Boris Kagarlitsky from Russian prison: ‘Authorities are cynically using the Crocus City Hall terror attack to divert from the real criminals’

April 4, 2024
city hall man's face
Background image: Wikimedia. Inset: Boris Kagarlitsky

Below is an extract from a letter sent by renowned Russian sociologist Boris Kagarlitsky to his daughter, Ksenia, on March 26 from Detention Centre No.12 in Zelenograd. In it he discusses the fallout of the horrific terrorist attack carried out at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall on March 22. 

On February 13, Kagarlitsky was jailed for five years due to his anti-war views. With his final appeal to be heard in early May, the Boris Kagarlitsky International Solidarity Campaign has launched a global petition calling for his release along with all other anti-war political prisoners. Green Left encourages readers to sign the petition.

As with his first letter, this extract has been translated by Renfrey Clarke. Clarke also translated Kagarlitsky's latest book, The Long Retreat: Strategies to Reverse the Decline of the Left, available now for pre-order from Pluto Press.

* * *

Ksyusha dear, 

As always, I was unbelievably happy to receive your letter, and your news. As you know, there is a new tension here [in Russia] because of the appalling act of terrorism at the Crocus City Hall. The crime itself was monstrous, but what has people no less frightened is the fact that the authorities are making a cynical attempt to use it in their propaganda, diverting the conversation from the real criminals and trying to pin the blame for everything on Ukraine, America and for some reason, Britain. Even the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever pointing to Ukraine is being presented as conclusive proof: since there are no traces, that means the Ukrainians prepared everything meticulously, thus demonstrating their craftiness.

This is leading to still more frightening suspicions and fears, that I won’t even try to formulate. It’s obvious, though, that [French president Emmanuel] Macron was right — behaviour of this kind can only be harmful to Russia, and even to the present authorities. The terror attack stirred a wave of sympathy for Russia, and in principle, any minimally competent government would have tried to make use of this. But “our” authorities have mounted a disgusting propaganda campaign that has immediately evoked revulsion (judging even by the prisoners here, who for a long time have had no sources of news apart from the television). In other words, the authorities are already reducing international sympathy to zero. Meanwhile, what are the consequences going to be internally? My hope is that there won’t be any. But we’ll find this out only in April, most likely towards the end of the month. We’ll need to wait two or three weeks.

One good thing: your photo is marvellous. It made an impression on the censor — she declared that you look like me, though I objected that you’re much more beautiful. And, of course, younger as well! In short, the photo is wonderful…

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