Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ex-Soviet Dissident to Return to Russia to Run for President

This is one brave guy, a former Soviet dissident who's returning to Russia to run in the Presidential elections there. Check out some quotes:

In an interview, Mr. Bukovsky, a 64-year-old retired neurophysiologist, said: "I am not scared, but Russian society is very scared. You need to boost people's morale. If they really want to change things --if they take to the streets in their millions -- they can. But that requires determination."

Given his history, though, I'd say he has reason to be scared:

Forty years ago the Russian authorities tried to execute Mr. Bukovsky on false charges of planning a Gulag mutiny. Having spent 12 years imprisoned in psychiatric and labour camps for "anti-Soviet activities," he was eventually deported in 1976, in an historic prison exchange with the Chilean communist leader Luis Corvalan Lepe, before seeking asylum in Britain.

And I fear something might happen to him:

His return to Russia follows the death of his close friend Mr. Litvinenko. He and other expatriate Russians claimed Mr. Litvinenko was murdered on the Kremlin's orders. Andrei Lugovoi, another former spy, is wanted in Britain to stand trial for Mr. Litvinenko's murder.

As a pallbearer at the London funeral last December, Mr. Bukovsky told mourners: "Sasha [Litvinenko] died as a soldier, a warrior, fighting his enemies to the very end, looking straight into their eyes. He fought for his brothers." Mr. Litvinenko's death, he added, was a sign that "Russia has been given a licence to kill, an invitation to murder anyone it wishes."

Putin's already created an atmosphere of fear around the upcoming elections, and is gaming things as well as he can so that his chosen one will become his successor. For this man to return to Russia and campaign in this environment makes him one brave soul indeed.

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