Image: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A Response to Article 282 Extremism Criminal Code of the Russian Federation

(after a translation by ChatGPT)

I am Igor Girkin. I am in custody.
For extremism per the code.
Why? What is extreme?
That I have spoken out in plain words?
On Telegram I wrote my points
about Putin’s judgments in
Ukraine, this faltering special
military operation, and for this I am
detained. In the Donbas I did
my duty for the motherland
and now this is my reward.
The Dutch in the Hague tried me
in absentia, for a plane downed years ago,
yes all those hundreds on board died,
yes they claim I am the guilty one,
well I and my comrades brought back
to Russia that which is rightly ours.
Is this now my thanks? To be taken
in the dead of night, leaving Miroslava my wife
all to herself, will it be to Lubyanka Square
in the hands of the FSB? Must I fear
the windows, a sip of tea while
Prigozhin stands in Belarus his
march for justice failed. I hear that other
officers were drinking on that Saturday
with orders to come to headquarters,
but they kept drinking. This is known.
Even the Spetznaz special forces didn’t aid
to stop this attempted coup. As the old Moscow
saying goes, “It’s you today, me tomorrow.”

About the Poem

Afterword: I conjured up this persona piece in the guise of an AI translation after noting the article about *Putin’s purge of allies* to give a “through the looking glass” perspective of Girkin as represented opining on what he sees as unjust as if he lived in a free country; At the same time I was thinking about the *DOJ target letter* related to efforts to overturn the 2020 U.S. election which references three particular statutes including Title 18 Section 241 Conspiracy against rights, of the U.S. Criminal Code—what response(s) will be forthcoming from any of those who may be indicted as a point of comparison? In any case, the concluding traditional Russian adage cited has the ring of the famous Niemöller quote (sometimes referred to as a poem) *“First They Came…”* a version of which is displayed at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

About the Author

Howard Richard Debs is a recipient of the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. His essays, fiction, and poetry appear internationally in numerous publications; His book ‘Gallery: A Collection of Pictures and Words’ is a 2017 Best Book Awards and 2018 Book Excellence Awards recipient. His chapbook ‘Political’ is the 2021 American Writing Awards winner in poetry. He is co-editor of ‘New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust’ winner of the 2023 International Book Awards for anthologies. He is listed in the Poets & Writers Directory.

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