Claude Roddier, the “Godmother” of the entire Saker Community has just returned from a trip to Russia were she participated in the Vday events in Moscow alongside a delegation representing the French Resistance to the Nazi occupation of France during WWII. Initially, Claude had planned to travel to Odessa and because of the risks associated with such a trip, we kept all these plans a secret. Then, after speaking to trusted friends in Moscow, she decided to cancel her trip to Odessa to my immense relief.
[Sidebar: I refer to Claude as the “Godmother” of the Saker Community because she was the very first person to contact me and suggest that my blog be translated into French. Then, the example of the French Saker blog was followed in other countries and languages, but none of that would have happened without Claude’s suggestion. Claude also stood by me in some truly painful moments and her kindness and support were crucial in my decision not to abandon it all last winter. Honestly, there would be no Saker Community if not for Claude].
I am posting below three texts which are self-explanatory and which will relate to you the events surrounding this historical celebration. At a time when France is yet again under occupation, these testimonies are a beautiful illustration of the fact that, just as during WWII, there still is a French Resistance even if nowadays the mode of resistance is different, instead of shooting at occupying foreign forces the French Resistance today struggles against collaborationist ideas, against a regime which has so clearly abandoned France’s national interests, against an Imperial policy aimed at a maximal confrontation with Russia and which has the very real risk of resulting in another world war.
What is particularly beautiful about this trip is that is is yet another shining example of this “other West” which, far from being hostile to Russia, is her real friend and wants to stand by her in these difficult and dangerous times. To resist the current zombification and to dare defy the official ideology is also an act of great courage: not only was Claude already publicly listed by a pro-Ukronazi website as being a member of some nefarious pro-Putin blogger army, these are also the post Charlie-Hebo times in France when most people would be simply afraid to speak up and dare defy the plutocracy in power.
[Sidebar: while Claude decided to “go public” with her identity, my strictly personal advice to the members of our community is to hide their real identities, especially for Team Leaders]
I am immensely grateful to Claude whose kindness and wisdom have deeply changed my life and, I suspect the lives of many of us. I could not have wished for a better “Godmother”!
When Lucien Pons (http://lucien-pons.over-blog.com/), the president of the Association CNR06 of Nice, called me on March 12 to tell me that our friends from Odessa were looking for descendants of members of the French Resistance, in order to invite them to the May 9th parade in Moscow, I did not dare to believe it. When he asked me if I could go, of course I immediately agreed. Each invitation being for two descendants, I proposed to participate with one of my children. Another group, the FTPF resistant, Lesou Serge and his daughter Sylvie were also invited.
In 1942, when he was 15 years old, Serge met a group of young “Résistants“ who joined others to form the “United Forces of patriotic youth” in Montargis. Later, he arrived Paris, where he was greeted by Colonel Baudoin, one of the commanders of the FTP networks in Paris. As a militant in the XXth, he took part to the liberation of Paris on a barricade at the corner between Menilmontant and Sorbier street. In Moscow, Serge held up a picture of Colonel Baudoin. His daughter Sylvie had the French flag together with a picture of young FTP fighters from the Var who were murdered by the Germans in 1944.
Born in Odessa in 1911, my father, Gleb Sivirine, arrived in France in 1919. He became part of the Resistance, first with his brother in a network of Marseille before becoming the head of the largest underground group of MUR (Mouvements Unis de la Résistance) in the Var, a group known as the Maquis Vallier (http://maquis-vallier.fr). I had a picture of him that matched our needs, the kind of picture that hundreds of thousands people marched with on May 9. I was planning to enlarge this picture, when I learned that François Hollande was about to become a shame on France. I then realized that this invitation would enable me to somehow save the honor. This is how, together with the French flag, on a picture showing also my father and one of the leaders of the Var Resistance, the General de Gaulle became part of the great march of Victory down the Tverskaya Avenue and through the Red Square, ending in front of the Basilica of St. Basil the Blessed.
