Russia’s internet censor threatens to block philosophy site over anti-war poem

The Russian Army. Photo: social networks.

The Russian Army. Photo: social networks.  

2016/07/01 • News, Russia

Article by: Alya Shandra

Yakov Krotov, the owner of krotov.info, a multilingual popular online library of philosophical, theological, religious, culturological, and other texts, has received a notice from Roskomnadzor that he should remove an anti-war poem from the site, if he doesn’t want it to be blocked.

The poem was classified as “information prohibited for public distribution in the Russian Federation,” according to a notice that he received from Roskomnadzor. Officially titled “Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications,” Roskomnadzor is informally known as Russia’s organ for internet censorship. 

If Krotov fails to delete the poem, the site will be listed in a database of prohibited sites. According to Meduza, network operators are supposed to download this database two times a day, at 9 a.m. and at 9 p.m. Then the operators have to block the web pages, so that their clients can’t access them.

The poem, written in 2008, laments Russia’s involvement in military aggression against its neighbors in its history. The author questions whether Russians want war, and suggests asking the mothers receiving their sons in zinc coffins, and citizens of Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Finland, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Hungary, and Georgia for the answer to the question. It recommends asking “fraternal Ukraine” why they seek NATO protection from the “firm hands of their big brother.”

The poem was translated toEnglish for Euromaidan Press by Steve Komarnyckyj. You can read it, and the Russian original, below.

ANONYMOUS SATIRE, 2008

Do they want war, the Russians?
Oh, do not ask of the silence.
Oh, do not ask the soldiers who fell
Their names on memorials.

Do they want war, the Russians?
Oh, do not ask of the silence.
Oh, do not ask the soldiers who fell
Their names on memorials.

Ask of those zinc coffins
In which they bear young sons,
From neighbouring lands’ soil.
Ask the old women as their tears fall.

Ask the brave lads sitting
Pretty in the Kremlin
Stars sewn to epaulettes
The cudgel “peacefully” flourished.

As Poland and Lithuania,
Oh, they dream of Russia,
Ask the Prague Spring whether
The Russians want war?

Ask the Hungarians where once
Russian troops sat on tanks
Carved up Budapest,
And “Accustomed” them to peace.

The old Finn will reply,
Having survived much and gone grey
How “peacefully” the Russian shunted
The winter and snow aside.

The Belarussians have something to say
Descendants of Lithuania’s grand duchy,
Who paid such a horrific price
For the gift of Moscow’s fraternal embrace.

When Suvorov’s horde burned
Villages and cities to the ground
Ask, oh ask Kuropat, where they rebelled
And are laid, their revolt quelled

Oh ask that fraternal Ukraine who received Such assurances of Slavic love,
From the firm hands of their big brother,
Why they seek protection from NATO?
Oh, ask all the Western Slavs – How Ivan taught them peace.

That peace loving soldier Ivan,
Bombs Kabul and Afghanistan,
And bought calamity, not peace,
Upon their villages and cities

Oh, ask the widows and children of Chechnya –
Whether the Russians want War?
Just who is the Russian “peacekeeper”
The proud denizens of the mountains will answer

Those Georgians, smiling always,
And keeping silent about the tears
Caused by their so peaceful neighbour
While their land burns right now.

Do the Russians want war?
Could you find one neighbour,
From China to Lithuania
Who might firmly answer “No!”

АНОНИМНАЯ САТИРА, 2008

Хотят ли русские войны?
Не спрашивай у тишины,
Не спрашивай у тех солдат,
В мемориалах, что лежат.

Спроси у цинковых гробов,
В которых молодых сынов
С земель соседских привозили
Старухам, чтоб те слезы лили.

Спроси у бравых тех ребят
В Кремле которые сидят,
К погонам звезды пришивая,
Дубиной «мирною» махая.

Спроси у Польши и Литвы-
Им о России снятся сны.
Спроси у пражской у весны, –
Хотят ли русские войны?

Спроси у венгров, как когда-то
На танках русские солдаты,
По Будапешту рассекали,
Вугорцев к миру «приучали».

Тебе ответит старый финн,
Проживший много – до седин,
Как «мирно» русские войска
Рвались сквозь зиму и снега.

Есть что сказать и белорусу,
Тому, чьи предки из литвин,
Какою жуткою ценою
Им  братство подарил москвин.

Когда Суворова орда
Палила села, города…
Спроси, спроси у Куропат-
Там непокорные лежат.

Спроси – что Украине братской,
Заверенной в любви славянской,
Из цепких рук большого брата,
Зачем защит искать у НАТО?

Спроси всех западных славян, –
Как миру их учил Иван…

Миролюбив солдат-Иван
Бомбил Кабул, Афганистан.
В их кишлаки и города
Не мир пришел – пришла беда.

Спроси у вдов, детей Чечни, –
Хотят ли русские войны?
Кто он, русский «миротворец»,
Тебе ответит гордый горец.

Грузин, улыбчивый всегда,
Сквозь слезы просто промолчит.
От миролюбия соседа
Сейчас его земля горит.

ХОТЯТ ЛИ РУССКИЕ ВОЙНЫ?
И от Китая до Литвы
Найдется ль хоть один сосед,
Который твердо скажет, – «НЕТ!»?

In the last years, Roskomnadzor issued warnings, blacklisted sites, and shut down social media pages over “illicit content” for reporting or promoting protest actions, the latest being a march “for the federalization of Siberia” and a rally organized by opposition activist Alexey Navalny. Roskomnadzor has also issued warnings to websites for reposting  religious caricatures from the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, and threatened to block Buzzfeed in Russia for publishing a video featuring militants attacking the city of Grozny in Russia’s North Caucasus region. The video was taken down.

Translated by: Steve Komarnyckyj

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