Man From Siberia Knocks on the Doors of the State Legislature
Mann aus Sibirien Klopft an dir Tore des Landtags
Wanner, Helmut. "Man From Siberia Knocks on the Doors of the State Legislature." Mittelbayerische Zeitung, 7 August 2008.
This translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado
*Biography: *Arthur Bechert was born on May 29, 1964, the son of a family of five Germans in Russia. He studied physics at the Tomsk University, completing his studies at age 22. After emigrating to Germany, at age 34, he completed a four-year doctoral program. Currently he is a consultant for organizations and information management at Audi and is commuting to Ingolstadt.
*Security Watch:* For twelve years, Bechert volunteered with the Regensburg Security Watch. He comments: "The rate of criminality among Germans from Russia is below that of the total population."
*Union of Refugees and Aussiedler:* Dr. Bechert succeeded Dr. Gero Kollmer as county chair. He is also deputy chair for the state organization.
*The Association of Refugees* counts him as district chair.
*Landsmannschaft:* The former state chair for Germans from Russia is now also a member of the national board.
*Association of German-Russian Scientists and Academicians*: The PhD physicist is state chair for this group.
Dr. Arthur Bechert is the first and only one of three million Germans from Russia running for office in a German parliament.
Regensburg. The Regensburg resident Dr, Arthur Bechert is a unique one. The man from Siberia is the only German from Russia who wants to be a professional politician in Germany. His chances? Even state minister Emilia Mueller, ranked number 1 on the district list of the CSU [Christian Socialist Union - a Bavarian-only political party - Tr.] is fearing for her reelection to the state parliament of Bavaria.
The times when the CSU would gain "60 percent plus" votes are gone. Party friends say, "Bechert? He'll place ninth -- zero chances."
Such "encouraging" statements have become familiar to the man from Siberia ever since his arrival in Germany. When the degreed engineer arrived in 1990, he was supposed to take part in a German-language course along with housewives -- sufficient for someone driving a bus. However, he sued 450 marks of his own money to take a German-language course at the Goethe Institute in Munich, and today he speaks so perfectly that he works part-time as a certified translator and Regensburg city guide. Education is everything.
At the employment office he was told, "You'll never work as a physicist." The now well-paid process and IT consultant with Audi did not listen at the time. And now, prior to the campaign struggle, he refuses to throw in the towel, although he is somewhat disappointed by his party.
"I was thinking we would fight the campaign together, devise a concept, and distribute responsibilities. But here everyone fights for himself." Given this egotistical stance, the state appears not to be steering toward good sailing water. Bechert became a candidate because he felt the pressure to find an ear for his countrymen in the Bavarian state legislature. From a member of a minority that was ever discriminated against in Siberia, we buy that argument.
Dr. Bechert points to four figures in Valhalla. he says that Germans from Russia possess, especially today, great potential for our state. For one, they accept any job offered them. Among German cleaning ladies and :Discount"-salespersons there is a great number of former teachers. Secondly, because they are employed they are no burden to the government. Thirdly, they have a sense of family. [Author doesn't cite a fourth reason. - Tr.]
On the other hand, Germans from Germany seem to view their brethren and sisters [from Russia - Tr.] with undisguised suspicion. "They're hardly here and already they have built a house," it is said. Bechert asks, "Why do our people build so quickly? In public we are open to attack, without protection -- whether in Russia or here in Germany."
The father of three boys (the youngest being a member of a choir of the Domspatzen [a famous boys choir - Tr.], is counting on the votes of 14,000 Germans from Russia and on the votes of those who demonstrate responsibility for their state. "The second vote gets you a personal choice," he says.
Like the OeDP [possibly a union - Tr.], he demands equal taxation and the right of all family members to vote. For him, five members of a family means five votes. He says that heads of families are the ones betrayed. They must divide their income and must pay more value-added taxes, automobile taxes, property taxes than those without children.
His wife Irene (37), nee Stark, a future elementary school teacher, thinks that her Arthur is a born optimist. She loves this energy bundle, who was born on May 29, 1964 during the Chinese Year of the Dragon. The two met in GUlag Camp # 33 of a Siberian special settlement for Germans, not a place for romance, but a concrete basis for a marriage that by now has lasted twenty years.
The Bechert boys (10, 14, and 18 years of age) are in great shape as well. Every morning, father wakes them up for jogging. In Burgweiting, the four are warming up for Germany ...
Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.