Friday, September 10, 2004

It turns out that at least one of the bank accounts set up for Beslan victims is fake. The one that, allegedly, belongs to the Osetian branch of the RRC. Several news outlets, including today's NTV 10 p.m. news, have quoted RRC representatives saying they have only one account and don't know anything about the other one, except that it's out there and it's not theirs.

This must be quite confusing for most laymen (it sure has confused me, okay?) - partly because there's no straightforward info on which one of the accounts listed in various sources is fake (there's no BEWARE! notice anywhere), partly because of the typos (on, they typed in "7" instead of "1" in a 20-digit account number), and also because an average account looks like this:

?? "????-????" ?. ?????? [LOKO-Bank, Moscow]
??? 7728014523
?/? 40703810000000338003
?/? 30101810500000000161
??? 772801001
????? 98600
???? 00016780
??? 044585161

(This, I assume, is what you need to know to fill out the donation form at the bank; I've underlined the most crucial info - the account number itself; the letters that some of you can't read are in the Cyrillic script, and to me they look like some meaningless abbreviations followed by some meaningless numbers - I'm neither a banker nor an accountant.)

I decided to look more closely at the account numbers I've been given by the St. Pete RRC woman - and somehow it seems like one of the numbers I have doesn't match anything else available. It's the one that the woman said was the main RRC account:

407 038 108 320 000 014 70

I called the RRC Moscow office tonight (around 10:30 pm) and spoke with one adorable doctor (whose name I didn't ask, again). He gave me this account number as the main one:

407 038 100 000 003 380 03

And this one (based in North Osetia, strangely; but the St. Pete woman gave it to me too, plus I've seen it listed elsewhere; so many people can't be wrong): 407 038 109 000 100 011 57

I asked him to please write down the number their St. Pete representative had given me and ask someone to look at it tomorrow (and I didn’t tell him I suspected she had given me her own account or something – because I’m sure I’m wrong suspecting this). He said he didn't know anything about all this financial shit, even though his daughter worked at a bank - and so we ended up talking a little bit about the RRC Moscow office routine these days:

There are 50 people employed there and they are flooded with the stuff people are bringing. Today, he said, they’ve loaded 21 tons/100 cubic meters on an IL-76 plane – mainly toys and clothes for the Beslan kids.

And various businesses have finally woken up today, too, after some pretty serious beating that the media gave them. Today, the doctor said, some guy arrived at the RRC Moscow office, in a truck filled with 5 tons of cookies, 3 kg per box.

It’s nice, of course, the doctor said, but what are the people in Beslan going to do with all these cookies? And then he told me that he had fought in Afghanistan for three years (he must be in his late 40s now, or early 50s) and he knows all about the horrors of war, and if something like this happened to his kid and then someone showed up at his door with some cookies!.. – he wouldn’t be too nice to them.

I’m glad I’ve talked with this doctor. I’m more willing now to donate some money to the RRC (although I’d still prefer to give it to some Beslan family directly, just to be sure that they’ll have it and not some fat ass at the ministry of health).

When the doctor learned I was calling from St. Pete, he said he studied here a long time ago, loved the city and knew that the people of St. Pete were very kind and generous. He said it so beautifully that I didn’t tell him I was actually from Kyiv. I just thanked him and promised myself to make a donation. And I almost started crying when I was saying good-bye to him – because I’m too emotional now in general, and because it’s so wonderful to know there're some really sweet people out there.

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