By way of consolation here's a partial translation of Yuri Rost's article on the 15th anniversary of Sakharov's death in this week's Novaya Gazeta. It's not much of a consolation, really.
Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov walked out onto our playing field, full of bumps, holes, and fences as it was, with his own ideas about the nature and rules of the game. He wanted precision and fairness.
He lived according to his lot: without fear or pride. Having created the H bomb -- which he never regretted, believing nuclear parity to be a condition for peace at the time -- he gradually came to the conclusion that he was becoming an instrument for propping up a regime filled with agression and cruelty towards its own people. And having arrived at that realization, he proposed to his country to set aside its man-eating ideology and join the civilized world. But the country didn't take up his proposal.
Having lost his freedom, Sakharov continued to defend ours. He never thought of himself as a hero or a fighter. For him it was the natural lifestyle: to do what his conscience bid him and to say what his country was afraid to think about. The quiet voice couldn't reach the crowd of players merged with the spectators and umpires.
The game had gone on too long to remember the rules.
But Sakharov didn't think so. In his slightly short pants, with a slim file under his arm, he went against the circumstances we accepted, and the circumstances parted ranks and receded. And let him have his way.
The quiet words he spoke were unsettling to many. For all that went on, his presence made one uncomfortable about picking up the ball without scoring a goal and running with it to the middle of the field.
It made one uncomfortable about lying. And about putting one's principles on the market, where there were any principles.
Now it's only the recollection that brings discomfort.
With the loss of Sakharov we gained freedom of conscience. It is now free to visit and leave us as we please.
Zaigrannaya zhizn': "The rules were broken too many times to be heeded"?
After a moment of thought, that may be a bit closer to the original. Not very close, though.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Michael Subotin (Another Misha) has left this comment to the entry in which I'm whining about not having it in me to focus on Beslan for too long... Thanks so much again, Another Misha, for sharing another wonderful translation...