Monday, May 28, 2007

Bukovsky to run for Russian presidency

Prima News reports that the famous Russian dissident Vladimir Bukovsky is to run for the presidency of the Russian Federation in 2008. The report includes a declaration by Bukovsky himself:
Dear Friends,

I am very grateful for your faith in the future of Russia and in my possible role in that future. To tell the truth, I have long lost that faith. The recovery of our poor country seems less and less likely the further we get from 1991. At a given moment I stopped hoping for such a recovery. Too many opportunities have been lost, too many Soviet myths have returned to the people’s minds.

Today, however, we are no longer talking about a recovery, but about salvation. Once again we have political prisoners in Russia, which, given our history, is a symptom of a lethal illness. Mikhail Trepashkin, an asthmatic, is suffocating in his prison cell; a number of scientists have been jailed simply for having contacts with their Western colleagues; disobedient businessmen have been sent to labour-camps; for the sake of the self-assertion of the KGB regime a small Caucasus nation is being destroyed; political assassinations have become the norm.

The threat of a return to the Stalinist era was what led us, the young boys of the 1960s, to protest against the regime. I am becoming old, but I cannot betray the principles of my youth.

I am a prisoner. It is my nationality, my biography, my faith. I cannot allow someone to suffocate in prison. If my nomination for President will help to stop at least that, I agree to it.

I cannot promise our people happiness. We all have an exhausting, difficult road to recovery ahead of us. Maybe we will not be able to complete it. But if this nation still has the strength to call on people like me, we are prepared to try. You and I will face great obstacles. For the last ten years I have been banned from coming to Russia even as a tourist, thought there are no legal foundations for this ban. Maybe it is Polonium-210 that awaits me, but this does not stop me. As long as it does not stop you.

Our favourite toast in the old days was: “for our hopeless cause”. Today this cause seems hopeless. This is precisely why I agree to take part in it.

For our freedom and yours!

Vladimir Bukovsky
27th May 2007
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