Sunday, October 15, 2023

‘When They Came for Navalny’ – Russians Update Pastor Niemöller’s Classic Analysis of Why Fascism Sometimes Succeeds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 13 – After the Holocaust, German Pastor Martin Niemöller provided an explanation for what had happened: “First they came for the socialists and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist … [Ultimately,] they came for the Jews and I didn’t speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

            Now, Moscow journalist Tatyana Pushkaryova in her latest collection of Russian anecdotes ( says that Russians have updated Niemöller’s words to apply them to the situation they find themselves in under Vladimir Putin. They are saying:

            “When they came for Navalny, I wasn’t worried, he would have good lawyers. When they came for Navalny’s lawyers, I was calm, the court would sort it out. And when they came for me, there was no one to defend me, and I was tried by a trio: an FSB officer, a prosecutor and the secretary of the United Russia party committee.”

            Among the best of the rest of the anecdotes Pushkaroyova now offers are the following:

·       It isn’t known what weapons will be used in the third world war, but it is certain that in the fourth, they will be sticks and stones.

·       A representative of Hamas has threatened to blow up UN headquarters if the organization doesn’t denounce Israel as a terrorist country.

·       Putin’s press secretary was asked whether Moscow would now classify Hamas as a terrorist organization. He said that Russia “continues to analyze the situation.” What he is waiting for, Russians say with bitterness, is to find out whether a worldwide Jewish pogrom will happen.

·       The new Russian history textbook is now going to have to be rewritten yet again after Ramzan Kadyrov called Stalin a traitor.

·       Ramzan Kadyrov and Patriarch Kirill have announced the creation of a new religion in Russia, Putislamie, which is based on the principles of King Herod.

·       In Soviet times, people were imprisoned for telling jokes. Now, they are put behind bars for likes and dislikes.


And in the latest example that life really is imitating anecdotes in Russia, the Tatarstan government has issued a plan for economic development over the next 25 years that includes colonizing the four moons of Jupiter ( and

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