Russia: Ethnic Uzbek in Moscow

Global Voices Online
Friday, May 26, 2006

Moscow-based LJ user gr_s (Grigoriy Sapov) hitched a cab and ended up having a conversation with the driver, an ethnic Uzbek (RUS):

An Uzbek Driver

Yesterday. The driver is elderly, respectable, speaks without an accent:


The conversation began when we were getting out to the embankment through Neopalimovskie Lanes.

- Take these garbage containers. Recently, in Grokholskiy, in the backyard, I found a Singer sewing machine standing next to a container like this. Someone put it out there and, interestingly, attached a hand-written note: "In working order." I loaded it into the car - my personal car has seats that can be lowered, so it fit. Took it to my son - my middle son runs a small metal repairs shop, and one more son has chosen our ancestors' way - he sews footwear, bags, and works with leather in general. So they cleaned it, installed an electric engine. It works well, sews through leather alright. And it says on it that it was made in 1928, by the way.


I have six children. Four sons, two daughters. The oldest one is in Malaysia, plays football. He was here in winter - bought us an apartment, two rooms in Mitino. At school my sons attended (and the youngest one attends still), they asked me at a parents' meeting to talk about how I'm raising my sons so that they don't drink and don't swallow some crap. Maybe, they say, this is because you're an Uzbek, not a Russian person. I replied to them that even though I am an Uzbek, I spent 20 years serving in the Soviet Army. So my answer about sons is simple: [I beat them]. They said, How terrible, and didn't allow their children to play with mine. Now three of my sons have been long out of school, almost all their classmates have become drunks, some are drug addicts. There was a boy, everyone praised him for good grades, and he is serving his second sentence now. So it turns out that I was raising my sons the right way. And their way was wrong.


My wife says that the mother of our daughter's friend called and asked:

- Is it true that your husband sells kvas [fermented non-alcoholic drink]?
- No, it's not true. Who told you this nonsense?
- Your son, when they had a written survey, responded to the question on the parents' work with "father sells kvas, and my daughter saw it.

I ask him in the evening:

- Timurchik, why did you write that I sell kvas?
- If I wrote that you are a driver for a Western company, and if I mentioned what car you're driving, they'd jump on you, and would extort money and gifts from you, the way they do with other parents who earn well.


- Do you speak Uzbek or Russian ay home?
- Well, our children live here, go to school here. I send them to their grandmother for the summer, to Andijon, they get the language back and by the end of the summer can say everything in Uzbek, and they understand everything. Here in Moscow, they, of course, speak Russian with each other, and my wife and I speak Uzbek. That, we speak both at home.


- I've got give education to one son and marry my daughters, and that's it.
- Is it important for you that they marry Uzbeks?
- (Thinks, roughly from Borodinsky Bridge to Novoarbatskiy Bridge) Yes, it is important.
- Why?
- It won't work for them otherwise. It won't be a family for them, it'll be nothing but misery. (Fell silent again, as we were driving past the White House.) Strange things are taking place. I think that Russians have won such wars, and in general, they are a kind, open-minded people. And on TV they are being told to attack other peoples. It shouldn't be this way.

No comments: