Bernard-Henri Lévy, A Sunday Morning in Paris, with Mikhail Khodorkovsky - The Rules of the Game - Literature, Philosophy, Politics, Arts

"It's a great honor to welcome you," begins André Glucksmann who, with Fanfan, his wife, is hosting this meeting... Putin's iron mask, his most famous and enigmatic prisoner of conscience. My pleasure. You can't imagine the comfort it is, when you're in the depths of hell, going on hunger strikes, to know that there are French intellectuals over there, very far away, who don't forget you, who support you…” He doesn't look like a man who's been through hell. The complexion is fresh. The look, youthful. With his thick, close-cropped hair, his jeans, his big walking shoes, he looks like a mountaineer just back from a hike. I resume. “You know the question that everyone asked themselves, in December, when Putin freed you and you appeared, in Berlin, so strangely moderate, so cautious. Myself… – Yes. I read your article. And I will gladly answer you. It's true that I had a deal with Putin. But…” We look at each other, with André, taken aback. “But the deal expires in August! »

Then, in front of our air, this time, downright amazed:

"Why August?" Because that's the date he should have released me anyway. So the commitment not to do politics and to take care of my children only applies during these months of anticipated freedom. After…” His gaze wanders off. I think I read a shade of dread or, in any case, concern. It is as if, suddenly, he was talking to himself. “This regime, in principle, never attacks the little ones. But afterwards, when they grow up…” The sentence remains in abeyance. By mutual, tacit agreement, André and I choose to change the subject: what policy, next? party leader? consciousness of the opposition? how does he see himself? “No. I have already publicly said no. I will not do direct politics. But beware ! He raises his finger – addressing Galia Ackerman, our mutual friend, as if seeking her assent. “There is another battle, prior to any other, and where, for once, I have the intention to get involved: that of the emergence of a democratic consciousness in Russia. Because I ask you the question: how many democrats do you estimate in the country? "We are talking about the very many demonstrators who have just marched, in the middle of Moscow, to denounce Putin's crimes in Ukraine. "Okay. But take the most radical of them. Discuss with him this regime which we all agree is a dictatorship obeying the good pleasure of a man. There will always be a moment when he will say to you: OK, OK, but who instead of Putin? Fanfan interrupts him. “Yourself… You have been loaned strange things about Chechnya…– Not loaned, true. I really held them. I said that I was ready to fight for the North Caucasus, that is our land. “Fanfan’s cold anger.” At the risk of giving Putin a discharge from what will remain as one of his most unforgivable crimes and, in any case, the most massive? "And he, no more embarrassed than that, launches into a hazy development from which it emerges that he has, in his first life, then in the second, that of the goulagized, known to lots of Chechen crooks, chicken thieves , etc., which gave him a very nasty idea of ​​their cause. It's my turn to interrupt him. "What?" You, the new Sakharov… This example of resistance and courage… How can you stoop to such considerations? He nods. Air of the man who will not upset us, but whom we will not change our minds. And we move on to Ukraine, where he is returning from, where he is leaving again and where there is talk of us returning together: Putin's intentions, this Sunday morning in March, are not yet very clear and many are those who think he will stop at the Crimea. “You have met, I tell him, all the presidential candidates. Which do you think is best equipped to block a Putinian Anschluss? He skews again. Or perhaps, on the contrary, he goes straight to the point. "The real plan of the Kremlin is to prevent the election or, if it cannot prevent it, to discredit it, pointing out or fabricating irregularities, corrupting it. And faced with that…” He sketches a mischievous smile. “The only answer, faced with that, is that all the candidates are indeed irreproachable. And, for them to be, the one and only way is… I hesitate to tell you… I don't know if it is, for you, French, politically very correct…” And, as André the press: “My proposal is to put the candidates and, beyond the candidates, the powerful under surveillance. All. I know what I mean. I have done stupid things in my life as a great oligarch! Well, if I had been under surveillance, if I had had, with everyone's knowledge, and of my own free will, the FBI on the coattails, or any other agency of the same barrel, I would have done more. attention, my destiny would have been changed and perhaps, who knows, that of Russia. The smile turns into a big laugh. This will be his last word.

Themes André Glucksmann Bernard Henri Lévy French intellectual Mikhail Khodorkovsky Paris Putin Russia

Bernard-Henri Lévy, A Sunday Morning , in Paris, with Mikhail Khodorkovsky - The Rules of the Game - Literature, Philosophy, Politics, Arts

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