Russia: "Mama, We're In Hell!"

Global Voices Online
Thursday, August 23, 2007

The short entry below (RUS), by LJ user smitrich, has been one of the most popular ones in the Russian blogosphere this week:

A friend was on a Helsinki-Moscow train and got stuck in the railway traffic jam, caused by [the crash in Novgorod region].

The train was re-routed through [Pskov] region. They traveled for [one day and one night]. In the compartment next door, a girl aged 20 or so, [dressed like a rich person], who must have never been outside of Moscow on anything but a plane, began to panic. She was breathing heavily, looked out of the window, horrified, and kept calling her mama on the phone.

- Oh, what taxi! A taxi to where?! I don't know where we are, mama! There are some fences here! And cow barns! Mama, we're in hell! We're in hell, mama!

This story has received 469 comments so far; here are a few of them, translated from Russian:


The Pepsi generation has grown up...


Ah, what Pepsi? It's [Denis Fonvizin's Mitrofanushka], [...], "Why study geography when you can get anywhere by carrier?" Only this is a female version.


It wouldn't hurt to take many of the adult, male writers from Moscow on a ride along this road.



When my friends went on a car trip to St. Pete, their kid started begging them to take him "back to Russia" about 50 km from the [MKAD beltway].


Is it possible to build and maintain cow barns and pigsties in a way that they wouldn't remind one of hell? ;)


Ten percent of Russia's population live in Moscow... and the other 90 percent work for [Moscow].


Why don't you try to move to Moscow and work there? First, get an education - so that they hired you, and then learn to get up at 5 am - to get to the other end of the city on time, and then we'll talk.


[...] In [Kursk] region, an average farmer's salary is 4.500 rubles [$180 a month].

7,000 rubles a month [$280] is considered a very decent salary.

10,000 rubles [$400] is a crazy amount of money for a village.

The region's population is 1.2 million people, 800,000 of them or so live near [the city] Kursk, the region's territory is close to that of Belgium. [...]

This is where Russia is, basically. And Moscow is far away somewhere.


[...] It's reminded me of how I was on a commuter train from [Smolensk] one winter. As the train was leaving the station [...], all you could see were two or three little lamps in the houses at a distance and darkness for the next half an hour...

"Here's where it'd be scary to live - no one to get an ambulance to arrive," - my relatives told me.

Let this discovery of the Province be a lesson for this [spoiled girl] - she'll at least know that many people in Russia live in similar conditions, in cow barns and barracks, and they don't have the time for fireworks of live butterflies and toilets made of gold... many have never seen hot water leaking out of their taps... many have to carry their cold water from [an outdoor tap]... [...]


I got my daughter to read this blog, explained to her about the girl's glossy-plastic world and why she was horrified by the landscape many people are used to, and why there've been so many comments.

My daughter listened to it all and said: "I wish I could spend some time living like this girl, mama!"

My daughter is 11.


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