In the magic land of Armenia, the legal order was proving its efficiency. Trials of law-breakers were proceeding so fast no one could keep track of them.
Not even judges. They could hardly keep order in their courtrooms but they were intent on keeping order in the country.
This time the magic had become more magical than ever. Not a single law enforcement officer had broken the law. On the contrary, order had been disrupted by citizens who did not agree with the authorities; and that was breaking the law.That citizens had been killed did not figure in any of the trials in this land of magic.
Justice was swift for the citizen law-breakers. Investigations of suspicious activities by the authorities would take a long time. One had to be very careful when the possibility of lawlessness might involve the authorities. One had to be very, very careful. Bless the judges who, in their infinite wisdom, could distinguish between what was self-evident: common citizens, enemies of the state and the only ones who could break the law; and the state, that could never break any law. After all, weren’t its servants the ones were the law.
One should feel strong sympathy for the judges. This is really a difficult time for them. They are all decent people, they have families and friends, neighbors and relatives. The magic land of Armenia is a village, everyone is related to everyone else. Somehow. Who knows who could appear in their courtroom?
These are difficult times. Judges are people who have read the law, well, at least have heard of them. Some of them even have experience navigating between the set of laws that are in the books and the real law that governs the state.
But the law that governs the state is the one that counts. They all know it. Should any judge decide to think of the laws of the land as being above that of the authorities, they would remember their unfortunate colleague who was summarily dismissed because he defied the legality of the arrest order of an opponent of the administration. And that was before the presidential elections. How much swifter would justice be for any of them if they strayed from the program set by the administration!
“Do you know how much it cost me and my relatives to get me into law school,” one judge confided, “and what it costs me to be a judge and remain a judge?”
He could still rely on the principle of the law, his young son had argued.
“Do I look like an idiot to you?” retorted the judge and reminded him of the good life he had offered the unruly offspring.
But the judge cared about his son and what his son thought of him. “Judges are there to interpret the law and to decide what laws are to be applied against whom, when, and under what circumstances”, he explained to his son. “In a way, I am doing my job, son.”
Since time immemorial which, for judges goes as far back as the Soviet period, judges have been good servants of the state. Knowledge of the law was an excuse to live better. (Unless, of course, you were a dissident. In that case knowledge of the law was an excuse for the authorities to send you to an insane asylum.)
From Soviet times judges and prosecutors had learned not to display their wealth. Still, there were two categories of judges and prosecutors. Those who took money because of need and those did it for sheer greed. The first settled down and sometimes even dispensed justice. The latter took money, always, as a matter principle. There were always ways to improve and upgrade one’s living standards, however high they were to start with.
Attempts to improve the dispensing of justice were not very successful. But now all of that does not matter. Now these poor judges and prosecutors don’t have the luxury of that refined distinction.
Now they are all afraid. The law of fear is higher than any other law. The fear of the law that is above any law. Who knows what accident may fall upon their careers or lives?
So the distraught judges are judging the new dissidents brought to their courts by even more distraught prosecutors. The problem is that the new dissidents are not dissidents. They are the majority. No law or resolution will reduce them to dissidents.
And these judges and prosecutors know it. Just because they are afraid or corrupt does not mean they are stupid. More important, they cannot be made stupid. Their own sons and the daughters of their neighbors will make sure of that.
Have you seen those judges leaving the courtrooms in the middle of a trial and the prosecutors deciding not to have dinner out? Unless at a secured restaurant and with other prosecutors? A minor inconvenience, maybe. There are laws that are above the unwritten laws that are above the written laws.
Where I live, the even more magical land of Russia, these are all known processes. In many ways, Russia has served as an example to the magicians of Armenia who could manufacture an election and hope to engineer a society.
But no, in this case, Armenia has moved ahead.
Dissidents are still dissidents in Russia.
Not in Armenia.
By Grigor Kharkiev, Moscow