Ilya Yashin spoke about two days of the stage
The door of the cell creaked with a feeder, and the woman escort said in a loud whisper: “Yashin … Pack your things … You have a stage …”
I opened my eyes and glanced at the clock. Five am.
“A stage, Yashin,” the woman repeated, trying not to wake her cellmates. “You have 15 minutes.”
The prisoners crowded around the assembly, shooting each other’s cigarettes. Someone was dozing on trunks, someone was picking a scanword with a pen, someone was playing with a rosary. The operas came in with a bunch of personal files and announced that the stage was going through Vladimir and Kirov to Kazan. The first two regions are famous for harsh conditions, but in Tatarstan the regime is softer.
Oper noticed my silent question and lowered his eyes to the documents. “Like Udmurtia, Valerich,” he said. — Not a fountain, of course. But not Kirov, you can live.
The Kamaz drove up close to the train, and the convicts took turns jumping into the car, which for the second century had been popularly referred to as Stolypin. Nine compartments fenced off from the corridor by bars; each with six beds in three tiers. No pillows, no sheets, no windows. Toilet and boiling water three times a day on schedule.
They gave me two dry rations in my hands, and this indicated that I would have to spend two days on the road. I looked at the train and thought about the head of the tsarist government, Pyotr Stolypin. The man carried out major reforms, talked about great Russia – but in mass memory he remained a prison car. Ask any prisoner: “Who is Stolypin?” He will answer without hesitation: “We know who: the car!”
The stage turned out to be cheerful and noisy, as two compartments were occupied by girls. They were loaded first; the beauties settled comfortably on the shelves and stared at the prisoners, whom the convoy drove one by one into the train.
“Oh, girls, look, this cute one!”
“And in front of him was such an intelligent, with glasses. Fraudster, perhaps?
The guys twisted their necks in surprise when they heard female voices. After a couple of hours, everyone enthusiastically shouted at each other, got to know each other and exchanged addresses. By evening, the boys and girls agreed on who would marry whom and who would wait for whom from the colony. The situation was reminiscent of a trip to a pioneer camp, and only discussions of criminal cases returned to reality. One girl stabbed her drinking buddy, the rest were jailed for selling drugs. For men, articles are more diverse: robbery, theft, theft …
In the next compartment was the lawyer Dmitry Talantov, who was arrested under my own article for an anti-war text in social networks. We communicated through the bars, discussing everything – politics, history, literature.
At some point, he began to read Brodsky’s poems aloud. A guard passing by stopped to listen.
“Listen, who are you anyway?” he asked Dmitry.
“I am the chairman of the bar association,” Talantov replied. – And you?”
“And I’m turning,” the employee sighed and wandered on.