Last night, was the award ceremony for the Nika, the Russian Oscar.
Among the recipients, was filmmaker Vitaly Mansky, and he gave a hell of a speech
My translation: "You know, people keep asking me about North Korea... [Because he had traveled there not too long ago] Is it really bad there? Is it much better here, in Russia? Well, I tell you, we re not North Korea, no. They simply, at this point, inherit their screwed up country, they have no choice, they cannot change it. We had a choice. But we are worse than North Korea. We chose to shit out country away, and flush it down the toilet."
Much applause there, at the end, plenty of people agree with him. I give a bit shortened version. But, basically, that is what he said. The bit about shitting the country away is word per word.
Then, Yuli Gusman, another famous Russian director, who is hosting the whole show, remarks that "Well, now we might get cut from all the federal channels, thanks for that, Vitaly Vsevolodovich..."
It was half a joke, but, in fact, Mansky's bit WAS cut out of the Nika ceremony broadcast on Russian TV. Most regular folks back there who rely on their TV for information never did get to see this.
They also cut out the speech by Alexander Sokurov, another director, who expressed solidarity with the anti-corruption protesters and urged the government to "listen to our youth"" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbMbhccTI-8
But Mansky's words really got to me. He is talking, there, not about regular Russians. No. He addressing his audience, there, at the Nikas. The directors, producers, actors, writers, Russia's own Hollywood. The creative elite. The intelligentsia. Those who had, in their own ways, defied Communist censorship in the Soviet era, yet chose to, for the most part, bow down to Putin since 1999... Some old folks in that room WERE around in the Soviet era. They were those that struggled back then, for artistic freedom, and, ultimately, the freedom of the people itself. But, today, many of those same elders admonish people like Lansky, that "Politics has no place at the Nikas". Greed, selfishness (care about own social and political position and financial profit; no care about regular Russians and their well-being), apathy, and outright cowardice reign today in Moscow...
That is what Mansky was condemning. Not that it matters, at this point. He is wrong about one thing: by now, it is like North Korea. I don't believe anything can change anymore... Mansky probably will face consequences for his words too. I am sure the folks he spat upon from the stage there will find ways to get back at him, as will the government. But, at some point, someone needed to stand up and say what had to be said. I am glad he found the courage in himself....