Open letter from Kouznetsov to Putin 2007
В.В.Путин. 103132, ул. Ильинка, д. 23, Москва, Россия
Dear Vladimir Putin. Citizen write you thousands letters of support and thousands letters of critics; but I suspect, many of them are not constructive, while you need constructive critics and constructive support.
The greatest catastrophe of Russia was caused by poor information of Russian Emperor Nikolay II (Romanov) about aims and intents of pretty loyal participants of the peaceful manifestation in 1905. The people came to ask him for some protection against voluntarism of officials. The Emperor could resolve the conflict, would he accept the petition, make an ex-prompt talk from the balcony of his palace and confirm his talk with corresponding reforms. Unfortunately, the Nikolay missed this chance, and 12 years later this costed life to him and his family. The vertical of power he built up was not supported by the people, and it was so unstable as a pyramid of domino stones placed vertically. With this letter, I would like to warn you against similar error. I would support you as legal genealogical emperor of Russia. But you are only president, and in the case of continuation of your government (direct or indirect), even if success, many citizen may qualify this with another, less attractive word. I worry about fall of the prestige of Russia, Russians and President.
I would like to indicate serious faults of the official propaganda. At the condition-less support of your politics by the Mass Media, there is no accurate way to estimate your rating. You cannot know how popular (or unpopular) are your decisions. This is main error, which causes other errors.
One often mentions your contribution into war against terrorism. This is quite a doubtful compliment. First, in the similar way, the American mass media glorify G.Bush (criticized for the world-wide military actions). Second, it is difficult to believe that the special military organizations can really fight terrorists, armed with bombs, missiles and machine guns; while during many years they cannot catch even corrupted police officers, collecting bribes at the roads, although the bribe-collectors are armed with just conventional pistols.
One mentions, that during your presidentship, Russia became "respected". The most of Russians can see the inconsistency of such a claim. Many Russians have friends or relatives who travel outside Russia, or travel by themselves. They know that namely Russian citizen have strongest problems in the consulates and airports.They see that Russians (and therefore, Russia) are not respected. (see Appendix 1).
Due to the sad inheritance of the USSR in the fight against dissidents, the presumption of guilt dominates in the non-official opinions. Russians all the time expect any dirty trick from any official, who has any executive power. For example, citizen avoid service of any psychiatrists; any psychiatrist, first, is considered as executioner, and only then - as a doctor. Generations of perfect prudence are required to break such a stereotype. Unfortunately, your administration was not successful providing such a prudence. Therefore, in the case of Larisa Arap, the most of readers (and not only in Russia) considered the violations of the legal procedure as direct indication to the application of the punitive psychiatry.
In such a condition, any economical, technical, territorial or political achievements are not considered as an indication to the effective government, but a personal successes of the the nomenclature of Russia; not an evidence of the prosperity of the country. People in some regions may consider that it is in their interests to get political and economical independence from Russia; the harder and stronger is the "Vertical of power" you build up, the greater will be the wish to put it horizontal.
You still have several months to postulate that the first and main aim and duty of the State is to provide the all-human rights of citizen. Then, the people can support the state, and the state becomes stronger. In this case, you'll be able to say with words of Pilate by Michael Bulgakov:"Let it be not so much done, but I did it".
August 2007, Dmitrii Kouznetsov (Дмитрий Кузнецов).
Appendix 1. About Russian passport.
The humiliation of Russian citizen by Russian state begins with passport. In many countries, the driver license is used as identification, and no other identification is required in travels within a country; the passport is used only for travels to foreign countries. In Russia, everyone has to keep passport, while those who travel to other countries, should have at least two passports: one "internal" and one "external". It costs significant efforts, to keep both of them in order. Some believe that Russia, being within the USSR, won the World War II. In order to show the deepness of this confusion, compare the passports of Russians to those of Japan citizen.
The Japanese passport is valid during 10 years, compared to the Russian external passport which should be renewed each 5 years. As for the internal Russian passport, Japanese people do not need its equivalent at all. Citizen of the Russian Federation have to collect numerous and work-costousos documents to get visas even for simple travels; the Japanese passport allows to travel in the most of countries without visas.
There is special message in Japanese passports, in Japanese and in English:
The Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Japan requests all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer of a Japanese national to pass freely and without hindrance and in case of need to afford him or her every possible aid and protection.
The Russian translation: Министры Иностранных дел Японии просят всех, кого это может касаться, разрешить лицу Японской национальности свободный и беспрепятственный проход или проезд, и в случае необходимости предоставлять ему или ей любую возможную помощь и защиту.
There is no analogous message in passports of Russian citizen. The foreign officials do not respect Russians, because the Russian government does not request any support or protection to Russian citizen. If the Russian government communicates other countries with respect to specific Russian citizen, they talk about extradation, not about a support. Such attitude of the Russian state with respect to Russian citizen does not help to a good reputation of Russia. The politics of Russian government with respect to the Russian citizen should be reconsidered. In particular, the message in Russian passports, analogous to that mentioned above would help both, the respect of Russian citizen in foreign countries and the image of the Russian government.
Other letters in support of Putin
The case of Larisa Arap, mentioned in the letter above, was partially resolved the same month, which can be confirmed by several letters below.
- L.Martz, N.A. Schorr. OPC LETTER TO RUSSIA, Defence of Journalists, August 22, 2007; http://www.opcofamerica.org/press_freedom/letters/220807_russia.php
- Alastair Gee. Putin critic tells of her mental hospital ordeal. The independent, 22 August 2007,