The Last Word of Olga Misik


I was often asked if I was scared. More often they ask me about this abroad, not in Russia. Abroad, they do not know about black KGB prison vans that arrive after midnight, detentions, and prison sentences without any rhyme or reason. They do not know that we drink the feeling of futility and hopelessness with our mother’s milk. This very feeling of hopelessness paralyzes all manifestations of fear; it infects us with the acquired inability to act. What is the point of being afraid if your future does not depend on you?

They say that it is impossible to be afraid when you know that you are right. But Russia teaches us to be afraid all the time. It’s a country that tries to kill us every day. And if you are outside the system, then you are already dead.

And, perhaps, after all, I was scared when I went to that protest. Yet, I knew that I could not do it. I understood that it was impossible not to. If I didn’t say anything at the time, I would never be able to justify myself — to myself. When my children would ask me where was I when it all was happening, how could I allow this to happen, and what did I do to fix it, to change somehting, I would have nothing to answer them. What would I answer? That I came out with a solitary protest with a poster, to stand in front of the FSB building? That’s ridiculous. It would be sweet self-deception that I couldn’t afford.

When you are living inside the fascist regime, it never looks fascist. It seems that this is some petty censorship, some targeted repressions that will never affect you.

But I am not the defendant here today. Today you decide not mine, but your own fate, and you still have a chance to choose the right path. Because you cannot deceive yourself anymore. You know what’s going on here. You know what it’s called. And you know that there is good and evil, freedom and fascism, love and hate, and to deny the existence of the opposite sides would be the greatest deception. And those who have now chosen the side of evil have booked their seats on the bench for the accused in this future trial. A Hague trial awaits everyone who is involved in this lawlessness.

I do not promise that we will win tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, in a year or ten years. But one day we will win because love and youth always win. I do not promise that I will live to this moment, but I really hope that you will live to see it.


You know what I’m being tried for. For reading the Constitution of the Russian Federation in public. For my civil position. For being recognized as the Person of the Year. For my principles. For performances.


I made the right choice, and the right choice in a totalitarian state always entails dire consequences.

I always knew that I would be imprisoned, when exactly was only a matter of time. I’m reading a book by Markus Zusak, about life under a fascist regime. A quote, “You claim that this is bad luck, but you knew all the time that it would happen”, and this phrase perfectly describes my criminal case. This is not stupidity, not bad luck, not an accident, and even less it is a crime. I always knew this would happen, and I was always ready for it. You won’t surprise me with anything.

Sophie Scholl was tried for flyers and graffiti, and I am tried for posters and paint. In fact, of course, we are both on trial for a thought crime. My trial is very similar to that of Sophie, and today’s Russia is very similar to Nazi Germany.

Even when facing the guillotine, Sophie did not give up her beliefs. Her example inspired me not to agree to the termination of the case. Sophie Scholl is the personification of youth, sincerity, and freedom, and I really hope that I am like her, too.

The fascist regime eventually fell, just as the fascist regime in Russia will fall. I don’t know when it will happen — in a week, a year, or a decade. But I know that one day we will win because love and youth always win.




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