From the dead head, a fatal snake.
And in private life, in the singular (me, you, him), we do not know whether we will be beaten, arrested, killed; and who will do it (beat, kill) – a drunken scoundrel or a stupefied policeman with an “accidental” shot in the head.
Dictators do not inform their subjects of their intentions. But subjects could guess something and even predict important events; so the old peasant, looking at the sunset, confidently predicts tomorrow’s weather.
… The invasion of Afghan happened unexpectedly. The peoples of the USSR knew nothing about this. Even after the invasion, they did not know for a long time. Not only were they not asked the subjects, they were not even informed about such a historical political event. Only when the zinc cargo-200 went to our cities, the parents of the murdered man, signing for receipt, found out that their boyfriend had died performing his international duty. (International duty! – some party creature then came up with this formula. Then other formulas were invented, to which it is impossible to object: “sovereign democracy”, “constitutional order”, “health care optimization”, etc. What good words! They promise prosperity, but alas, death is hidden behind them.)
The USSR then, in December 1979, did not warn foreign countries that we would start a war, the “partners” were stunned (well, to hell with them).
But there was a prediction (aka warning). It was! It’s just that no one paid attention to him, because this prediction was made not by a politician, not by a historian – in a sense, no one.
* * *
Prophetic Oleg in vain disobeyed the prediction and thrust himself towards the dead horse – so death overtook him. The horse was dead, but this corpse harbored a poisonous snake. And in the skull, in the head.
In 1979, a fatal surprise happened. On December 29, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. This is now considered a fatal mistake. 10 years of mediocre war followed, the death of 15 thousand of our soldiers and a million Afghans. Who could have guessed this? Probably, the Kremlin fathers of the people (the elders of the people? The grandfathers of the people?) Were sure that they could cope with one regiment in two hours.
The hardest for us international complications followed (the easiest, albeit very offensive: a boycott of the Moscow 1980 Olympics).
The invasion was started by a dead head – more precisely, three or four dead heads, which were called beautifully and solidly: the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU. With the mouth of the head they still spoke something somehow, but the mind in them had long ended, poisonous snakes now lived there. They bit to death 15 thousand Soviet soldiers (many thousands more became disabled, and how many drank themselves … We do not know the number of post-traumatic alcoholics).
* * *
Historians have described many tyrants. Tacitus, Plutarch, Suetonius, Karamzin, Marquez (“Autumn of the Patriarch”), Nabokov (“Under the sign of the illegitimate”), but for some reason none of them described the tyrant not as a person (with a name, with dates of birth and death), but as a typicality. That is, as a kind of “phenomenon” with its own laws. Someone may recall Machiavelli, but the Florentine in his famous treatise “The Emperor” described the actions of the “ideal ruler”, and not at all a tyrant.
The phenomenon and laws of tyranny were formulated not by a historian, not by a psychologist, but simply by a person with free time and burdened with the habit of thinking and writing down thoughts. It was Joseph Brodsky – a man far from politics; he diligently avoided her (did not participate in any “social movements”, not a fighter for human rights, but also a dropout, 8th grade of secondary school).
It is not so difficult to describe a historical event that you are an eyewitness to. You can describe a historical event or a historical person, not being a contemporary, but from memoirs and documents.
It is more difficult to formulate a law, a mechanism; in this case, the mechanism and laws of tyranny.
The difference will hopefully be clear from a simple comparison. You can describe and even taste “Moscow special”, “Stolichnaya”, “Starka”, “Beluga”, “Kubanskaya”, but it is quite another matter to formulate the rule vodka: ethyl alcohol + water; 40 °.
Lazy in New York (or where Brodsky lived there in exile), he wrote notes about tyranny in the fall of 1979:
“Sickness and death – that’s, perhaps, all that a tyrant has in common with his subjects. Already in this sense, it is beneficial for the people that an old man rules. Not that the thought of the inevitability of death necessarily enlightened and softened the temper, but the time the tyrant spent thinking about his own metabolism is time taken away from the affairs of state. Both domestic and international periods of calm are directly proportional to the number of diseases gnawing at your Secretary General or President for Life. “
Note: Brodsky wrote this at the time of the USSR, when we had no presidents at all. Let’s continue with the quote.
“For a tyrant, the time allotted for thinking about the soul is used to calculate how to maintain the status quo. This is because a person in his position does not see the difference between the present, history and eternity – state propaganda fused them together, because it is more convenient for the tyrant himself and the population. He clings to power, like other elderly people to their pensions and savings.
