Open LetterSasha Skochilenko
On May 17, you witnessed another part of my Detention in Jail performance which was called An Appeal Hearing That Doesn’t Mean Anything. The performance is about the freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and fight for peace. Today, actions with this message are prohibited and are practically impossible on a public platform in Russia. Any actions except mine!
You see, my action is not only absolutely legal but has been taking place for over a month with full support and total funding from state institutions. Prosecutors, investigators, judges, jail employees—all of them are assistants and extras in the show! And the harsher is the cruelty of the state repression apparatus that is trying to crush me, the more successful and efficient my performance is; the louder and clearer my pleas for PEACE sound.
The freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and PEACE, to my mind, are invaluable, and I'm not afraid to pay for them with some ten years in prison. Even ten years will be a small price for the chance to express my opinion peacefully and without arms. Our ancestors on the Senate Square [who organized the Decemberist Revolt] paid a higher one for their ideas.
The state apparatus personified by investigators Proskuryakovs and Sinitsyns, and some anonymous high-profile officials who are “handing the orders down”, thinks that they’re locking me up for ten years to make an example of me, to show how dangerous, criminal, and wrong it is to express your opinion—but it’s not true. It is me who through my creative will is acting out the performance titled Detention in Jail, in order to prove that even jail and prison are not the end. There is life, and light, and hope here. The whole of Russia resembles a prison now, and we need to understand how to live with that.
The repressive state apparatus is not forever—but love is! I’m telling you, “Love is stronger than anything in the world!” I’ve got to see for myself that it can pass through the bars, barbed wires, and impregnable concrete walls.