Saturday, July 25, 2009

Russia I love you, eventhough you can be so cruel

We saw the soldiers chanting a patriotic one-liner at the change of crew at a North-Chechen check point in the movie "Blokpost". “Where there are Russians – that is Russia.” I saw the hesitant faces of young men singing along, with poorly concealed doubt to the cause they fought for. You had tears in your eyes. What did you see? – I would give a million dollars for your thoughts that moment.

Green hills, snowcapped mountains on the horizon, but nobody there to eat the mulberries.

A swallow’s flight away under grapevines covered with light blue pesticide Kostya lights up a Prima cigarette with the nostalgic and nationalistic but ad-free paper Zaftra (tomorrow) in front of him. “You know the world is run by jews…” he says. The United States runs the world and sionists run the US, he continues, only interrupted by a cough.

It is Saturday so we drink “Baltika” beer and take turns in the wood stove sauna down at the dike below the corn, the potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, apples, raspberries and much more. I really enjoy the country life. Not quiet though; dogs bark, roosters call, cats fight and children play. The old sovkhoz village now lives off men working for the energy sector in Siberia. They manage quite well. The less fortunate spend their time in the relaxed state of home-made vodka. That they can afford.

Kostya explains that in the old days everybody had jobs, lived well, there was virtually no crime and all was fine. “But you lived under a dictatorship” I replied. “Well what do we have now? Bandit capitalism, people are dying because they cannot afford their medicine. I tell you it is genocide.” Then we return to the speal about the American-sionist conspiracy which brought down the Soviet Union.

When he merits Stalin his statesmanship I of course comment the twenty million dead we know about. “When you chop wood you get some splinters” he answers.

Tollik comes by for his usual Saturday visit. He tells me he saw a documentary recently about the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia 1968. He had seen it with his own eyes back then as a Red Army tank crewman. The film’s critical and questioning approach had affected him. “It made me sick”, he said. To myself I thought it adds to the credit of Russian society that such a documentary was aired and people were coming to terms with the past.

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