For those days after the torture there was a lot of informal communication. I had to listen to about ten people, most of whom, I assume, were operational officers of the FSB. I was not the initiator of these conversations, and some of them did happen without my involvement at all – the officers talked between themselves. Dialogues with me had a strange structure: they asked me a question, I gave a banal monosyllabic answer (if I did not give it, they persuaded me “Come one, I’m just asking, not for the record” – I don’t understand, what does the “record” has do to with it, questions never touched something like this), but they weren’t interested in my answer, they wanted to give an answer to their questions themselves. They wanted to speak out. Why to me? I don’t know, maybe they saw me as their political opposition. No, they didn’t need criticism, but rather they tried to convince themselves that they were right. Perhaps, there happen to be internal conflicts and it’s necessary to organize a telephone support line for the FSB. But the contents of such confessions may be shocking.
Many told about the power of Russia at the moment, on the eve of the elections and the World Cup: “You’ve chosen the wrong time! Russia is strong now! It’s not that 17th year! (meaning the 1917 – Rupression) ». I was convinced in the fact that the cycle is not 100 years, but about 80, by myself. To the sorrow of the NOD members (pro-Putin movement – Rupression), there was nothing about external threats. Neither about America, nor about foreign agents.
Discussion of my business trip to Kiev went after threats to my wife. It ended with the phrase: “Yes, it’s a pity that the SBU lost …”. I still don’t understand if this was a joke. But the Syrian campaign, according to FSBs, was a portal to a better world. They talked about their acquainted military pilot who was in Syria “just one day” right before his week vacation – and has already become a veteran. This title gave some unprecedented, almost magical pros.
About the supporters of Maltsev FSB officers spoke of both “loonies” and “children”, they certainly don’t represent any threat. They say that they detained 100-150 youngsters on the way to Moscow, supposedly ready to use cocktails with incendiary compounds. About Navalny and people he “led out” the FSB officers responded as a minority, led by the “leader”. That why they are also not dangerous.
From time to time they talked about the majority – about the people. I didn’t think that one day a representative of the authorities would tell me this: “The people? These beggars? The poor doesn’t understand anything. They’re uneducated. Only the middle class understands something.” In an attempt to probe this “class” border, I’ve voiced the average salary in St. Petersburg – 50 thousand rubles, to which they said something like: “50 thousand? What you can do with 50 thousand rubles? Rent an apartment and buy food? “. Nevertheless, they had drawn the line of the middle class: “All these poor people only think about what they need to eat. If they go out in the street, it’s because they didn’t get paid at the factory and they have absolutely nothing to eat. And they will leave at once, as soon as they get food. Only the middle class understands something, and they get from 150 rubles “. Then, the FSB officer talked about that people with such salary “live in chocolate,” and they are satisfied with everything. They took me to this very middle class.
I didn’t ask about the reasons why people are poor, uneducated and who is responsible for that. If there is democracy in this country, then they don’t believe in it. In conversations among themselves, as in a conversation with the concierge, the national question was sharply raised: “Is he Russian?”. According to the stories, FSB officers didn’t like to torture Russian people, but often they had to do it – and this caused them vexation. When it came to antifascists, they were interested in veganism: “Is he vegan? Are you vegan? I mean, you are normal, right? “.
They also talked about the CAE (Center Against Extremism – Rupression). One FSB officer confined himself with a few careless phrases about the intellectual abilities and usefulness of the “E” Center staff. The second reasoned more fully:
“So, the child porn is immoral, isn’t it?” And it’s a crime. That’s the reason why they are been imprisoned – those who are posting it in the VK (“Vkontakte”, Russian social web – Rupression ). And what about swastika? Well, it’s not worth imprisoning or punishing for that. But there is a law about swastikas! So it is necessary to send people to jail for that. It’s difficult and messy to look for the Nazis, when there are lots of swastikas in VK. These people are getting imprisoned. It’s necessary that the CAE does something. But there are no cases. After all, they also have to report about their work.
In the status of FSB officers there was a kind of dichotomy: certainly they associated themselves with a strong state, but at the same time, in their own “class” assessment, they were below the middle class and could not influence politics. The fact that they were just an instrument in someone’s hands makes them yearn. You can feel it in their conversations between themselves. At the same time, they were patriots – patriots of the authorities, not the state.
“So how many investigative actions for today did Snezhok * prepare for us? – Five. – Wow.”
On January 29, scrolling through photos of a certain lady on his smartphone (he carried the phone to the investigating room, violating the rules), the FSB officer lapped to the photo of the current Russian President Vladimir Putin on a black background with some inscriptions. Noticing that I’m trying to peer into the photo, he glanced at the screen and hurried to scroll it back: “Oh, that’s not what I need.”
There was an impression that politically they were not very literate – they tried to ascribe me to both Maltsev and Ukrainian nationalists.
“What did you do on November the 5th?”
– Gathering stuff in a backpack!
– And why did you suddenly decided to fly away on the fifth?
– I flew with the development team to Cyprus on a holiday! It was a vacation! We planned it in the summer!
– Bullshit! – And they continued to torture me.
– And what did you do in Kiev? – they asked.
– Do you know such people – they are called “atos”, – another voice asked. And non-stop electric shocks… They couldn’t believe in the fact, that I could be on vacation with my beloved wife. In their opinion, I – “antifa” – simply have to be an ardent racist and a nationalist. Well, at least they remember my name.
I was also convinced in the miraculousness of the “ID” of the FSB officer. It opens all doors (literally and figuratively), it’s like cheat code to our world. The police don’t ask questions and are ready to follow your orders. Doctors are ready to quit business and rush to the rescue. Also, there is no need to have documents for the car – yes, the driver doesn’t have documents for the “Priora”, in which I was taken. This fact didn’t cause him anything but jokes. To be sure, you don’t even need to bring the documents to the court to which the investigation refers, as it was done with the report of Bondarev K. A. If the judge is being resentful (after the decision has been made), then the documents can be sent later by fax.
Promises to keep in secret some of the words of the FSB officers, said in private conversations, I’ll keep, I’m honored. Leave the service, confess to crimes, and be brought to justice.
Has the fashion for extremism passed? Now there is a new way to shut down activists, not one by one, but by crowds. In addition, “we caught dangerous terrorists” sounds even more proud.
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