collector's item

WE
Who takes, who grew up in which country and whether this affected his attitude to espionage! The worse, if affected, because it deprived him of a possible source of entertainment — let not the most exquisite property, but still entertainment. In light of that, what surrounds us, not even speaking about, what lies ahead, it's almost unforgivable. Longing for action — mother of cinema. And if someone spies are really disgusting, then there is still a hunt for spies — an equally exciting occupation, how virtuous. What is wrong with mild paranoia, in a small dose of pronounced schizophrenia? maybe, therein, how they appear in popular novels and video tapes, there is some recognition, and therefore, and psychotherapeutic value? And what is any disgust, including aversion to spies, if not a hidden neurosis, the echo of some kind of childhood injury? Сначала — therapy, after — ethics.
VII
Kim Philby's face on a postage stamp. The face of the deceased Mr. Philby, esquire, from Brighton (Sussex) or Velvin-Garden (Hartford) or Ambals (Индия) — yes from anywhere. Englishman's face, serving the Soviet Union. Dreams of waste paper, come true. Probably, general rank, if such trifles occupied the deceased; probably, high awards, may be — The hero of the USSR. Although the picture taken for the portrait on the stamp does not have any of this. Here he is in civilian clothes, I walked almost my whole life: dark jacket and tie. Medals and epaulettes were stored for the scarlet velvet pillow, for funeral with military honors, if he had any. I think, what were, with his masters of love for top-secret rites. Many moons ago in a review of a book about one of his sidekicks for “LPT” I wrote, that in view of the merits to the Soviet state, this aging naturalized Muscovite should be buried in the Kremlin wall. I recall it here, because they told me, that he was one of the rare subscribers “LPT” in Moscow. My days, However, he finished, to my mind, at the protestant cemetery — its owners were champions of integrity, posthumously. (Do it Her Majesty’s government, it would hardly do its job better.) And now I'm a little tormented by remorse. I imagine, how to bury him, in the same jacket and tie, which are depicted on the stamp, in this fancy dress (maybe, it was a uniform?) — in death, as in life. Probably, he left some instructions for this case, although he could not be completely sure, what will be done. Interesting, were or were not? And what did he want, so that it is inscribed on the stone? Can, a line of English poems? for example: “And death will not triumph”? Or preferred bare facts: “Soviet spy Kim Philby (1912–1988)”? And if he wanted to give it in Cyrillic?
VIII
Back to hidden neurosis and childhood trauma, to therapy and ethics. When I was 24 of the year, I got carried away by one girl, and extremely. She was a little older than me, and after some time I began to feel, that something is wrong. I could smell, that she is deceiving me, maybe, even changes. It turned out, of course, that I was worried not in vain; but it was later. Then I just had suspicions, and one evening I decided to track her down. I hid in the gateway opposite her house and waited there for about an hour. And when she emerged from the semi-dark entrance, I followed her and walked several blocks. I was tense and experienced some previously unfamiliar arousal. At the same time, I felt a kind of boredom, because more or less imagined, what discovery awaits me. Excitement increased with every step, with every evasive movement; boredom remained at the same level. When she turned to the river, excitement peaked — and then I stopped, turned and entered the nearest cafe. Then I blamed the interrupted persecution on my laziness and retroactively reproached myself, especially in the light (more precisely, in the darkness) denouement of this novel; I was Acteon, dogged by belated regrets. truth, However, was far less innocent, but also more entertaining. Genuine reason, why did i stop, was, that I suddenly realized the nature of my arousal. It was a hunter's joy, pursuing prey. In other words, there was something atavistic, primitive. This awareness had nothing to do with ethics., remorse, taboo and the like. I didn’t bother, that I put my girlfriend in the booty position. I just flatly refused to be a hunter. A matter of temperament, is not it? May be. maybe, be the world divided according to the principle of four temperaments, or, at least, he reduced to four temperaments due to political parties, he would be a little better? However, I suppose, that inner reluctance to turn into a hunter, the ability to realize and curb the hunting impulse is associated with something deeper, rather than temperament, education, moral values, acquired knowledge, religion or individual representations of honor. They are related to the degree of individual evolution., with the evolution of our species in general, with the achievement of that stage, when to go back you are already incapable. And spies disgust not so much, that their step on the evolutionary ladder is low, but the, that betrayal makes you step down.
IX
If all this seems to you, dear reader, the deceitful boast of the author with his own virtues — as you wish. Virtue, eventually, — not at all synonymous with survival — unlike duplicity. But you will agree, kind reader, Is not justice, that between love and betrayal there is a certain hierarchy. You also know, what exactly the first ends with the second, and not vice versa. AND, worse, you know, that the last is longer than the first. So there’s nothing to brag about, even if you are bewitched and intoxicated, true? And if a person is not a Darwinist, if he is loyal to Cuvier, it is because, that lower organisms are more viable than complex ones. Example — moss or algae. I understand, that I intrude. I'm just trying to say, that for a developed organism duplicity, at worst, there is one option, whereas for the lower it’s a way to survive. In this sense, a spy chooses to become a spy no more than a lizard — their pigmentation: they just haven’t been given anything else. Finally, duplicity — this is a form of mimicry, ie. that maximum, which this particular animal is capable of. With this consideration one could argue, if spies spied for money, but the best of them do it because of beliefs. In this activity, they are stimulated by excitement., better to say — instinct, not held back by boredom. For boredom interferes with instinct. Boredom is a sign of a highly developed type, sign of civilization, if anything.
