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Kiselev, Anatoly
Written by   
, 17 2003

Age 48; Russia, Moscow

From Novaya Gazeta

Lyudmila Kiseleva showed me the photograph. So tell me, she asked. Can such a man really die? In the picture stood a well-built, handsome man who looked much younger than his 48years. Heresembled an American film hero, a mix of Tom Cruise, Kevin Costner, and Gary Cooper.

He was extraordinary, she said. Just read what he wrote. Many women say the same about their loved ones, especially if their loved ones are no more: extraordinary. Reading the text, and most of all, the labor of his life, Equitology, one can repeat Lyudmila's word: extraordinary.

He was a handsome boy, then later a student. First at the Nevelski nautical school in Vladivostok, then later at the Makarov naval academy in St. Petersburg. Hewas a navigator who sailed all the seas and oceans, and later a researcher at the oceanographic institute. Anatoly Kiselev was an inventor, a hunter, a fisherman, and an artist who was drawn into the philosophic games of Georgy Shchedrovitski. Anatoly Kiselev was keen on philosophy, a thorough student of Hegel, Bacon, Locke, and other foreign luminaries, as well as our own Marab Mamardashvili and Evald Ilenkov. Atwork his nickname was 'Hegellian', while at home he was 'the walking encyclopedia'. Hewrote a book Equitology.

Equitology is a word invented by Kiselev, derived from the Latin Aequitas, which means steadiness, proportionality, and equality before the law. Itis the study of symmetry in social systems as a subsystem of physics. Months at sea, days alone with nature while hunting or fishing, and hours at work when he was shut off from all vanities, allowed his mind to speculate, to look at matters without preconception, in an unstandard, fresh way. Itwas almost as if from childhood he had been searching for a truth that would seem shocking, and, at first, far from comprehensible.

He wrote: Alas, nothing could save Giordano Bruno from the judgement of the authorities or the crowd when he appealed to speculation. Thecrowd, first pointing to the midday sun, then drawing circles about their temples, added fuel to his fire. Whatwas obvious to the poorly educated crowd won a victory over speculation, while violence against the heterodox bore witness to defeat. (Here and further on Iquote from Equitology.)

Lyudmila Alexandrovna and Ispoke for manyhours.

Even though we lived together 30years, Iwas always in love with him.

Did you feel something?

No, Ijust watched.

Why did he go to 'Nord-Ost' alone?

You decided this because Ionly talk about him? No, we were together, but for some reason only Isurvived.

Did you often go to the theater?

Not often, because almost every free Saturday he went hunting Ican't tell you how much he loved hunting. Lookat his bookcase: books on hunting, guns Ioften stayed home. Theboys are grown. One's 30, the other's 28, and they have their own places. Soto keep me happy he agreed to go to that musical.

You never went hunting withhim?

Very rarely. Hewas happy when he was leaving and coming back. Preparing for the hunt, everything was the best: wife, kids, equipment. Whenhe'd come home, he'd say: 'I was sitting in the tree stand, and Iwas snug as a mouse, warm in the snow.' It was warm because his feet were in mukluks that he made from Elk hide. Wealways had meat at home, even when we were poor. Heknew how to cook game. Heeven made me a blouse, and for the kids, how many trousers and coats he made? Hecould do everything. Heknew how to be happy. Idon't remember when Italked him into going. Theticket lady said: 'We only have seats in the 22nd row'. Iasked if this was all the way in the back, but she said: 'I don't know'. Isaid: 'I don't want to be in the last seats'. Well, it turned out we were.

Kiselev's thesis was that there are natural and social sciences, and there are not separate from each other, since they work according to the same principles. Setting aside the natural laws, he thought up new social laws, believing that the other sciences had made several slips. After studying the philosophers Mamardashvili and Ilenkov, he read Marx from cover tocover.

