prisoners will jump into their beds.

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