Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I've had this totally atypical housewifely encounter today.

Our washing machine was broken when we moved in, and I was really grateful when the repairman finally showed up: a couple more days, and I was facing Mishah's rebellion when he ran out of things to wear.

The repairman was short yet sturdy, a former PE teacher, originally from Kazakhstan. We chatted while he worked, about kids, sports, Ukrainian language, the Orange Revolution - and the relatively recent, failed, attempts to secede, undertaken by Kazakhstan's Russian Cossacks. The repairman had been one of the Cossack activists.

He called himself a "Russian Nationalist" (admitting, though, that he had some Ukrainian and Belarusian roots). He said he'd been jailed for his involvement in politics (back in Kazakhstan). He said that they'd been persecuted not by the Kazakh secret services - but by the Russian FSB. He said that the only people from Russia, the historic homeland, who'd had the guts to support them were Eduard Limonov's National Bolshevik Party guys. I said Limonov was making me sick, and the repairman said he disliked Limonov, too. He called himself a "political technologist" and was curious about my opinion on why the Orange Revolution succeeded. I said that the Yanukovych persona had played a great role - had they picked someone less obnoxious, many people would have prefered to stay home and watch TV, instead of going out to Maidan. He said he'd heard other people say the same thing, which meant it was true. He said he expected many bad things to happen in Ukraine in the near future (including bloodshed in Crimea) - but believed that Yushchenko was far better for Russia than Yanukovych would have been: because Yanukovych would have been demanding special treatment from Russia, free gas and all, but with Yushchenko, all Ukraine's future problems would be Ukraine's only, and Russia wouldn't be to blame for any of them. I said I'd heard it from other people, too, and completely agreed: Ukraine's problems are none of Russia's business, and it's good they are finally beginning to understand it.

All in all, the repairman wasn't a bad man. I gave him tea and chocolates when he was done with the washing machine; he bummed a cigarette from me. I paid him; he signed all the papers and gave me a discount card.

I googled his name after he left, just out of habit, not really expecting to find anything. But he was there, mentioned in quite a few nationalist sources. I don't think it'd be fair to disclose his identity any further than I've already done - after all, he told me at some point that everything that was being published on the Internet was "a gift for the CIA."

Well, just one more thing: the repairman is briefly mentioned in one of Eduard Limonov's books, The Anatomy of a Hero, posted on the NBP's site in full (in Russian). Back in 2001, the Russian authorities accused Limonov of "plotting a series of terror attacks and [...] an armed invasion of northern Kazakhstan, where they tried to recruit volunteers to carry out a plan entitled 'A Second Russia'." As a result, Limonov spent over two years in custody and in jail.

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