The notorious Russian writer and politician gave an exclusive interview to PRAVDA.Ru
Eduard Limonov does not need a special introduction. He is a writer, whose works are widely known both in Russia and abroad, he is the leader of the National-Bolshevik Party (NBP) and so on and so forth. Eduard Limonov has been recently freed on parole, after serving two years of his four-year sentence (Limonov could have been jailed for up to 25 years). Eduard Limonov gave an exclusive interview to PRAVDA.Ru correspondent, Ilya Tarasov.
Why were you imprisoned? Was it a provocation of special services?
One may only guess, why it happened so, there will never be evidence found to prove, who concocted the case. It came from the top, from the level of the Office of the Prosecutor General and the Supreme Court. We insisted on holding the trial in Moscow, but Mr. Kolmogorov (Deputy Prosecutor General) had his own way. Why did they want to develop the case? This is a more important question. They wanted to abolish a successful radical organization, to arrest its activists, its leader, and to put them on trial. They failed to do it for several reasons. They did not have enough evidence to back up the charges on such horrid paragraphs of the Criminal Code as terrorism and forming illegal armed groups. At first, they imputed the organization of an armed mutiny to us, but they could not collect the necessary evidence for that, so they used another paragraph of the code for the charges.
It goes without saying that it failed to be proved at court, and the court acquitted the six arrested NBP activists. I was jailed for arms possession, but I had to serve only four years instead of the maximum imprisonment of up to eight years. I am trying to say that the evidence collected to back up those charges was not enough - there was just suspicion. The attempt to abolish the party has failed.
Did the conditions of your imprisonment differ from conventional ones?
No, there was no difference, I was jailed in Lefortovo, living under the same conditions as all other prisoners. I was kept at one prison cell with other men, they moved us from one cell to another. I was placed in cell 32, where Sergey Aksenov, an NBP activist had been before. Later, I was moved to the city of Saratov, in a strict regime zone. On the whole, I was sharing all troubles and problems like everyone else.
The prison has not broken you, will you continue your political activities? It is rumored that you are going to leave for France. Is it true?
The rumor about France is untrue, it is a piece of impudent lies. Being already a prisoner, I gave an interview to several television channels and said that I was not going anywhere. I would go there for a week or two, of course, but I know that they will not let me back in Russia, that is why I am staying here.
What are your political plans for the nearest future? They say that you are going to run for the governor's office in the Sverdlovsk region. Is it true?
I do not want to be a governor, this is the last thing I want. There were such suggestions before, but I believe that we do not have a right to interfere in all elections. One should run for an office, when one has chances to win.
Is it possible for communists, or Russian patriotic forces in general to win the coming parliamentary elections in December?
There is always a hope, everything depends on the energy. If we have the strong will, we will definitely win. This is a question of several years.
What do you think is the difference between the current political situation and the one that we had ten years ago?
Everything is totally different, there were riots ten years ago, in 1993 people were intimidated with murders, so millions of people do not take any part in the political life of their country. As far as our party is concerned, we are a successful political organization. The Russian government was hoping that the party would break up, but the party is still up and running, it is developing very well. A lot of new interesting people have joined the party, they are becoming frantic revolutionaries.
What form of the political struggle do you prefer: the parliamentary or the armed one?
The armed struggle? Of course not! You are asking the person, who has just been released on parole, you should not ask such questions to me. It goes without saying, one should use legal ways for a political struggle. We have methods of our own: "attacking" governors, throwing paint at embassies and so on. The government is trying to destroy national bolsheviks, as it happened in September of 2002, in May of 2003 in St.Petersburg, when a man's arm was broken in tortures. This is horrible - the government thinks that it has a right to use such wild repression against us. Those are disgusting methods, and I am going to write a letter to Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov about it, I would like to meet him in person. If he does not have a chance to meet, it will be an open letter. I would like to talk to him about two incidents of brutal beating of NBP members on the Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow in September of 2002 and in May of 2003 in St.Petersburg. Such things should not happen in a country, which runs for the EU membership.
Will you continue your creative activities, or will you be thoroughly engrossed in politics?
I have worked a lot in jail, I have written several books. I have to make a break, I am going to deal with politics, I am 60 years old. I do not have much time, I need to concentrate on one thing now. One has to stop being a passive participant, one should get involved in politics. Reading newspapers, surfing the Internet must be replaced with real actions. If opposition parties call upon you to go out in the streets, you have to go out. Crowds, the society's support of the opposition rises great fear. This is the most powerful way to show pressure on the government. Any laws could be cancelled, if people came out in the streets of big cities. They cancel unpopular law in the West like that. For example, a million students protested against the education law and the law was canceled.
What if demonstrations of protest are funded by oligarchs, by Boris Berezovsky, for example? Are they legal?
Nobody knows it, if they take it and how much they take. Apparently, Berezovsky has his own goals to pursue. At the end of the day, Lenin was taking the money and he told us to do so too.
Will you unite with anyone for the elections? For example, will there be a coalition with Sergey Glazyev, the head of the National-Patriotic Force of Russia?
The situation has changed a little now: communists have a very unpleasant feature - they want to control everything, but we would like to have our piece of the political pie.
If someone offers you to participate in the elections on behalf of the Communist Party? Will you do this?
This question should be discussed at the Central Committee of the NBP. Yet, we are not against it, if the suggestion is worth it, of course.
What does the word "freedom" mean to you?
Unfortunately, freedom is cut in Russia. Russia is not the country, where I would like to be freed. It is definitely my country from the point of view of streets and houses and landscapes, but the Russian system, which is especially noticeable in Moscow, can only raise indignation. I would like to be freed in the atmosphere of a revolution, red banners, the real exultation nationwide. Now I am not in jail anymore, but I know that I have been freed on parole. In addition to it, I know what is waiting for me and my party in the future - attacks, provocations. They are killing deputies from the Liberal Russia Party, and who knows what is going to be next.
Do you think that Che Guevara and Eduard Limonov have something in common?
It is not the time to talk about it. Maybe, history will throw light on some facts about the NBP leader's life later, maybe, there will be something in common with Che Guevara's life.
Eduar Limonov, leader of the National-Bolshevik Party, has written an open letter to Russian Interior Minister, Boris Gryzlov. In the letter, Limonov asked the minister for a meeting. "As the leader of the political party that has been subjected to brutal and unfair repression on the part of the Interior Ministry, I would like to ask you to have a private meeting with me," Limonov's letter runs. Eduard Limonov also wrote that Russian law-enforcement bodies had a biased attitude to his party - he gave several examples to prove it. Limonov also stated that "regional departments for the struggle with organized crime interfered in the activity of the party." The party's leader suspects, Russian law-enforcement bodies consider the NBP a criminal group.