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Notes From Russia – Part two: Human rights? No, thank you.


Anna Titova August 13, 2012
1 Notes From Russia   Part two: Human rights? No, thank you.

Working class pride

Most of you people surely people have iPhones, iPads and – obviously – internet. So how come I get photographed in the underground railway for having a half sleeve tattoo? And since the air is basically boiling here, there’s a lot of my inked body exposed to be stared at. Come on, are you really that sexist, narrow-minded and primitive? All those nice little old pagan ladies seem to think that I am an abomination so I can just go on with my evil plans. One of them even wanted to drag me to the next church to exorcize my demons.
Talking about demons, I don’t really like to talk about politics although I used to be active in the ultra left wing movement when I lived in Moscow. The thing is you get pretty much helpless and it is hard to retain hope regarding any positive changes in this country. But I just get so angry about so many things every time I get back here.
So I guess everyone has already heard about PUSSY RIOT. I mentioned it in the first part. For those who hasn’t, I can explain the case briefly. There was this band, punk and feminist. And they liked to play in places where they could be heard by the yawning lot of, let’s say, non-punk people. Their last venue happened to be the Church of Christ the Savior. And the song was a kind of rebel prayer to the Mother of God to release the nation from the Big Brother aka Mr. P. So the girls are in the pretrial incarceration, being mistreated and ridiculed by the unfairness of it all. The state channels and Kremlin-friendly media are doing nothing but portraying them as terrorists (“and we do not take terrorists kindly around here”). When I hear people express their humble opinions on that matter it could be hilarious if it wasn’t so horrifying. My mom said, the girls are simply hungry for fame. Can you believe that? You would think it’s just the highly religious soviet generation, but the younger people are no better if they are not to busy to care anyway.
Honestly, I am not really optimistic. When anti-fascists and journalists get killed, it takes years to even consider opening a case. And it mostly gets lost somewhere between counting bribes and arresting immigrants for being immigrants. Or stuff like that. But okay, people sometimes do surprise.

2 Notes From Russia   Part two: Human rights? No, thank you.

Assembly of the nations

I stopped watching the news years ago and if I do from time to time it seems like the best comedy show around. So I get my news from friends and social networks. Here are some stories I heard this summer.
First, there was a flood in the south of Russia. I actually read about it in a German newspaper, but since I always question the credibility of info in the mass media, I asked my best friend A. what she heard about this catastrophic event.
“I actually found out what happened about a day after. Just turned on the TV and every channel’s news was trying to convince people that the stuff on vkontakte.ru (russian social network) was a load of crap. I had no idea what they were talking about so I logged in and started reading the status updates and watching videos. The news said it was raining hard in the town of Krymsk. And by the night it was flooded up to the first floor. Body-count 170 people. But the eyewitnesses I’ve seen said there was no warning, no sirens, no electricity, no rescue commandos, nothing to keep people from drowning in their sleep. And no money afterwards. I looked up the town, where it was and how big it was. No way there were only 170 deaths. Try 2000! I’ read there was an order from the high above only to give away the information that no more than 200 people died. And the reason was… There was this storage pond that needed draining and the water could run either towards some huge factory of the town Krymsk. Well, I guess the town was worth less. ”
The problem is that you can never know what exactly happened in such cases and they are getting countless. One thing is pretty clear – people are completely on their own when it comes to life and death.

Another thing that struck my mind as highly disgusting. I was talking with my other friend A. about legendary Moscow traffic jams. There was one particular question that worried me, namely, how do ambulances and firemen get to the place without people dying? And there have been cases where people actually have died at the traffic light. But one thing blew my mind.
“There were these guys who made a kind of a field experiment. There was a rumor that businessmen use ambulance cars to avoid traffic problems. So those guys took a camera and came up to an ambulance car parked somewhere in the down town asking the driver whether he could help a sick friend. The “paramedic” refused instantly even after 10 minutes of begging, shot the door and rolled up the windshields. No questions on why he was actually there were answered. That’s how it works”.
Conclusion undrawable.

3 300x210 Notes From Russia   Part two: Human rights? No, thank you.

The citadel of Gazprom and the Tower of Parlament

The last story is my favorite. It depicts how the political situation just reached the whole new level of ridiculous. My friend V. told me about a friend of hers who works as a local official.
“Her company was informed that all employees are going to participate in a president support demonstration. It was also made clear that if they refused to take part they would most certainly lose their jobs. So they all were stuck in a bus and taken to some location where they had to praise the president for eight hours. It was not very warm so they all were given blankets with the image of Mr. P. on each one. What a great way to spend government money! Later that day there was a certain kind of warm beverage with alcohol, nothing special. And my friend told me she felt drugged and cloudy after just one cup… Maybe she was just hungry.”
This is all very strange and incredibly sad. And the thing is, you can never know what really happened. People can demonstrate, write blogs and criticize the government. The only change that can happen is they getting arrested. My best friend A. said a great thing as we talked about conspiracy theories:
“Conspiracies? We don’t need them. People are asleep anyway.”

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