Putin's appointment of a Stalin-apologist ideologue as education minister is, for many intellectuals, the last straw.”>
MOSCOW For the first time in his adult life, Russian writer and journalist Arkady Babchenko is planning to escape from his Moscow life, to take his family away from his home country to Europe.
Babchenko has been one of the sharpest, most irrepressible critics of Russian President Vladimir Putins politics. In 2012, attorneys opened a criminal investigation over one of his articles, but Babchenko was not one to be intimidated. He is a journalist veteran of two Chechen wars. So it is not a threat to his own life that is pushing him out of his country today. Babchenko is terrified about the future of his 9-year-old daughter, his only infant, if she stays in Russia.
In two to three years, Russia is going to be like Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Babchenko told The Daily Beast. It will be full of miserable people, of children receiving poor education, facing street violence, and police at checkpointsnot a good place for my daughter, the writer said.
A few months ago Babchenko was upset to see his daughter, a 3rd grader at a Moscow school, marching in a semi-military uniform and singing patriotic songs at local schools event.
We assure examples of obscurantism all over the place: Socialists running around with Stalin flags, Orthodox priests attending nation events; but I still did not expect the appointment of an Orthodox fanatic and a Stalinist as the minister of education and science.
During a recent visit to Crimea, President Putin named Olga Vasilyeva to the post. She seemed to be a deep religion bureaucrat who devoted her academic research to the patriotic role of the Russian Orthodox Church in Soviet times.
Vasilyeva is also known for defending the record of Joseph Stalin, the Soviet dictator notorious for executing political dissenters, including hundreds of thousands of Orthodox disciples.( According to an analysis by Prof. Nikolai Yemelyanov at the Russian Academy of Science, Soviet security agencies killed as many as 500,000 Orthodox Christians .)
The shadow of new repression is the reason many Russian professionals are leaving the country today. The new trend inspired by the Kremlin is to label its critics russophobes.
But even inside the government officials are at odds about the glorification of tyrants in the name of patriotism.
Our Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, which has up to 30 percent supporting, is against putting Stalin up on the ideological flags, he was a tyrant, he killed our best intellectuals, and we the nation are responsible for itwe should never go back to repressions, State Duma Deputy Vadim Dengin told The Daily Beast.
Earlier this year, Timur Olevsky, a Russian journalist who had encompassed the war in Ukraine for the independent Tv RAIN made a decision to move to Prague. In May 2015 Russian security services had imprisoned the Olevsky in the provincial Russian township of Tolyatti where he was working on a story about Russian officers opposing in Ukraine, and the families left behind.
They must have set me on some listing for interrogations, as after that episode every time I tried to cross the border, I was pulled aside and questioned, Olevsky told The Daily Beast. I do not want to sink in darkness and spend my life explaining that the darkness is back.
As with Babchenko, Olevskys own future was not the main causes of leaving Russia; the journalist said that he was thinking mainly of his childrens education.
My son Artemy was seven years old that is the age when the society begins to limit liberty. I wanted him to have a different experience liberty dedicates a bigger opportunity for success, I believe, told Olevsky, who now works for Radio Free Europe.
The state media criticized Olevsky for employment by an American government-run operation, and accused him of being a Ukrainian agent. Those, who escape the country instead of sacrificing their lives for it will be outsiders abroad all their lives, State Duma Deputy Dengin told The Daily Beast. But Olevsky said he did not regret his deviation, and once again the appointment of Vasiliyeva seemed to be the final tipping point in his mind.