We were allowed to show two pictures. For the second I wanted to honor also the memory of Résistants of the networks who lost their lives while being often forgotten. A name became obvious to my mind, that of Vicky Obolensky (http://www.lecourrierderussie.com/2012/06/sainte-genevieve-des-bois-insolite/) a Russian princess who arrived in France aged 9, has been a resistant since the first hour, and was guillotined in Berlin on August 1944. My daughter carried her picture.
From the start of the parade we had lost our group. The two of us found ourselves with two young participants of the “Immortal regiment”, Alik and Nikita, both from Odessa. Instead of quietly walking at the same pace as others, they had took a faster pace. Having no fixed point appointment we did not want to lose them. So we constantly outpaced the others. Hence we could see that other participants in the march were receiving our message as we hoped they would. Both of us have been thanked, photographed, filmed throughout the afternoon. Several times people have spoken longer with us, and had their picture taken with us. Most of the time, the language used was French, with that Russian accent which, of course, was not the “inimitable” accent of my grandmother although, listening well, yes, there was something of that accent.
What struck us most was the gravity of the participants. They look smiling on the pictures. One spontaneously smiles when photographed. In reality, they were serious, worried, determined. There was not the slightest aggressiveness in this huge crowd. Instead, it expressed a feeling of kindliness, although it was hard to understand how. There was virtually no police or security officers. Many young volunteers gave a note of gaiety. People came with their family, often with several pictures carried by the children, grandchildren or even great-grandchildren of those presented. Many photos showed women. Nikita, a young Odessite serving as our guide was proudly holding two photos: one of a grandfather from his mother, the other from a grandfather of his father. The message was clear “what my grandfather / great-grandfather did, I can do it.” I remember my parents talking about the summer of 1939 and the expectation of war, this war which the French did not want and was imposed on them. This is the same expectation that I felt in Moscow on May 9.
Failed trip to Odessa
Once our departure to Moscow confirmed and our visas obtained, I thought about extending our travel and stopping at Odessa. I saw this trip as a way to thank the members of the delegation of Leskova Irina, who came to Nice in January 2015, and to show them our support. Personally, it was an opportunity for a homecoming, a return to the house that my father and his family had left for two months, but had never seen again. The city having changed hands, their passports were no longer valid.
The 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.
In May 2015, Hollande goes to Qatar: Qatar, a country which practices kafala (1) a form of forced labor or slavery, according to Human Rights Watch. A country where freedom of expression does not exist, as evidenced by the life sentence of the poet Mohammed Al-Ajami, aka Ibn al-Dhib, arrested in November 2011 for a poem (“poem Jasmin”) criticizing power and defending the revolutions of the “Arab Spring”, a sentence reduced to 15 years’ imprisonment in 2013. A country, some were moved of it, where the mortality rate in preparation for the world football cup was found unusually high.
No matter the rights ….
On January 27, 2015, Holland goes to Auschwitz Birkenau for the celebration of the 70 years of the camp liberation. But, although the camp was liberated by the Soviet army, he is not annoyed that the Russian president was not invited by Poland.
On May 9, 2015 Holland does not go to Russia for the commemoration of the victory over Nazism, under the pretext of …. But what excuse can we offer to the Russian people? The Soviet Union bore the brunt of the war effort, the Soviet people paid the price of it: more than 25 million deaths. The fact that the US has delayed the landing as much as possible, in the hope that the Nazis would crush the USSR, did not prevent Holland to celebrate with great pomp the anniversary of the landing (2) – a landing that de Gaulle did not celebrate – a participation to a true revisionist operation of the history of the 2nd World War. It means bending slavishly to a communication operation which legitimizes the current hegemony of the United States over Europe and France – with the European Union and NATO in between.
On May 9, 2015, holding their three color flags, 4 French people – Serge Lesou and her daughter Sylvie Pillé, Claude Roddier and her daughter Mireille – who or whose relatives were involved in the struggle against Nazism, acknowledge the invitation of the “Eternal Regiment” via the « nouveau CNR, an association of the Alpes Maritimes.
