Russia: Moscow's (In)Accessibility

Global Voices Online
Friday, November 3, 2006

Perekhod: an underground walkway in Moscow - by

The hype surrounding the Russian blogosphere's fate has subsided, and the collective attention has shifted to the fate of tomorrow's Russian March.

One Moscow blogger, however, is concerned about something quite different: LJ user kmaka (quoted in a recent translation) and her 4-month-old daughter in a pram are doomed to stay on one side of Tverskaya St. only. Here is why (RUS):

My patience is up

People with prams in the city center get abused systematically and quietly. From [Okhotnyi Ryad] to [Mayakovskaya], there is not a single [underground walkway equipped with a] ramp that would allow to cross Tverskaya with a pram. It's okay, though, we are used to it by now and walk on our side of the street.

There are practically no grocery stores anymore, and the only one left, Eliseevskiy, had a surprise for us: I approached the check-out counter with the pram today, but failed to get out. For security purpose, the store has installed additional scanners that have devoured 5 cm of the aisle, and as a result, no standard-sized pram can pass through. Mine was being carried out manually today, like [Lenin's corpse], by compassionate customers. Security guards stayed unmoved.

Tomorrow, I'll go talk with the store's management about violation of the Law of the City of Moscow #3, of Jan. 17, 2001, on citizens with impaired mobility.

I wonder if my journalist [LJ] friends would be interested in writing about it all. I'm ready to supply tons of material on "One day in the life of a young mother with a pram in the center of Moscow."

Judging by the comments to this post, kmaka is not the only one frustrated - and her reasons for frustration aren't the only ones, either:

prudi: By the way, only once have I seen a public bathroom [that could be accessed by] people with disabilities. [...]

ssspring: [...] Even when there are ramps, they don't fit strollers, and parents of 2-3-year-old kids have to drag both strollers and the kids in their hands through all underground walkways.

anya_anya_anya: I sympathize! I know what it feels like. It's no different outside city center. But motherhood is happiness. Imagine, however, what life for someone in a wheelchair is like in our wondrous city... Our state doesn't like its citizens.

kmaka: Honestly, I don't care who is happy or not. There is a store that I frequent and where I leave - believe me - a lot of money. And if my pram can't get through in there, I'll send an inspection and fines their way.


kmaka: And it's not making me feel better at all to know that someone's having it even worse.


miumau: [...] In Germany, most stores have a wide check-out counter [...] that has those extra 5 cm for strollers, etc...

And often it does help to intimidate them with journalists. Maybe you should promise that if they move [the scanners], they'll get some praise and promotion in an article? ;-)

kmaka: I've already been there today and talked to them. They've found a wide check-out :)


fasilitator: [...] In our [small town near Moscow], stores have this note on their doors: "Do not enter with prams!" And only in the past two years, other stores have appeared, only you have to drive through a potato field there.


alisezus: There was time when I dreamed of walking down the streets of Moscow with a baseball bat, smashing to hell the windows of all cars parked on sidewalks.

1 comment:

kmaka said...

Pretty funny to find my posts translated in English. Thanks alot. It's looks much better in translation ^)