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Vladimir Bukovsky’s Hunger Strike–Against A Persecuting BRITISH Government
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I have occasionally—here, for example—mentioned Vladimir Bukovsky, the late-Soviet dissident who won my admiration with his 1978 book To Build a Castle: My Life As a Dissenter.

Bukovsky isn’t just one of the Awkward Squad; he’s an entire Awkward Battalion just by himself. The Soviet authorities of the 1960s and 1970s confined him in labor camps and psychiatric wards not because he promoted any ideological or religious agenda, but simply because he would not stop saying out loud that the communist emperor had no clothes.

As soon as he was released from one term of imprisonment, Bukovsky would seek out other dissidents and just start speaking, and writing, and demonstrating all over again to point out the emperor’s nakedness … soon leading, of course, to another arrest.

He’s a guy who just kept insisting that two plus two equals four, even though all the authorities of his society insisted that the correct answer is five.

Eventually, in 1976, the Soviets just deported him. Bukovsky has lived in England ever since. He has maintained his Russian citizenship, though, and actually stood against Putin in the 2008 presidential election.

As a group (not sure of the proper collective noun here: a “shrinkage”?) of psychiatrists wrote to the London Times in 1971:

We … especially hope that the Soviet government will reconsider the case of Vladimir Bukovsky, who acted with courage in making his appeal and who appears to have suffered in consequence. The information we have about him suggests that he is the sort of person who might be embarrassing to authorities in any country because he seems unwilling to compromise for convenience and personal comfort, and believes in saying what he thinks in situations which he clearly knows could endanger him. But such people often have much to contribute, and deserve considerable respect. [Materials concerning the forthcoming International Congress of Psychiatrists by Prof. F.A. Jenner and 43 others; Times, September 16 1971.]

In recent years Bukovsky has agitated against Putin’s authoritarianism, against the European Union, which he sees as a “soft U.S.S.R.” under construction, and on behalf of the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP).

Well, Bukovsky was a friend of Alexander Litvinenko, a former agent of the post-Soviet Russian security services who fled to England in 2000 with Putin’s agents on his heels. Litvinenko died in 2006 after drinking tea laced with a rare and highly poisonous radioactive substance.

Last year, after much pressure, the U.K. authorities launched a formal inquiry into Litvinenko’s death. The inquiry concluded that it had been an operation by Putin’s security services, probably ordered by Putin himself.

Bukovsky testified to that inquiry. Shortly—suspiciously shortly—after he did so, British police, acting on a tipoff, charged Bukovsky with having child pornography on his laptop computer.

Bukovsky not only denied the charges, he filed suit against the Crown Prosecution Service for libeling him. He believes the child-porn images were planted on his computer by Russian government hackers. It’s easily done.

Bukovsky goes to trial on the child-porn charges next week. Meanwhile, his libel case against the authorities keeps getting postponed. He is seriously ill; probably the U.K. authorities are hoping he will die before he can embarrass them in civil court.

This may well happen. Bukovsky has started a hunger strike. Given his current state of health, this may see him off. His friends have tried to dissuade him from the hunger strike, but Bukovsky is as awkward as ever:

“Successive Russian governments, including doubtless this one have wanted you dead,” his publisher, David Campbell, wrote in an email. “Why are you risking your life … and thus giving the Kremlin this satisfaction?”

Bukovsky, however, is unmoved. He said he was not in any hurry to die but was prepared to do so if his demand for justice wasn’t met.

“Most of my friends have been in jail at some point and on hunger strike. They treat it normally, without any undue emotional reactions,” he said …


Of death, he said: “I’m not afraid of it. How can you be afraid of something inevitable? It isn’t a senseless death. It’s a purposeful death. I’m an old man anyway.” [Vladimir Bukovsky: ‘I’m on hunger strike for the British public’ by Luke Harding; The Guardian, April 29th 2006.]

Claire Berlinski has just done a good summary of the Bukovsky case over at National Review Online. The Guardian story I just linked to seems a fair account.

However, the U.K. press is somewhat restrained by legal considerations. Bukovsky’s friends and admirers, who are legion, are hoping to stir up coverage in the press and on the internet abroad.

There are two petitions you can sign, one to the Ministry of Justice, the other to the House of Commons (i.e. to the politicians supervising that ministry in their parliamentary capacity).

I don’t know Vladimir Bukovsky personally. I have read his 1978 book and some scattered articles he’s written, and observed the loyalty of his friends and supporters in this case. I have also followed events in Russia, as an ordinary reader of news (and one-time visitor) across the Putin era—this past couple of decades. That this current prosecution of Bukovsky is a frame-up by the Russian authorities seems to me very plausible.

Even setting that aside, though, there is an anarcho-tyranny angle here that is sufficiently deplorable in itself. Why should it be a crime to have child porn on your computer? (Note that the item on the charge sheet about Bukovsky “making” child-porn images is bogus. As Claire Berlinski explains, under U.K. law just downloading images counts as “making” them.)

Enjoying child porn is weird and creepy to be sure. I cleave, however, to the old principle that you can’t go to jail for what you’re thinking. In the Western world of today, as the waters of totalitarian conformity rise all around us, that point of view seems positively quaint.

