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The Russia concentration camp and the war we cannot lose. Notes of a free man from prison

Sunday, 27 February 2022, 04:30
Collage by Andriy Kalistratenko

Exactly eight years ago, on February 27, 2014, Crimea was occupied by "my brothers" with weapons in their hands. It was a rehearsal of the great war that is taking place today.

Crimea has become part of a concentration camp called "Russia". Many Crimeans welcomed their entry into the concentration camp. Turned out that it can happen.

Fortunately, it happens differently also. And there are others. Nariman Jalal is one of them.


On September 4, Russian special services abducted Nariman from his home in Pervomaisk near Simferopol.

He was accused of sabotage - Jalal faces 12 to 15 years in prison. The main hearings of the fabricated case begin on March 3.

Ukrayinska Pravda received Nariman's notes written in prison, and we are preparing a great deal of material about him and his struggle


It is a story about how you can stay free while in prison. Unlike the "Krymnashysty" (term describing people who support the Crimea annexation) who have been living in prison for years, formally at large.

It is also a story why the war with the "brothers" is not a local conflict, but a civilizational one. This is a war of a person for the right to preserve the humane.

And what awaits us if we allow ourselves to return to where "There is a Russian spirit ... there is a smell of Russia!"* (a quote from A. Pushkin).

Here are some quotes from Nariman Jalal's notes.

It is important to read them today.

We have no right to lose this war.


One day, after listening to an emotional speech by a friend about his plans to liberate Crimea, I remarked that he might not have time. It may turn out that there is no one to liberate.

In 2014, fear settled in the Crimea. People were afraid to go beyond the thoughts and actions allowed by the state. Restrained, guarded, separated.


In fact, we were in the concentration camp of the XXI century.

Its fences were hidden, disguised by new schools, roads, bus stops, tower cranes of new buildings.

In a concentration camp with strict rules and cruel guards.

In a concentration camp which was aimed to turn everyone into a faceless homogeneous mass that has absorbed dissenters and those who oppose.


It is the goal of the concentration camp authorities to put a person on the brink of survival, to break one’s will, to turn into an obedient slave.


The same goals are pursued by authoritarian regimes against the population, using more sophisticated, hybrid methods.

The regime needs a person who is unable to resist the reality of the camp. A person who stopped making independent decisions and lost the ability to resist injustice.

Man ceases to be the master of his own destiny, ceases to determine his own future.

Giving ourselves into the hands of others, we are losing sovereignty .


There are many who doubt their own abilities.

Victor Frankl, who had experience of being in a Nazi concentration camp, describes the prisoner's condition as "Hopelessness."

"Hopelessness" dooms to retrospective existence. The prisoner does not see himself in the future. The reality of the concentration camp seems to him complete, unchanging and hopeless.

Many prisoners simply lay down and died. They did not see the purpose and did not believe in the expediency of life.

Our concentration camp is different from the "classic".

We are not in direct danger of physical destruction. We are relatively free within the established rules, which are getting stricter year by year.

But in this situation it is more difficult for us to assess reality and dare to act. The absence of a direct life threat and fake freedom lull anxiety and reduce resistance to lies.


The deepest humiliation was that the Russian leadership solely decided the fate of our land, offering to accept everything as it is.

Among us were those who called for submission, for patience. They offered to swallow the humiliation in silence in exchange for solving certain social problems.

There were those who said: do not tease the beast that will crush us for disobedience. Thus, they have already served the regime, spreading uncertainty and doubt. And, of course, they sought to justify their own fear, to protect themselves from repression.



I tried to prevent the hope from fading.

After reading Victor Frankl's book, I was convinced that I acted correctly. Describing the lives of prisoners in concentration camps, he concluded that those who lose faith in their future die.

That very faith in another future that I choose by my own choice.


In the Book of Travels, Igor Guberman notes: "In order to survive in the continuous and ruthless struggle for existence, every living being had to somehow learn to defend oneself ... One of the simplest ways is parasitic existence."

This way of self-preservation requires complete dependence on the owner, i.e. on a stronger organism. Requires obedience and unpretentiousness.

You have to admit, this is very similar to the type of relationship with the state, relevant in modern Russia. You are promised stability and nutrition in exchange for obedience and service to the regime.

Only in nature such an existence provides more guarantees of security than in human society. The evolutionary development of parasitic existence is far from advanced. "Voluntary slavery saves lives temporarily, but forever weans us from living."


When we understand where we are.

When we see the walls of the cell where our Crimea is imprisoned.

When the intentions of the overseers are obvious.

We must resist.

To stay ...


My first decision was to stay in the Crimea. In the homeland we recently regained. This land should become an oasis of hospitality, not a parade ground for soldiers' boots and proving ground for tanks. And I couldn't leave it like that.

To stay ...

My second decision was to remain myself. Preserve my beliefs and values. My belief that freedom allows us to expose the best human qualities. Freedom and democracy that sprout in Ukraine and are destroyed in Russia.

To stay ..

The third decision was to remain true to my duty. The duty of the person to whom thousands of Crimean Tatars have delegated their right to speak on their behalf. To suggest a path and be one of the first to follow it. Nine years ago in Khan Sarai, I took an oath and I am sure I haven't broken it.

Czech politician and dissident Vaclav Havel said: "Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out."

To stay…

This decision was not easy to make, but easy to follow. I have always been confident in the rightness of my path. In the moments of doubt and despair, there was always someone who said: you have chosen the right direction. And I went on.

But I was most inspired by people who followed the same path. Someone nearby, someone far away, someone just on that road.

To stay...

Even in a situation of lack of freedom, we remain free from within.

Believe in yourself and in your strength. Rely on your beliefs. Don't waste your energy looking for answers we weren't destined to get.

Do not believe that you can not change anything. Do not believe that another future is impossible.

Our elder generation not only survived the difficulties of deportation, but also regained our homeland. They persevered in the fight against the Soviet empire.

They survived the deportation, we must survive the occupation. To remain ourselves.

To stay…

I also stay with you. Even behind the walls of the prison.

Nariman Dzhelal, for the UP