An excerpt from Vladimir Kozlov's letter - Reflections on a forced call to "heed the Message of the FPLN (First President and the Leader of the Nation)"
The President's address is being shown in the club today; they say it's an interesting movie. It's a mass event and everyone is required to attend. Usually, only 15-20 are selected from each division, due to the limited space in the club, "I hope not to be selected, as I fear I could organise a rally based on the Kazakh proverb "Do as the mullah says, but not as the mullah does". If I started a rumour now that the address will include the topic of amnesty, everyone would rush there; this word is used only a little less frequently here than the slang expression 'for real'.
I was still dragged kicking and screaming into the club, to watch 'Nazarbayev'. It was a mistake. Within 15 minutes, I had heard two arithmetical errors which should, apparently be attributed to the skill of his assistants, as they were in the text. In the first case, the FPLN was talking about (new) plans for industrialisation, and he stated that this year (2014), the first stage is going to be completed, and in 2016 - a new stage will start. Given that the year is 2014, whatever happened to the year 2015? did it descend into non-existence, or are they planning a one-year break?
The second moment came when calculating the years remaining until 2050, announced as the scheduled date of the appearance of universal happiness. Subtracting the current year from 2050, the FPLN announced that we have 35 years left (2050-2014 = 36), and he immediately began to divide them into five-year chunks and attributing plans to said chunks. He succeeded much better in this undertaking, only the expression 'five-year plan' brought back memories... Are we really going to measure the path towards the bright new dawn by five-year plans again?... I understand that for some it's a matter of 'nostalgia', but, in fact, stepping into the same sh*t is not morally proper for the 'homo' spieces, of course, if they consider themselves 'sapiens'. By the way, I didn't manage to stay there until the end. I went to the medical wing, and from there, I didn't return to the club.
Interesting observation: here, many people have all of a sudden become interested in Dostoyevsky. Very few people read books in general, and so, when, suddenly an inmate who didn't have a habit of reading at all, literally becomes immersed in a book, and of an author, who is a master of such a complex, psychological trend in literature - it's intriguing. I asked - what exactly prompted the interest in Dostoevsky? and in response I heard: he's like us, a prisoner.... (!) Oh, that's what it is about! A populist, opposing the tsarist regime, sentenced to death, later changed to 10 years' imprisonment, Fyodor Dostoevsky, who spent 'two five-year periods' in the Semipalatinsk region, almost two hundred years ago (!) for currently serving prisoners - is one of them. Well, it's good anyway. Reading books has never made anyone more ignorant than he already was; I advised them to read Dostoevsky's 'Notes from the Dead House', so that they could get to the most relevant topic; the book describes the 10 years of his imprisonment.
And again - hello! Only an hour ago I remembered the five-year plans, and I already have a reason to remember 'seksots' ['informants']. Many have heard this word in the meaning of 'the people who eavesdrop, peep, and then convey the information gleaned to the authorities'. The word is compound, and consists of the abbreviation of 2 words: 'sekretnyi' ['secret'] sotrudnik ['employee, agent']. We all come from the NKVD, the entire law enforcement psychology stems from it, and so does the word. Then it was used quite officially, in the reports, then, it became a common, yet negative symbol of denunciation. Especially because often, the 'whistleblowing' was a false accusation, contrived in order to pursue purely materialistic goals.
Now I would like to return from a historical perspective to our
days, in which little has changed, from this point of view. In less
than an hour after the return of all those who 'watched and
listened' to the message an activist who had been following me
closely, was seen and overheard explaining the reasons behind which
I had uttered the words 'Oh, that's what it is about!' in the club,
and reporting under what circumstances those words had left my
lips. That is, he was describing exactly what has been mentioned
above, the issue of 2050-2014 = 35, etc.
The local elite will never become accustomed to the fact that I do not need to hide, to conceal my attitude towards the things I see, I know, because there is nothing illegal in this; it is easier to approach me and ask, rather than pretend to be a 'seksot'...
20 January, 2014. This morning, our whole division (we were excused from classes at school, from fire protection-technical laboratory, from work - from everything) was led to the club again to heed the Message. Here I write about that, and I have ambiguous feelings. We marched there, sat there quietly for several hours (and then I asked a few persons, but no one understood anything), and then marched back. It was snowing outside, it could almost be described as a blizzard, and the Message was all about 'milk and honey'. By the way, I was listening to it for the second time, I wanted to hear something about the assessment of the present situation, but, apart from the praise of Nazarbayev's University and the mention of some achievements (in general) and errors (in general as well), nothing else was mentioned. Everything was about the fact that 'we should' and when saying this, the First President and the Leader of the Nation somehow never really smiled, and when they showed the room - people's faces appeared terrified, some were nodding slightly, some weakly, but frequently applauding, but in general - one could sense a strange air of tension among the spectators. And sometimes the president was carried away by some 'frustrated' tone, and then, immediately the angle of shot changed, showing bent, gray-haired heads, a hand holding a pen and a notebook, and they scribble something quickly, striving to capture the words of the First President and the Leader of the Nation, as though the text of the speech were not be repeatedly published, disseminated in writing, sound and image... Mice, the Gray, The other side of the Looking Glass.
It transpired that prisoners had been waiting for the moment when the Message would address 'their issues', just like that. In the past message, there was a paragraph about humanisation, but in this one, no such issues were mentioned, not even regarding human rights, or humanity, nothing at all. Apparently, everything is OK with us in this matter, and if they say that it is not so, they are lying, of course, out of envy... And it's most likely not us who want to join 'their ranks', but rather it's them who want to join ours, if everything is the way it was described in the Message. Our authorities live by that same rule: the more our government is told what to do, the more it tells the people, "the source of power", in which direction THEY should go... And the people (the source of power) stay on the indicated path.
The penal colony ЕС 164/3, Vladimir Kozlov