From one member of the Awkward Squad to another, I offer Vladimir Bukovsky my best wishes. Now I shall go and sign those petitions.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Britain, Political Correctness 
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  1. 5371 says:

    To really believe that Her Majesty’s current Government would be framing someone at the behest of Bad Vlad Pootin, you’d have to be madder than Bukovsky himself. No, the likelier supposition must be that he’s a paedo as well as a traitor.

    • Agree: Andrei Martyanov, Glossy
    • Replies: @Unz Reader
  2. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    “Why should it be a crime to have child porn on your computer?”

    It will encourage creation of more.

    While I agree that downloading stuff isn’t same as making it, sharing illegal stuff is a crime too.

    Suppose I steal a copy of new star wars movie yet to be released in theater. Suppose I allow someone to download it and share it.
    Even if that person didn’t steal the copy — I stole it — , he is taking part in spreading stole material.

    This child porn thing, if allowed, may become popular among pervs all over, and then, it might encourage to make of that stuff to share it with.

    Look how the homo stuff spread. Once homo-ness was made legal, it spread and spread and now we have entire cities celebrating that stuff in massive parades.

  3. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    It could be Bukovsky is crazy. But in a crazy society, only the crazy have the guts to speak truth to craziness. Most non-crazy people prefer to get along and conform, even when the system is crazy. Look at the US. This homomania stuff is crazy. But most normal people just go along with it.
    It is the naturally crazier sort of people(unlike the very sane yours truly) who stand up to denounce it.

    So, crazy have reckless courage in a crazy system, whereas normal people do not.
    But when society becomes normal and sane, the courageous-crazy still remain crazy and must seek out new things to obsess about.

    And I think Bukovsky is that kind of crazy. Suppose the entire world were to become totally sane. He would feel a need to be angry about something he is naturally crazy.

    It’s like Klaus Kinski in DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. He is sort of crazy… but it’s his craziness that gives him the courage to speak out whereas the saner folks just go along.

  4. ‘ He is seriously ill; probably the U.K. authorities are hoping he will die before he can embarrass them in civil court…’

    Well if he does die his UK trial will end, but his Russian trial can get underway, no?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  5. Cui bono? What is the upside to Putin and Russia to frame a critic of the EU and supporter of BREXIT?

    • Replies: @jtgw
  6. jtgw says: • Website
    @The Alarmist

    I think Bukovsky’s anti-Putinism ranks rather higher in Putin’s concerns than his support of Brexit. Does Putin even support Brexit? I can’t imagine he cares that much.

  7. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    What a surreal world we are living in.

    A moo invader into UK who is for the destruction of UK as a white nation speaks in defense of Great Britain as a nation brought low by the Joos.

    But then, France has Diedonne.

    I guess with all this Holocaust Guilt, white folks have to outsource ‘anti-semitism’ to the darkies. Darkies come invading and mess up Europe, but they now play the role of ‘Nazis’ going after Joos.

    But then… the rising star of the Right in America is a blonde Jew Milo whose passion is to take a gallon of Negro cum up his arse.

    Globalism turns everything into trans-trash.

    • Replies: @5371
  8. 5371 says:
    @Priss Factor

    Until he transitions, and to me even after he does so, Milo will be blond not blonde.

  9. Reminder that boy fiddlin’ isn’t just a kebab perversion, it’s also a proud tradition of the British upper class, so please bear in mind that this is part of Derbyshire’s culture and that we should look at it with tolerance and understanding.

    • Replies: @5371
  10. 5371 says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    As John Derbyshire himself points out every couple of weeks, he is not a member of the English upper class.

  11. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:


    Bukovsky’s is not on trial in Russia…

  12. @5371

    I believe that if you are in the cross hairs of any big government, including that of the United States, you had better disconnect your computer or child porn is likely to be downloaded into some obscurely hidden directory of your computer — and then the FBI (or the equivalent in other countries) will come knocking on your door. I’ve heard a claim (I can’t verify it) that the FBI can go one better. Not only can they download child porn onto your machine, they can download a piece of software that causes your computer to upload that porn onto other machines. Then they can nail you for distribution of child porn. Neat, huh? Welcome to America.

  13. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    How do we know it was Russian government hackers? Maybe it was the British or Americans who’ve decided he was a nuisance that needed to be shut up. We don’t know for sure. I guess he’s discovered the British government is capable of persecuting it’s citizens also.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  14. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website

    the British government is capable of persecuting it’s citizens also.

    Yeah, good catch–pedophiles should be in jail, preferably with general population and then let God sort it out.

  15. It may be that Bukovsky is innocent of the charges.
    However, his behaviour since being charged is suspicious to say the least. His initiation of libel proceedings and his desire to have them concluded before the criminal trial is not so much unusual as unheard of within the jurisdiction of England and Wales.
    The difference between now and 5 years ago is that establishment figures then ( Jimmy Saville, Cyril Smith etc ) could have their sex crimes go ignored and unpunished and their persons shielded by the establishment.
    Now, even arch Anglo-Zionist Greville Janner would have been tried, had he not died first.
    It may be Bukovsky is no longer being protected by the political establishment.

    • Replies: @5371
  16. 5371 says:

    But everyone had to apologise for suggesting that Janner’s great and good co-religionist Leon Brittan might ever have diddled any kiddies, although he too had the prudence to die anyway.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  17. @5371

    This is the problem. If you are Home Secretary when the intelligence services are shielding various establishment figures ( often without your knowledge ), it is assumed that you are doing so because you are a sex criminal yourself, CF Gordon Brown, sometime British PM

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