These invitations came after meetings with a delegation of Ukrainians who came in January 2015, to bear witness of the assassination of militants by fascists in the house of the Unions of Odessa, on May 2, 2014.
More than 25 million deaths! How many Russian families affected? Today, these events remain engraved in the collective memory. For proof, one has just to look at the gravity with which the combatants grant children or great grand children were participating to the ceremonies. Above all, it suffices to attend this huge mobilization, with young people, hundreds of volunteers, supervising the parade.
But beyond the commemoration, it is the aspiration for peace that was claimed, that showed up in every conversation we had: MIR! Druzhba!
Hence we went on, with our pictures, parading with thousands of participants, some of them coming from the most remote regions of Russia. We met Ouzbecks, Kyrgyz, having all participated to the fight against the Nazis, whose dean was 101 years old. But also people from Spain, Italy, Poland, Ukraine (most of them refugees in Russia, because of the fascist danger that threatens them in their country) …
What a thrill that being mixed together with all these people, serious, aware of the threats posed by the United States on peace, all these people united by the same desire to fight against the resurgence of the extreme right, of fascism and neo-Nazism all over Europe and particularly Ukraine.
Everywhere, the sight of French flags, raised the same warm reactions, “thank you for being here.”
Hopefully, in the mind of these Russians, all four of us have helped cleaning the honor of France.
(1) Kafala: a system that governs the lives of all the foreigners working in Qatar. It requires them being “mentored” by a Qatari, without whom authorization they can neither change jobs, get a driver’s license, rent a house, open a bank account or, especially, leave the country.
(2) By their landing, the US aimed more at occupying France rather than freeing it. They had trumped up a program called AMGOT (Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories) and created an American franc, denounced by de Gaulle as counterfeit money.
Presence in Moscow of a delegation of the association “Committee for a New Resistance-CNR” for the 70th anniversary of the victory.
We live in a very dangerous period. But the French, under-informed, are not aware of it.
The cannon thunders in the east of Europe. NATO countries are gradually drawn into a war against Russia. France has always had excellent relations with That country. General de Gaulle even said that he wanted to build Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals.
The association “Committee for a New Resistance” supports the full exercise of our national sovereignty. Its purpose is inspired by the ideals and achievements of the National Council of Resistance created by Jean Moulin on May 27th, 1943 in Paris. True to the ideals of the Resistance, faithful to the words and actions of the leader of the France Libre, General de Gaulle, we refuse to submit to the submission to the policy of the United-States, we want the policy of France to fall in with friendly relations with Russia for a fair balance in Europe and in the world.
The voice of France must serve negotiation and dialogue, not confrontation.
We also believe that we must express to Russia the gratitude due to it, following its essential contribution to the defeat of Nazism. You must remember that this country allowed the destruction of the brown plague in Europe by sacrificing over 25 million Soviets in this merciless war.
Our association has been investigating since September 2014 on the rise of fascism and the war in Ukraine. Our goal is to inform our citizens on other aspects of the conflict.
We hosted on January 29th in Nice a delegation of Ukrainians from Odessa. These people explained to us the ongoing conflict and they also testified about the massacre of May 2nd 2014. On that day more than forty people died, burned alive in the Trade-Unions house. One person of the delegation lost, in these dramatic circumstances, his 27 years son brutally finished off by barbarians after trying to escape the flames by jumping out the window.
Following this meeting we were invited by the leaders of the demonstration on May 9th in Moscow to attend the parade for the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazism. The Delegation of the “Committee for a New Resistance-CNR”, an association composed of Resistants and children of Resistants, has acquired an important symbolic value.
Here are the four members of our delegation:
– Serge Lesou, resistant FTP and his daughter Sylvie Pillé.
– Claude Roddier, daughter of the commander of a “maquis” MUR of the Var, the maquis Vallier, and her daughter.
A conference to report on the official participation of our association in this event will
Take place in Nice, on Tuesday, June 9th, 2015. The members of the delegation will provide information about it. This will be an opportunity to continue our work for peace in Ukraine and Europe.
Lucien PONS President of the association “Committee for a New strength-CNR