Time for Everyone to Choose Where to Go – in the Light or in the Darkness

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



zhanna_talAfter the death of her father Mikhail Tal, a world chess champion, his only daughter Zhanna Tal lived for many years in Germany, then again in Riga, and now, as was reported by “BaltNews.lv”, she decided to settle down in Russia. Mikhail Tal (1936-1992) was a USSR multiple chess champion, and became the eighth world chess champion. He was born and lived all his life in Riga.

“My father was a patriot to the bone,” remembers Zhanna, describing the life of her family in the USSR. “Not once was he offered to leave. By the United States or Europe. Golda Meir herself offered him, with all the ensuing consequences, to stay in Israel. Money, fame… But for her father there was no such option. Her father loved his hometown. Riga. But he loved the another Riga, a Soviet one. Not politically Soviet, but possessing spiritual values that they now are trying very hard to strangle.”


Angelina, Zhanna and Mikhail Tal

Angelina, Zhanna and Mikhail Tal


The Agony Of The West

In an interview with Latvian Agency “BaltNews.lv” Zhanna Tal stated that she decided to leave the West, because she became aware that it is in agony. “These omens have been observed already for a long time. Firstly, the discouraging double standards. In the West, they are willing to notice one of the war-affected Syrian child, which is highlighted over the whole world, but for years persistently don’t notice children dying in Donbass. And by the hands of the Ukrainian side – this information is turned inside out.

The last, very striking example of this agony was the ban on Russian athletes from participating in the Olympics. Even for “clean” participants, evidence of violations has still not been presented. And the latest, the most disgusting manifestation of this agony is when disabled people were set-up. Unfortunately, this is completely beyond any morality and spirituality.”

“Now,” continued Zhanna Tal, “the hacked database of WADA was published. By the way, lots of thanks to hackers for this. They showed very well that American athletes can just casually dope. And not only are they eligible to compete, but they’re also not checked, and nobody strips them of their medals. But our disabled, who are forced to take medication to survive, simply are not allowed to compete, citing violations. Again, unproven.

And it seems to me that now the echo responds to the call. Yet it is not so noticeable, but a bit. Look at the difficulties that there are now in the United States. In economic terms. To blow a bubble through the printing press can’t work for a long time. The future of the pension fund is questionable, and this is grave. Political problems are also visible.

They didn’t succeed in Ukraine as was planned. They didn’t succeed to lure Russia into the war. The United States lost in Syria. Isn’t it agonising when Americans fired at Syrian troops during the truce, and then say that it was a “mistake”. It is the same mistake that they did in Libya, Iraq, and Yugoslavia.

And now – in another”.

The Degradation Of Latvia

The correspondent of the agency asked her a question about what is happening now in Latvia. “It’s very sad to watch,” she replied. “When I came to Riga seven years ago from Germany, I thought I was back in a place where somehow our mentality was safeguarded. But I saw the expansion of the Western mentality. For example, in schools. You look at the faces of the youth and you see emptiness. It’s true. It scared me.

In Europe, I ate this Western mentality until the tonsils. And, coming back in Riga, I wanted to believe so much that I was back in the old one… that I left. But it became very clear to me quite quickly that Riga has gone somewhere far away. And, most likely, without return. For almost seven years I was observing the process of degradation. Latvia gradually became more submerged in the Western mentality – starting from education and ending by the planting so-called Western values in the consciousness of people…

Perhaps Russia will help her when she is on the edge of the abyss. However, I’m afraid, that Russia does not need Latvia anymore, even Ukraine. I’m afraid that in Latvia, the gap between the rich and the rest of the population, which will become poorer, will increase. Plus, people will continue to leave Latvia. Having been there six months ago in Latvia, at half-past six, at Brivibas, me and my friends counted only six people – I asked where are people? – Nowhere…”

Russia is recovering

According to Zhanna Tal, after the collapse of the USSR, Russia also found itself in a critical situation. “Russia,” she says, “overcame this disease. It passed it until the most critical stage. And what is happening now is a recovery. With each passing year and even month people understand how hollow, empty, and primitive, these Western values are. Fewer and fewer people aspire to go to the West. It is clear that here it is not a paradise. There are and will be difficulties and will have to sift through everything that was heaped over 23 years, while Russia was in a state of “Western occupation”. It will be long and painful. But the process of recovery has begun.

I look at the little children who are going to school – their faces are different. They believe in something. It is especially this fervent faith in something, which is higher than material, that is almost absent in the West. There you look at the faces of young people – not all, but many – and your skin crawls from the emptiness.

Look at their reaction to the terrorist attacks. Protests? People sit and draw pictures on the pavement. Instead of actually doing something. Nothing but coloring avatars on Facebook and hypocritical peace marches. And the indifference jumps out at you, which makes you uncomfortable. Those same terrorist attacks in Nice, in Brussels, in Paris. As if they didn’t happen. That’s why if a miracle doesn’t happen, prospects are very bad. People who are now pouring into Europe have an absolutely different mentality. They will stand for up for each other. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do take it over and push Europeans out sooner or later.”