He said that he knew what it was like to read Das Kapital, but could not imagine what it would take in order to write such a superhuman work. Thisevaluation, however, did not prevent him from finding mistakes in Marx's ideas, and he showed why a Soviet civilization built on the fundamentals of Marx had reached a dead end. Hewas convinced that he had found the true path. Sketching out the monetary cycle lead him to a new understanding in place of Marx. Wealways speak of value, but never of cost, and we use these with different meanings than the great German did. Kiselev discovered not only a law determining the conservation of value, but one governing the movement of profit.

Kiselev's book explains: Nowadays economists, of couse, read tea leaves, not knowing the law of profit movement and how it is connected to the laws of probabilities, like random coin tosses. Thepractical value of such a method is well known. Modern businessmen pay more attention to gypsy fortune tellers, astrologists, palm readers, and other sooth sayers, than they do those academics who call themselves economists.

Peering into the distant past, Kiselev found not only slaves and freemen, but rich slaves and poor freemen, or proletariats. World history travelled a path advantageous only to the elite: people were freed from slavery and given jobs only because it was cheaper. Insuch a way profit first appeared. Profit is simple: our bosses pay us the least possible, and get rich in the process.

He wrote: All workers these days are philanthropists who are donating their labor and receiving in return only a portion of their compensation. Inthis way they make their employers wealthy.

I asked Lyudmila how theymet.

I graduated from medical college and worked as a nurse. Ithen went into the fog, she told me. In the literal sense of the word. Iwent with a biological expedition to Sayansk. WhenI got there, Isat down at the bank of a mountain stream for two hours. Ijust couldn't tear myself away. Itwas a valley straight out of a fairy tale. Later, some kids came, and Anatoly was with them. Iwas working with the entomologists, and they were with the zoologists. Theywere high school students who were hired for the summer. Iwas 25, but Anatoly was 16, just out of 9th grade. I'd been married and divorced. Ialways think about how fortunate it was that we met. Later, a girlfriend of mine invited me over, she had graduated from the Biology College of Moscow University and was going on an expedition to Zeysk. Shewrote: 'You'll be an idiot if you don't come to Baikal he's right here'.

The whole group got together, then broke up. Onlyhe and Iwere left. Ihad a very strict supervisor, and she told me that Ihad to ask Anatoly's parents for permission to see him. WhenI told him this, he frowned: 'I decide these matters myself'. Iwas afraid of my supervisor, so Ibought a ticket to Moscow, to get away. Igot a telegram from my friend again, she said that she'd meet me at 3o'clock by the main post office in Irkutsk. SoI went to a village where Icould catch a bus to the train depot, and Anatoly was there. Heasked me where Iwas going, and if he could accompany me. Wetook a train to Irkutsk, together. Wecouldn't find my friend she had met two young men and had gone to Olhon island. Shelater married one of them."

And how was Baikal?

Baikal was like a movie, but it was awkward for me. Weonly had one sleeping bag, and no tent. Nofood they only had one rusted can of herring and some spaghetti in the store. Hefound a grotto, and we slept in it. Ourlove story began when Igot his first letter in Moscow.

A declaration oflove?

Yes, but a special one. Itshocked me. After the letter something happened.


I got ready to go on an expedition, it was still winter, yet it still seems to me that those winter days smelled of spring. Westarted seeing each other, and began a torrid love affair. Hewas just finishing 10th grade and had to go back to Vladivostok for his exams. Iwanted to go with him, but Igot a letter from his mother: 'Lyuda, leave my child alone'. Everyone was against me: my mother, his mother. Hismother and little sister came over to talk me out of it, to leave him alone. Itwas all terrible, but that was later. Whenhe left, Iwent kind of crazy. Itseemed to me that he was everywhere, just beyond every corner, behind every tree, past every creek. Whenhe died, it was the same way. Atthe time Ithought that we'd live together a year or two, but we stayed together for life.

