Watch again: Open Estonia Foundation discussion with Mikhail Shishkin

Noted Russian dissident writer Mikhail Shishkin gave a talk Thursday, May 25, taking stock of the current regime, the brutality in Ukraine and what hope for the future his country may have in embracing modern and democratic values.

The talk can be re-watched by clicking on the video player above.

The Open Estonia Foundation event was entitled "What Will Happen with Russia and Who Will Carry the Responsibility? An Evening of Discussion with Writer Mikhail Shishkin," and is part of the "Voices of Freedom" series.

Is it possible for Russia to break out from the vicious cycle of dictatorship and "slave mentality", and start embracing European values? This and many other questions were addressed by Shishkin, together with journalist Hans H. Luik of Ekspress Grupp.

The discussion took place in Russian, but with a simultaneous translation into English.

The agenda began with a short welcome address from Mall Hellam, Executive Director of the Open Estonia Foundation.

Mikhail Shishkin was also visiting Tallinn for the literary festival HeadRead.

Born in 1961, Mikhail Shishkin one of the most eminent Russian writers of our age, and an indispensable figure on the world literary stage, event organizers say, and his reputation remains strong in Estonia.

While the only writer to have bagged all the most important and prestigious Russia´s literary award, he has been living in exile in Switzerland for 18 years, and was an ardent opponent of the Putin regime even before the current invasion of Ukraine.

He notes with poignancy how the thuggish regime there negates all of the cultural achievements made by the Russian people.

His book, "War or Peace", notes in its English translation that: "For the foreseeable future, Russia will be associated not with Russian music and literature, but with bombs dropping on children and those terrible images from Bucha. Moreover, the regime's criminal actions taint the whole of the country. Monstrous crimes have been committed in the name of my people, my country, in my name. But there is another Russia.

"That other Russia is suffering pain and anguish. In the name of my Russia, in the name of my people, I would like to ask the Ukrainians for forgiveness – but I know that what has been happening in Ukraine is unforgivable…..Putin will disappear, but the desires he has projected will not vanish into thin air with him. The actor who has played all these Putins on the world stage has failed in every regard. The role is now waiting to be filled by someone else."

The discussion can be watched again via the video player above, or through the YouTube link here.

The Open Estonia Foundation is a non-governmental foundation, which aim is to promote the values of open society and democracy. "Voices of Freedom" is a discussion series which analyzes international situation from the perspective of well-known civic activists, thinkers, opinion leaders and human rights activists.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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