Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

33.

is conveniently swept under the rug.

The body of Feodor Chaliapin, the great opera singer who died in 1938

in Paris, was returned in the Fall of 1984 from a grave in Paris for reburial in Moscow. The event was greated with an outpouring of sentiment for the Russian diaspora and ties to the Motherland. Old friends appeared on television to report that the singer, who left the Soviet Union in 1927 and had become a French national, never knew a happy moment abroad, talking about "toska", the Russian word for melancholy, a longing (102).

LITERATURNAYA GAZETA in its January 7 issue of this year (1987) published an obituary in memory of Andrei Tarkovsky, the well known movie director who died at the end of December 1986 in a Paris hospital. "His creative work," wrote the Soviet weekly, "flourished on his native soil. [...] In recent

years a difficult, critical time for him - Andrey Tarkovsky lived and worked outside the Motherland, a fact which had to be viewed with grief and regret. It was impossible to agree with this or to become reconciled to it (103)."

Of course, it should be mentioned that there is nothing wrong to love and long for the Motherland, but this noble feeling has been used, misused and monopolized by the communist state for its own reinforcement and to give

itself an aura of legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens who can be more easily mobilized.

IV.

THE MAGNANIMOUS MOTHERLAND AND THE ERRING INDIVIDUAL.

34.

Although art. 13,2 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights stipulates that "everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to it", this basic human right so evident to citizens of free world countries is not compatible with the notion of the 'All-Mighty Motherland' as held up in most Soviet bloc countries.

As previously stated, the Motherland-State decides not only who may or will leave the country, it possesses the full power to determine for whom return will be possible if at all. Moreover, it should be clear by now that an honorable citizen never leaves his homeland and does not betray his fatherland in which he has opportunities enough to make himself comprehensively useful (104).

Bearing this in mind, it is not surprsing to find stories in the Soviet bloc media mentioning that the authorities of Soviet bloc country X allowed citizen Y to return or that a petition requesting help for facilitating the return to the homeland was transmitted to the embassy in country Z.

LIKE SINNERS COMING BACK TO CHURCH

Of course, if the Motherland allows its former citizens who defected or emigrated, to return, it is because the former is magnanimous and is forgiving her erring sons and daughters. One cannot escape the comparison with the old biblical story of the Prodigal Son who returned home to his forgiving father after having squandered that part of the family fortune that was assigned to him. "I ask very much that my error be pardoned, that I be given an opportunity to return home" said one of the returning émigrés in November 1986 (105).

35.

In a recent "Declaration of Bulgarian Citizens Who Returned From Turkey" its authors acknowledged that they "had been met with understanding and compassion upon their return to Bulgaria (106)."

Svetlana Alliluyeva even went as far as to describe her own return and reception in biblical terms: "I was received with magnanimity and friendliness I did not expect. We were given a welcome comparable to that received by the biblical prodigal son." (107)

Another testimony reported in the morning edition of IZVESTYA of May 30, 1984 tells the story of Andrey Kovnatskiy, a former emplyee of one of the allunion associations of the USSR Foreign Trade Ministry who requested and obtained assistance from Aeroflot to return home. He wrote to the editorial board: "I felt the full effects of the tragedy of someone wrested away from everything most near and dear... and I am greatful to my homeland for the opportunity to return. Having been in the position of a refugee I have returned

...

to the Motherland and wish to say a big thank you to it for not abandoning even its most errant sons (108)."

ERROR AND RESPONSIBILITY

The causes or reasons for the original act of emigration or defection, as stated in the Soviet bloc media, are acknowledged by the perpetrator himself they upon his return as being a wrongful act; can vary widely from case to case. It usually ends up as a mixture of personal problems centering around immaturity, inexperience, selfishness at home or on the job with the ever present and unresistable pull of capitalist propaganda and lies. Furthermore, the notion of the "Omnipotent Motherland" implies in this context that the error of leaving

36.

the country, by emigration or through defection, is always attributed to and the responsibility of the individual citizen. Implicitly the message is not only "never to act against the omniscient Motherland" but also that she never errs, her citizens are the sinners. Indeed, one seldom finds a critical anal

ysis about the fact that the communist state bears the main responsibility for not letting its citizens leave their country and return to it, which is, as we know, a basic human right. Nor is it mentioned that many thousands of other Soviet bloc citizens who emigrated or defected, have had a successful integration in foreign societies.

Stalin's daughter explained her defection in India in 1967 by saying that "I did not intend to remain here [in India]. I hoped that I would be back home in a month's time. However in those years I paid tribute to the blind idealization of the so-called 'free world', which I had previously known by hearsay, a world totally unknown to my generation (109)."

Oleg Tumanov who until his return to the Soviet Union, was editor of the Russian service at Radio Liberty in Munich, explained his betrayal of the homeland as follows: "[...] If I tell you that I was about 20 years old at the time, that I wanted to take my destiny into my own hands; that there was perhaps a bit of selfishness in the act and a failure to realize the future consequences of such action

all of this played a part (110)."

The Soviet Union allowed Tumanov to return to the Motherland because of

1) his sincere repentance; 2) his voluntary acknowledgement of his fault; 3) his desire to expiate his guilt by taking part in the exposure of the activity of foreign ideological subversion centers and 4) the importance of the information he had supplied. Subsequently, a representation was sent to the Supreme Soviet for Tumanov's release from criminal responsibility through a pardon (111).

37.

It is interesting to note that Tumanov's defection and subsequent work at Radio Liberty was clearly considered as bringing about criminal responsibility: he was considered a criminal until the pardon issued by the Supreme Soviet. Furthermore, it is also obvious that a "pardoned return" is a luxury not granted to every redefector and seems to depend quite a lot on the desire to expiate through anti-Westem activities" and "the importance of the information supplied." And who knows what is in store for Tumanov once his desire to expiate and the supplied information will have dried up? [ See exhibit #3 for "the exposure by Oleg Tumanov of activities of foreign ideological subversion centers"]

Other more common citizens decided to stay in the West 'misled by propaganda broadcasts of the Liberty and VOA radio stations (112)." Still another Soviet émigré had growing problems on the job which led to immature actions thus preparing for him the most bitter fate that could ever befall a person, namely the loss of the Motherland. "From the first day on, I realized that I had made a fatal mistake" said Kovnatskiy (113).

A Bulgarian émigré returning from Turkey in the middle of 1986 said he emigrated in 1978 urged by "up-and-coming" relations and believing in delusive promises (114). A group of 200 Bulgarians returning in early 1987 were quoted as admitting their mistake of leaving their homes "under foreign influence and ill-intended propaganda. (115)"

A 1985 book review in PRAVDA got more specific in "unmasking the organizers and inspirers of sabotage and subversive actions against the USSR who cynically trample human rights and ruin people's lives." More precisely the review continues "Imperialism and Zionism, those very transatlantic and other services and gentlemen who cynically don the guise of philantropy, enticed them (émigrés]

« ÎnapoiContinuă »