Speaking about the political system of the West, Zhanna Tal calls it a “dictatorship”. “It’s the same as a dictatorship, which is only called a democracy,” she says. “Democracy in the US? They only pretend that every two terms there is a change of president. But nothing changes. And what happens in Germany – it’s blackmail. Most likely, when all this began, Merkel was promised something. Perhaps fame, prestige, money. And now, even understanding the tragedy of the whole situation, she can’t jump down from it. She’s afraid.”

“I think it is the fear of a possible terrorist attack that plays an important role. Look, as soon as Seehofer in Bavaria started to talk about the lifting of sanctions, a series of terrorist attacks immediately happened. And it wasn’t done by refugees. And France? When Hollande only hinted about a partnership with Russia – BAM, and immediately terrorist attacks.

The terrorists were purposefully introduced, in the flow of refugees. And, you should not knock off-balance the fact that NATO bases are all over the place in Germany. The only thing that pleased me is that Germany and France did not react to another blackmail, and ardently resisted against the signing of the Transatlantic partnership”.

Shops are better than in Cologne or in Bonn

Zhanna Tal debunks the myth that in the West there are supposedly flowing rivers of milk and honey, claiming that to live in Russia is no worse. “The naivety of Russians is evaporating,” she said. “Many, like myself, are starting to return from Europe. And about quality of life? In Moscow, for example, go to any store. I’d say with European stores there is no comparison, if to speak about variety. About quality, generally it is better to keep quiet – here it is many times superior.

I remember in the late 80’s my mother for the first time went to Berlin, and it was a revelation – the 40 varieties of sausage under the counter! And now no one can be surprised by this, not only in Moscow or St. Petersburg.

I am often in Voronezh and other Russian cities, and I can say that the shopping there is better than in Cologne and Bonn.

There is still a small part of the population that listens to “Echo of Moscow”, watches “TVRain” [fifth column – ed] and reads Navalny and Khodorkovsky. But it’s a small percentage that no one takes seriously. By the way, this election has shown it in all its glory. Both the liberal parties didn’t even reach 2%.”

There is more freedom of speech in Russia

All are tired of these slogans about freedom of speech. Here in Russia we have this freedom much more than in the West – if you want you go on Bolotnaya [regular spot for fifth column gatherings – ed], come out and protest, and no one will be arrested. If you want to, you can criticise the President – if you don’t want to, you don’t. In my opinion, they have too much freedom here, but that’s my opinion. It is different in the West. I know very well how this happens in Latvia. My friend, for example, was collecting humanitarian aid for Donbass. The security police came immediately.

That’s why, in terms of freedom of speech, Russia is ahead. As in terms of empathy, compassion, and generosity. Even though Ukraine constantly dirties Russia, the latter still gives the former a discount on gas. Because it is our people who are there. And to leave people to freeze – Russia would never permit it”.

Zhanna Tal gives a sharp estimation to our home-grown liberals, outraged about what they say about their own country. “This,” she says, “is a clear indication of the level of “spirituality” of our pseudo-intelligentsia. Or rather, of its complete absence. And look at the communication of many “liberal” leaders. Overly-foul language, vulgarity after vulgarity, as if all limits of decency and even basic restraint are lost”.

Similarly, Zhanna Tal also sharply criticizes the current American establishment, including the fact that the United States foments the myth of the “Russian threat”. “We indeed were joking on the topic that she collapsed on the floor, and that now it will be said that it is Putin’s fault. But it turned out that our jokes became prophetic. As was suggested in the “Washington post” by an “expert pathologist”, overdosing on Putin is not excluded. It would have been very funny if it were not so tragic.

It’s still good that more than half of all Americans are not at all interested in all of this, they do not read this newspaper. And those who still read, are seemingly no longer so naive. I browsed social media, on Twitter, and comments of American users are more often like this: Yes, this is crossing the line – what a load of nonsense”.

“Everyone has to choose where to go”

“When I applied for the migration program to Russia,” says Zhanna Tal, “I saw that the staff of the Federal Migration Service are overwhelmed by documents to process. At this time people go everywhere. And in Transbaikalia, in Siberia, and in the Urals.

Having lived a long time in Germany, communicating mainly with native Germans and speaking the language perfectly – and a few years in Latvia, I can confidently say: in Russia, I feel, for the first time since childhood, at home… the people on the streets are smiling. Maybe, people don’t do it just for nothing. But for “just nothing” you have to go America. There, half of the population visits a psychotherapist, but all is well. By the way, here I’ve never met rudeness. Even though I had to deal with officials, and with many instances. You’ll laugh, but in Russia the only time I was nasty is when I asked for help at the German Consulate”.

“Now,” said Zhanna Tal, “is the turning point in time. When each of us faces a choice. And about spiritual crisis… Russia passed through this process in the 90’s. That’s to say – from the ground-up. Apparently, it is Europe and America that now has to pass through it. Just hope that a big war doesn’t arrive…”

And further: “Yes, it is difficult, but for us this is a privilege to live in such a time. For us it is an exam. Of steadfastness, of faith, of courage. Black or white. Okay, there is no completely black or white. But, nevertheless, everyone has to choose where to go, in the Light or in the Darkness.”

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