The average duration of a good tyranny is ten to fifteen years, twenty at the most. Beyond this limit, a slide into something very monstrous is inevitable. Then we are dealing with greatness, manifested in the unleashing of wars or terror within the country, or both together … “
Brodsky’s note “On Tyranny”, although small, but to quote it in full would be unreasonable and indecent. Something else should be noted. Namely: “The inevitable slide into the outbreak of war or terror within the country, or both.” The correctness of these reflections is confirmed at least by the example of Bashar al-Assad, who became president of Syria in 2000 and slipped away a few years ago.
The bored poet, Nobel laureate with incomplete high school education wrote about the unleashing war of tyranny 3 months before the start of the Afghan war, and thus predicted it.
* * *
Tyranny (Brodsky for some reason did not write about this) penetrates into the personal life of any person so deeply that it is impossible to imagine, and at the same time the person does not even know that the tyrant is guiding his most intimate experiences: for example, grief.
The transcript of the meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU on July 30, 1981 is widely known:
“SUSLOV (ideologist, insisted on the invasion). Comrade Tikhonov presented a note to the Central Committee of the CPSU regarding the perpetuation of the memory of the soldiers who died in Afghanistan. If now we perpetuate memory, write about it on the tombstones of the graves, and in some cemeteries there will be several such graves, then from a political point of view, this is not entirely correct.
ANDROPOV (Chairman of the KGB of the USSR). Of course, soldiers need to be buried with honors, but it is too early to perpetuate their memory.
KIRILENKO (senile, could hardly pronounce the words). It is inappropriate to install tombstones now. (To nameless graves, or what, to dump or into a ditch? – A.M.)
TIKHONOV (Prime Minister of the USSR). Generally, of course, you need to bury, another matter, should you make inscriptions?
СУСЛОВ. One should also think about the answers to the parents, whose children died in Afghanistan. There should be no liberties here. Answers should be concise and more standardized. “
Concise and standard? It is very simple: “Killed while executing.” And where, how, why and why – why should parents, widow and children know this? Until 1985, it was forbidden to write “died in Afghanistan” on the graves. But the Prime Minister’s mouth said best of all: “Generally, of course, you need to bury.” One is tempted to add: “But I don’t want to.”
The war has been going on for a year and a half, thousands of coffins have already flown to their homeland, and tyranny decides how subjects should bury their children and what can be written on the graves.
* * *
… If you have read this far, then it is likely that this text impressed you as something chaotic, chaotic. Perhaps this is because you are a resident of the city and are used to the order: if you walk down the street from the city center, then on the right you have even numbers of houses # 2, # 4, # 6 … and on the left side, respectively, # 1, # 3, No. 5 … But if you find yourself in the forest, there is no order: a hazel tree, some wolf berries, underfoot all kinds of grass and other trifles whose name you almost never know – in general, chaos grows next to a pine tree. However, it never occurs to you to call the forest chaos and annoy the disorder. On the contrary, you get pleasure: it is easy to breathe, and you walk wherever you look, and no traffic lights regulate your movement – only you, your home planet and the Law of Gravity.
In no way equating myself with Brodsky (for I have some kind of diploma, but I have no talent and no “Nobel Prize”), I will only note the general habit of thinking and writing down thoughts. This habit made it possible to make predictions without being either a political scientist or a historian.
These predictions were not so comprehensive and, accordingly, theoretical, but they were quite specific. Let’s give just one example. In September 1994, “MK” published my article “God Will Give War”, which said that the Kremlin’s policy directly leads to war in the North Caucasus and that it would be right to bestow orders on Dudayev and show other signs of attention and honor valued by the mountaineers. But the dead head, naturally, did not hear anything, did not read anything, and repeated with her mouth: “One regiment in two hours.”
Three months after the publication of “God Will Give War”, the First Chechen War began.
A little more than a quarter of a century has passed since then, two Chechen wars have passed, but they were not in vain. Hundreds of thousands were killed and maimed. For what? For the sake of establishing constitutional order? And is it better for our country that instead of the Soviet general of strategic (!) Aviation, who graduated from the Air Force Academy, at the head of the Chechen Republic, now a completely, completely different person with a completely different education, in which the name “Chechen Republic” is only half correct , because it is really Chechen, but not at all res publica (a form of state structure where citizens have equal political rights, and the most important condition for a republic is election and turnover head of state)?
And as a result of these two victorious wars, the Russian (in terms of ethnic composition) city of Grozny became Chechen, and at the same time the capital of Russia, Moscow, became a Chechen city – not statistically, not formally, but at the level of some observations and feelings.