Vladimir Kozlov called me. He has undergone treatment for spasms of the stomach and problems with his blood vessels in the medical unit. He has received the parcel I sent him. He also informed me that someone else had sent him a parcel, but it was refused and returned to sender. He doesn't know the sender. I'm urging everyone who wants to support and help Volodya, not to send him parcels. If you wish to send him something, please send the parcel to me first, and I will forward it along with my next parcel.
Interestingly, he did not receive the things that Toregozhina attached: the newspapers: 'Adam' and 'Pravdivaya Gazeta'. He didn't receive my attachments, either: the 'Assandi Times' newspaper (editor S.Duvanov). The colony administration explained this by 'censorship of the custodial facility' and that,, they supposedly know better which materials inmates should be permitted to read and what's not appropriate for them. Yah! Even Vadim Kuramshin received the 'Adam' newspaper in a strict regime colony, and here, in a general regime colony newspapers are prohibited. I have never seen censorship of political literature stipulated in the prison rules and regulations so this decision strikes me as being rather strange.
I have also received eight letters from him. A letter
dated 5 June, 2013, reads: "I haven't yet started to gain weight,
I'm waiting for this moment to come. The sun is beating down,
mosquitoes and other nasty insects are eating us alive during the
evening headcount. The penal colony is situated by a
From this general feeling of 'dreadfulness' I'm trying to isolate details in order to somehow adjust the 'self-feeling' so as to understand what events or other aspects could affect this same feeling. So far, I'm in the process, I register, analyze and separate the feelings into those which can be eliminated by means of changing my own behavior, and those which arise from circumstances which are beyond my control.
There was an accumulation of events and feelings, which led to my reassessment of many things and many people. It's not apathy of life itself, of course. This is aversion to the life that I have here, and a quiet longing for some 'naive notions', that I have almost completely divested myself of during this time. I am very grateful to everyone who has supported me and who continues to support me, but there are also many who have run for the hills... And there were many among them who have previously promised me their support, on whose shoulder (quoting their own words) I could (supposedly) lean on in difficult times. Every day, and even now, my list of friends is constantly changing, people disappear like a photograph depicting a group of people; in places where people were previously standing, only silhouettes are remain visible... well, never mind, it's rehabilitation, and that always involves pain; we will survive it all and continue to live for each other and for those who are very close to us.
6 June, 2013. You've had some outrageous things going on recently (kidnapping of Ablyazov's family, Ketebayev's arrest, searches, seizures), this is an Apocalypse, some kind of 'overspeed'. This rarely happens in engines - all of a sudden, the engine starts to gain momentum, and it cannot be shut down; even if you turn off the ignition. The result is usually that the engine itself shatters into pieces inside. I'm reading 'The Myth of stagnation', this is a collection of documents from the years 1965-82, the era of stagnation, the beginning of the human rights movement in the USSR. On 27 March, 1971, Peter Yakir, human rights activist, wrote a letter to the presidium of the 24th Congress of the CPSU, stating: "... to respond to criticism with persecution - whose method is this? Is that the way to prove one's cause? Is this how a monolithic ideological society is achieved? It only leads to the expansion of the group of those discontent, regardless of the way by which the dissatisfaction is expressed ... political dissent, even if it is loyal, in our country it is tacitly regarded a crime..." and this was 1971 in the USSR! A very interesting book, I've almost finished reading it. Galich's poems have deeply touched me:
When I shall return
When I shall come running
not leaving a trace in the snow a-melting
Retracing my steps
hardly seen, to some warm place and shelter
And, starting with joy
at your sweet birdish call shall I turn
When I shall return
Oh, when I return
Larks will sing in the winter at ease
That very old tune
that forgotten, that uncounterfeited -
And then I will fall
by my victory overdefeated
And bury my head, like a ship
'gainst the berth of your knees
When I shall return...
When shall I return?
Recent events are an exact replication of the events of that time, almost 50 years ago. And these stupid people don't take time to think how those actions ended, first with the events of 1985, and then those of 1991...
The events which are occurring now are more rigid, and less and less explicable with any concepts. There is an impression that people do not have time to understand what is happening, and they are just lashing out to the left and right, striking all those who 'stand out'. In my view, it is very dangerous for everyone, because it can very easily change into a state of chaos which will be quite literally, deadly, in a physical sense...
Recently, I have taken a fancy to writing to you almost every day, so you should go to the post office more often, and be sure to take note of the dates of my letters; recently, I've had the impression that there are quite a few people wishing to read my letters, and you're the last one in the queue...
10 June, 2013. I went to the library, there are 2 more books for me: one of them is a study by Dosym Satpayev, Andrey Chebotarev… Here, it's so odd to see the names of people whom we know from 'there', from 'that life'. Give my greetings to them, too.
I look, I think, I analyze. From that side, it certainly looks weird: I'm alone all the time, I remain silent. I look, I see - such institutions shouldn't be called correctional. This term has been hypocritically imposed since the Soviet times, and it is totally contrary to everything that is done here. In order to be 'corrected', one needs education, and in order to be taught social manners - one needs a highly individual approach, which is absent here on principle...
In the evening, I have a few minutes before the lights go out, when we stand in front of our beds and wait for a signal, many look at their pictures and I do, too.
Recently, a controller came in and 'called' me a 'pitiful intellectual'. It was quite sudden, he looked at me and said, "and you are a 'pitiful intellectual'. And he walked away. And our "intellectuals" should read poems by Jakov Polonsky's, who lived almost 150 years ago:
A writer, if he's the only sensorial nerve of a great nation,
Cannot remain indifferent,
When freedom has been struck...
