Russian dissident Alexander Byvshev: “To tell and write bitter truth is my main goal”

School teacher and poet from Orlov region was found guilty in the extremism and inciting ethnic hatred by the Russian court.  During the rummage in Alexander Byvshev house the ‘instrument of crime’ – PC was seized. Dedicated to 300 hours of ‘public works’ teacher got also ban to work at school.

About the inevitable hangover after “Putin wins”, traditions of ‘kitchen’s protests’ and future books read in the interview of Alexander Byvshev to our edition.

  • It has become known that regional mass media got the ban about reference of your name in the publications. What is is? Is that recognizing of you right or the weakness of the system on the low level?
  • Now I’m in Russia practically in “prohibited poet” status. My poems are deleting from Runet, the article about me was deleted from Russian wiki on the demand of “competent authorities”. Two long interview, taken by the correspondents of the regional television were banned on the broadcasting and this list of sanctions and prohibitions I can continue for a long time. The main aim of this “events” is to make an attempt to break me, deprive an opportunity to bring my alternative, objectionable to power point of view to the people, brainwashed by aggressive propaganda of the central Russian media. Except this, power does other important task not only with the help of alike “stop-lists”. They want to scare citizens (like example for others not to do). By the way, it’s a very effective method, which works perfectly in Russia. I watch it on the example of my compatriots who are afraid to talk with me on the streets of our town. Some of them confessed me in a private conversation”WE have family and work. We don’t want to have a problems because of you”.

  • “You destroy Russia with your brutal truth!” tell you the supporters of Putin. From what moment Russians begin to identify their well-being and future of the country personally with president?
  • Unfortunately, Russians have got used to connect their destiny with the first person of the state (whatever if it tsar, Secretary General or president). It is slave tradition of the country, which didn’t have long building democracy experience. Ultimate centralism and servant mentality of the residents of the empire, ready to fall at their feet to regular chieftain – here is the colossal problem of Russia. Also we can add here a terrible inferiority complex of people, who were permanently convinced that they are “the people – God-bearer”,”Saviors of mankind” and worthless wreck of USSR, superstate on the clay legs happened in front of them. I think that feeling of impossibility to realize their planet ambitions is the reason of current aggression of Russia to other world (Ukraine directly faced with it).

  • You support Ukrainian people in the resistance to Russian aggression and power put your name in the list of “extremists and separatists” as an answer. Who are you? New fighter for truth or revolutioner?
    • I don’t consider myself a hero. I’m only trying always to live without lie. To tell and write truth is my main aim. And judging about number of searches in my house, seized computers and opened criminal cases I’m carrying out this task. And adding me into a “black list” of acting terrorists of Russia, I watch like highest prize, given to me by power.
  • Your civilian lyrics noticed on the Poetry Contest in Ukraine. Who are your readers, are there a lot of Russians with alike views like yours among them?
  • There are a lot of people with my views, much more than power want to. But because of today’s reality of police Russia a lot of them prefer not to cry loudly about their position. The tradition of the “kitchen’s protest” still lives from the Soviet times in our society. During the last year standard of living of Russian has begun to decline noticeably. People begin to get the “invoices for Crimea” and followed after that insane escapade sanctions. The grumble among the population is growing, it is still timid, but it’s exist. It seems that after the victorious “Crimean euphoria” the hangover begins for some people.

What depends on my readers, so, it is indifferent people, who are anger about Russia’s course to Ukraine. I’m receiving letters from people from different countries with the support of my position. Of course, a lot of people write to me from Ukraine. But also I can notice such a fact that more and more people began to write kind words to me from Russia. It is seen that slowly something began to change in the brains of people.


  • What do you think about Russian opposition? Navalny, Yashin, Sobchack, Yavlinsky?
    • We need to understand that there is no any political opposition in its classical Western variant in the modern KGB Russia. The so-called “integrated, system” opposition “Yabloko” (Apple) of Yavlinsky, allowed by Kremlin like the counterfeit for European community, exists to show to the world that we are ostensibly free country and Democratic nothing is alien to us, too. Also, it could be single leaders, rebels without any branched organizational structures, aren’t allowed to the central broadcasting and media, who are marginalized. Those, who were a real threat to Kremlin, have been extruded from Russia (Kasparov, Khodorkovsky) or physically eliminated (Nemtsov). From those, who you named, maybe the most perspective is Navalny, doing a lot to expose senior Putin’s pals-corrupts, but his position about Crimea doesn’t satisfy me.
  • Does the crowding out of all dissidents from Russian public space inevitable? Do you look for the opportunity to emigrate from Russia?
  • The power step by step holds the policy to extrude dissidents from the country. People are already marginalized, who has the opposite to Kremlin the point of view and openly speaks about it. And of course it became unsafe not to agree publicly with the leadership of Russia. Kremlin has a big assortment at this situation from the criminal cases on dissent to attacks in porches and murders of the oppositions. The power cynically and clear determine its statement in one phrase: “Who doesn’t like our Russia can get away from here!”

  • Your forecast according to the “case of Savchenko”?
    • Unfortunately my forecast according to this ignominious fabricated “case of Nadezhda savchenko” is still unpromising. Considering Soviet-KGB mentality of Russian power and specifies of Putin psychic, who had been inspired in KGB school many years ago that to concess and admit mistakes is the weakness. The hope on mitigation of fate to this strong woman is minimal. But like in a situation with Khodorkovsky, the Kremlin dictator can show “royal favor”, but not because of mercy, only because of practical problems of political expediency. For example trades with West. It must be understood the Moscow keeps Savchenko as the hostage and they don’t want simple final for such an “extraction”. Nadezhda really become Ukrainian Joan of Arc to all world. We can wish her only patience and successful outcome!
  • Do you think about the possibility of the political career?
  • I don’t see myself in a role of professional politic. that’s not mine. But I will further actively take part in the public life and stand up for my civil position. I clearly formed mycredo in my last word before the conviction to me: I leave a right to myself to write and say things that I consider necessary and important to the country, in spite of the opinion of overwhelming majority and “general line of party and government”. I did and will continue to do solely at the behest of my own conscience and any sanctions or perspective of future new criminal cases can’t stop me and make me to turn away from my chosen way.

Prepared by Mykyta Pidgora

translated by Denis Bizkitov

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