Just before he went to the theater, Anatoly Kiselev wrote: The law of conservation of value and an understanding of the profit phenomenon is an extremely important body of knowledge. In practice, his theory was to be used by the government and its enterprises, as well as by private businessmen and their workers. Further: How can one distinguish a government's demand for taxes from extortion and racketeering? Howto distinguish that limited amount of taxes and duties, which in excess give the population a right to rebel and overthrow the authorities and constitute a threat to the nation? Onlyon the basis of a knowledge of the law of conservation of value.

Lyudmila explained: A rule he found in the work of an ancient Roman writer allowed him to consider as 'just' the profit from a capitalistic enterprise that averts the inevitable indignation of the masses and leads to real social peace and properity for all citizens. Thisrule, like other formulae, he presented mathematically. I'm not stong on mathematics, but Iwas spellbound by the classical literary style, the clarity of his understanding and rendering of it, and his love for thinking in paradox, which he used to train his mind. Itis well known that the beauty of a thought is one of the signs of its truth. Inany case, it all says that before me is an outstanding person.

No, he no longer beforeme.

He is no more.

Immortality, Kiselev thought, is provided by genius and culture, phenomena essential for mankind. Take away from human memory all inventions, he wrote. All ideas, all literary forms, poems, and even language, all that has been made through the creativity of people, and we are just several billion animals who would quickly gobble each other up until our numbers reached prehistoric levels.

I asked Lyudmila if, while sitting there in the theater hall, they were afraid ofdying.

Two times it was very frightening, she said. Once, when they put two chairs on stage and began to strap explosives to the backs, and one of them brought a canister and sat it on a chair. Theother time was when they began to set up the bomb in the hall, five rows from us. Istarted to tremble. Itried to think of something to calm myself down, and Isaid: 'Anatoly, we've already had a good life. Justlook at how many young people are here'.

Was he afraid?

I don't know. Healways said that there was nothing worse than death. In1995 he travelled to Izmail, he went on board the ship to see to the unloading of some cargo. There was a woman there, who the captain said was the wife of a sailor whom they always listened to regarding the future. Suddenly she grabbed Anatoly's arm and started to say something rapidly. Hegot interested, and asked her what had happened to him on October 11th, 1994. Shetold him that he met a UFO, but had behaved badly, aggressively, and that he should excuse himself to them next time. Hereally had seen a flying saucer while out hunting. Itflew out from the forest, and was so close that he was shocked, and so grabbed for his rifle.

It that all that she toldhim?

No, not all. Shesaid that he had little time left to live. Whenhe came home and told me about the woman, Istarted to cry, and Iasked how much time was left, ten years? Hesaid: 'Dream on', but never said how long.

When the gas was released, did you lose consciousness?

I came back from the toilet and saw that the whole hall was asleep, and that there was some kind of light-blue haze over the hall. Ithought that there was a fire, so Iwet my shawl and scarf. Iheld out the scarf to Anatoly, and he reached for it sluggishly, without opening his eyes. Idon't remember anything else. Iwoke up at the Sklifosovsky hospital. Thewatch Anatoly had given me had been stolen, and my best fur coat. Iwas very sad about the watch Anatoly had bought it for me in Spain when we were leaving the Salvador Dali museum. Iasked everyone at Sklifisovsky: 'Where's my husband? Where's my husband?' They wouldn't answer me. Iheard them say that Iwas gravely ill. Thenext day Iasked them what the problem was, they said that it was respiratory failure. There was nothing about this on my discharge papers, simply 'posthypoxic condition'. Whatis hypoxia? Youdon't feel good outside and so you have hypoxia.

Do you have any health problemsnow?

A big problem with my liver.

What did you think about at Dubrovka?

The whole time Ihad a feeling that they were going to blow us up, and that we'd all die. Butwe didn't die from Chechen bullets, or an explosion, but from our own troops. Ihate our government. Icouldn't live anywhere else, under any other government, but Ihate this one.

You didn't file a lawsuit?

I thought it over for days, in anger. I'm not worried about money, but about their lies. Someone must answer for Anatoly's death.

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