X
Whoever the man is, who gave the order to issue this brand, he is without a doubt, wanted to say something with this. Especially given the current political climate, warming in relations between East and West and so on. Surely the decision was made at the top, in the holy Kremlin chambers, since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs probably opposed this with all its might, not to mention the Ministry of Finance — whatever they are. Hand, lactating you, don't bite. Or — bite? Yes, bite, if you have teeth of the State Security Committee, the same KGB, which the, First of all, larger than both of these ministries combined — and not only by the number of employees, but also in place, occupied by him in the mind and subconscious mind as the power of those in power, and completely deprived of it. And when you are this size, you can bite any hand and even, if anything, throat. And this can be done for several reasons.. Out of vanity — remind the triumphant West of its existence. Or by inertia: you used to bite this very hand. Or from nostalgia for the good old days, when your diet was saturated with enemy protein, coming in abundance in the form of your compatriots. But still, with all the monstrosity of the appetite, the idea to issue this brand is seen as a specific person - the head of the Office or, perhaps, his deputy, or modest — no higher than captain — employee, who came up with this thought. May be, he just always revere Philby; or just wanted to get a promotion in your department; or, conversely, already about to retire by age and, how many people of his generation, sincerely believed in the didactic power of the postage stamp. None of these assumptions contradict the rest.. All these things — vanity, inertia, nostalgia, reverence, careerism, naivety - fully compatible, and the brain of an average KGB officer as their container, where does it all mix, no worse than any other, including computer. What is surprising in the history of this brand, so is speed, with which she was released — just two years after the death of Mr. Philby. His shoes, as well as gloves, whom he, they say, almost did not take off due to psoriasis, not yet, so to speak, cool off. It takes a lot of time to issue a brand in any country., and usually this is preceded by a national recognition of the character’s significance. Even if this condition is excluded (eventually, he was a secret agent), still the pace of production of this brand is astounding, given the abundance of bureaucratic obstacles, which she theoretically needed to overcome. But her, obviously, nothing had to be overcome; it was urgently put into production. What makes you feel, that behind this piece of paper in four square centimeters is someone's initiative, someone's individual will. And you think: what was behind this will? And you understand, that someone wanted to say something with this. And state urbi et orbi. AND, as part of this orbi, trying to imagine: what exactly?
XI
Answer: something malevolent and menacing; that is, something very provincial. Any undertaking, I'm afraid, evaluated by its results. This brand dooms the late Mr. Philby to the final dishonor, to the last humiliation. She proclaims this British Russian property, and not in a spiritual sense (there would be nothing outstanding in this), but in physical, bodily. of course, Philby asked for it. He spied on the Soviet Union a good quarter century. Then another quarter century he lived in the Soviet Union and also did not indulge in idleness. In addition, he died there and was buried in Russian soil.. This brand is essentially his tombstone. Among other things,, the possibility of, that a posthumous treatment of the owners with him would have been to his taste — he was not far enough, and secrecy — vanity bed. maybe, he would even approve of the idea of ​​such a brand (if he didn't file it at all). And still, there is some kind of violence in this — more perverse, rather than desecration of the grave, — violence over nature. Finally, he was british, and the British are not the first to die in foreign lands. The disgust of this brand — possessive: as if the earth, swallowed the dead, licking lips with pleasure, pronounces: “He is mine”. Or — licking brand.
XII
That's what I wanted to say (and stated) this humble KGB officer (maybe, there were several) and what a liberal literary newspaper with a modest strike-breaker past found so funny. Okay, will accept, so to speak, note. How to react to it — and whether to respond at all? Can, try to exhume these wicked remains and take them to Britain? Can, apply to the Soviet government with a petition or offer him a large amount? Or, can, Her Majesty's post office should release an anti-brand with text like: “English traitor Kim Philby (1912–1988)” — in English, of course, and then see, is any newspaper in Russia reprinting it? Should we try to tear out this person’s very idea, contrary to himself, from the collective consciousness of its owners? And who are these “we”, dear reader, providing your author with such rhetorical conveniences? No, nothing like this can be done, Yes and no. Philby — there, where is it supposed to: body and spirit. May it rot in the world. But here is somebody — and I emphasize exactly “anybody” — must do, it is to deprive the aforementioned collective consciousness of the right to possess this stinking relic, to deprive him of that inner comfort, which, as it believes, it enjoys. And it’s not difficult to do it. For, contrary to myself, Kim Philby was not their property. And looking at that, where are we today, and especially where was Russia, We'll see, what, despite all zeal, ingenuity, hard work, money taken away and time lost, Philby's enterprise crashed. Be he even an English double agent, he could not have done more damage to that system, which he actually tried to contribute to. But is it double, triple whether — he was always an english agent, to the core, for the end result of his so extraordinary efforts — keen sense of futility. Futility — it is so in English. And now — about things more fun.

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Joseph Brodsky
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