he hundred members of our delegation, guests of the “immortal regiment”, were housed in a beautiful hotel in Kosygina street, not far from the State University. Our little CNR06 group was the only French group. The other groups, such as the Polish, Spanish, and Italian ones, were larger than our. Reality and imagination merged when, after the parade, we met in the lounge of the hotel. In the books of the great Russian novelists, I had often read descriptions of meetings and discussions that lasted all night and had found them similarly depicted by Soviet dissidents in their accounts. A beautiful custom to which we were entitled. Among such an international crowd, English was mostly used with asides in the language of the members of the same delegation. We ended up chatting with the Poles met the day before, Alik and two ladies that I thought were russian.
Naturally I spoke to them about my imminent departure to Odessa, explaining the visit of the delegation to Nice and my will to show that we do not forget the massacre of May 2. I also added that my father was from Odessa. To their already warm attitude, complicity was added. Galina, one of the ladies, and Alik told us that they were Odessites and had just arrived in Moscow. A bottle of vodka appeared out of nowhere with a plate of appetizers prepared for us and we toasted to all those born in Odessa. They talked among themselves about the danger that we might run and came to the conclusion that the risks were minimal, the game was worth the candle.
For over a year I had heard about Ukrainians, “pro-Russian” separatists, Odessites that were for or against the current government of Kiev, but anyway Ukrainians, and now I had two people in front of me, a journalist and a police colonel, both proud to be born in Odessa, both in a certainly difficult personal situation in Moscow, who were considering themselves as Russian. They were not pro-Russian. They were Russian. I thought about Marseille, the city where my family settled on its arrival in France; even if politicians succeed in creating a separate Occitan entity, from Aquitaine to Nice, Marseille will still continue to feel French, 25 years after its creation. Galina told us things so passionately that Sylvie filmed her while Monika, a Polish-French, was translating. Several bottles of vodka came one after the other. In short, we were in Moscow as one imagines.
The next day our discussion resumed regarding our trip to Odessa. An Italian woman had been added to the group. More reluctant, she found unreasonable to take a risk. She told us about the arrest, followed by deportation on May 1, of Franco Fracassi, an italian journalist whose writings had displeased the regime. He was traveling to Odessa for the commemoration of the tragedy of May 2, 2014. She testified that journalists, Russian or Ukrainian as well as foreign, faced arrest, or even could disappear. Then Alik told us he had also been under arrest for his writings. He managed to get by and had just finally arrived in Moscow for an indefinite time.
Someone said “they do not risk anything, they are not journalists, their names do not appear on red lists”. However though, as a participant in the Francophone Saker blog, I had the honor, moreover as a member of CNR06, to appear on the infamous “list” (http://lesbrindherbes.org/2015/03 / 19 / call-a-la-delation-of-site-pro-Russian /) last March. I even got a special treatment on the list, with a mini-biography mainly describing my work as an astronomer with my husband. The account of this story changed the tone of our new friends. No more questions about going to Odessa. We changed our tickets and went back directly to Nice.
Back home was a message from Irina, the head of the delegation that came to Nice. Currently in the United States she is attempting to learn the truth about last year events. The message was waiting for me on my computer:
“Dear Claude! Ivan will meet you in airport with your name table, do not worry. How are you? I.”
On May 2, 2016, if no disaster occurs by then, we will meet again Irina, Ivan and especially Elena who lost her son on May 2, 2014.
Moscow, May 9th 2015
In February 2015, Hollande travels to Saudi Arabia to pay tribute to King Abdullah: Saudi Arabia, which condemned to flogging a blogger Raef Badawi, who campaigned for a moral liberalization of his country. Saudi Arabia, which refuses to grant basic freedoms to half of its population – women- and where religious police can practice or force-on excision and infibulation on adulteresses and prostitutes. Saudi Arabia which condemns homosexuals to death.