11 June, 2013. Recently, we caught a 'tea leaf' in our unit. I gathered my dry socks and underwear and took them to the room for political and correctional activities (the PCA room), and from there through the fenced pass to the supply room. Someone called me from the PCA room, and so I left my belongings on the chair. I went out and when I returned after 5 minutes, my things were gone. I asked people about them, at first it seemed like no one had seen them, then someone remembered - that guy was holding something like that in his hands. I asked him, but he said: "No, I did not see anything", and he showed me his own socks and said: "You can't mean these!". And then, a guy who was standing next to him, began to speak more directly: "Hey, listen, you wrapped all his things in your towel". A few people gathered around, they all started yelling: "Unwrap it!" He unwrapped the towel and there they were, my things... In other camps, he could suffer very severe consequences. Here, he was just taken for a 'conversation'.
Sometimes I remember the most absurd moments of that nonsense that they called my "case". I remember, in the beginning, they posted short movies on the Internet which remained there for a long time, they showed material evidence with tags - sawn-off shotguns, pistols, police shields riddled with shotgun pellet. They argued that those who had participated in the riots, used weapons against the police... We then wondered: if so many guns were fired on the police, then why were no police officers wounded? And what happened to this stuff afterwards? During the trial of oil workers regarding the riots, not a word was spoken about all this nonsense that they had imposed through these movies. And as for the shooting at unarmed people - first, there was a version stating "only when the police were in danger," and then they showed the video, where the police are shooting from the waist and from the shoulder, as if in a shooting gallery, on the unarmed and those trying to escape. There were no water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets - from the very beginning they used machine guns and pistols, lethal weapons which kill.
If it hadn't been for that accidental video film taken in Zhanaozen, the lie would have been taken for the truth, those old ladies who shot that video should be awarded the peace prize for courage and heroism in exposing the lies of law enforcement agencies, as what they did was life-threatening.
And as for 'my' articles - 164, 170, 235. The first two were presented only because of leaflets although they had been published in the media, on an officially registered website, and from September 2011 to January 2012 neither the NSC workers nor prosecutors had anything against them. Also, the leaflets cannot be recalled by 90% of those who "participated" in the riots in Zhanaozen; another 7% claim that they had just seen them, and the remaining 3% read them, but they didn't like the leaflets. So where in the world is there even a tenuous relationship between these leaflets and the events in Zhanaozen?
Even if we were to glue together all these bits and pieces, as did the investigators, even the author of these leaflets couldn't possibly be charged with the crimes stipulated in Articles 164 and 170.
And Article 235 raises a sad laugh as it defies common sense. Leaders of an organised criminal group were present, but at the same time, during the investigation and the trial none of them were charged with participating in an organised criminal group. In other words - there was no organised criminal group as such, as its existence hasn't been proven by investigators or examined by a court. So, what was I the leader of? It's so obvious... This lie was flimsy, but still it has led me to remain behind barbed wire. And what about the testimony of the tormented witnesses? There was no testimony which would state: 'I saw' or 'I heard'. I remember only: 'I have not seen, not heard, I am not aware', 'I have not seen, not heard, but I do condemn' and 'now I understand that…'. And yet, there were 2 pages of testimonies of 2 witnesses, and they were copied word for word, comma by comma... And the tears of a tortured woman, the only one in the Aktau detention facility who approached me during an accidental encounter in the corridor, I remember her tears on my chest, and her words - 'Volodya, please forgive me...' Tears of courage, words of a woman who went through a nightmare and hell...
I am sure that it will take a little time, and everything that is now hidden in lies and silence, will be revealed. And we will discover who of the oil workers was in the loop and who was just performing his role in the story. To be more exact, it is already clear to those who are able to analyse those events, and to answer the questions - Who benefited from these events back then?
Personally, I have forgiven all those who did me wrong. I have forgiven, which doesn't mean that I've forgot, and it doesn't mean that I won't ever recall it. It means that I will pay with the same. There are people whose actions I understood; those I forgave, I will never castigate regardless of anything they have done to me. Others I understood and forgave, but I will never shake their hands, I will not sit at the same table with them...
Another letter from Inara Masanova came, it was so nice. Please give her my greetings.
12 June, 2013. We are working hard in the unit, doing repairs in various places. I continue to read the book by Nurbolat Masanov, it has already drawn the attention of some young guys, the Kazakhs, as the book tells the story of each zhuzes and all clans. I intend to suggest organising a series of lectures based on the material from this book. I admire Nurbolat's depth of knowledge and his ability to present scientific material in understandable and accessible language - it's so interesting. I have never thought I would be so interested in reading about the "patronymic organisation of community and social relations" of nomads, but it transpired to be interesting, I'd even say: very interesting.
16 June, 2013. I'm writing and I come to understand that we are so spaced out in time, that it doesn't make sense to ask questions in our letters, like 'what's up" or 'what are you doing". Before the letter arrives, before the answer comes - we can have two phone conversations by that time. And I would like so much to talk with you more often.
I'm finishing reading the book by Nurbolat Masanov, then I will return it to the library. It's very interesting, and I'm sure l will re-read this book many times.
Last night, before the headcount, I had spasms again, I had to go to the medical unit and take painkillers. They helped, and the night passed without any pain.
 Zhuz (Kazakh: жүз, Arabic: jüz) is one of the three main territorial divisions in the Kypchak Plain area that covers much of the contemporary Kazakhstan. Variably, a jüz is believed to be a confederation or alliance of Kazakh nomads. Kazakh legends tell that ancestry of the three main Kazakh jüzes derived from three brothers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%BCz