Monday, September 12, 2005

The McDonald's segment of Bolshaya Bronnaya was already blocked off by the police around 2:30 pm; metal detectors were being installed at Novopushkinskiy Square, across Tverskaya from the Pushkin monument.

At 5 pm, as I was walking back home, a narrow corridor has been fenced off and a few dozen police and OMON fighters were standing along the perimeter and crowding near the metal detectors.

I came closer, planning to take some pictures, but was destracted by a flower vendor selling absolutely terrific Georgines, my weakness, right next to the metal fence and the cops. I asked her what was going on but she didn't know. Her spot, though, would give her the best view of whatever was about to happen there, I thought. I bought five gorgeous flowers from her, learned that their company was one of the two in Moscow growing these lovely things, and Moscow's mayor Luzhkov worshipped them.

Now that my hands were full and I couldn't take pictures of the cops, I decided to at least ask them why they were there. A young uniformed woman by the metal detector said there'd be a rally - but she didn't specify. A very young and very pretty uniformed guy next to her was smiling way too happily at me, and when I asked him what kind of a rally, he didn't stop smiling and replied: "In support of Khodorkovsky!" Maybe I misread it, but I think he also found it very amusing that so many of them were there, prepared to guard God knows who from, well, God knows who.

A dissidentish-looking woman in thick, ugly glasses ran up to me after I thanked the cute cop and asked the same question I asked him. I told her about Khodorkovsky and she smirked in a way I couldn't decipher.

The McDonald's segment of Bolshaya Bronnaya was still blocked for traffic, but now there were six OMON buses parked by the sidewalk: the type of buses they use to cart guys like Ilya Yashin to police department, with huge uniformed guys smoking nearby or sitting inside behind the neat curtains.

I really wanted to take a picture, despite the flowers in my left hand and the bag in my right, but suddenly I felt just too pregnant for that...


Back home, I went to Khodorkovsky's Press Center site (Russian and English) and read there (in Russian) that 150 people had been allowed to hold a rally today, to draw attention to the ongoing injustice and give publicity to the upcoming appeal hearing, scheduled for Sept. 14.


I've had this rare craving for McDonald's food for months now, so I guess I'll rush back there now, buy myself a strawberry milkshake and sit outside, watching the OMON fighters watch another tiny, harmless opposition event.


  1. Greetings Neeka,

    Thanks for the compliment earlier today about my daughter. You mentioned in this post your pregnancy, and I have been meaning to write and ask you, have you thought about going to a midwife? I thought to ask you this some weeks ago when I read your posts about Soviet/post-Soviet doctors and pregnancy. My partner, Zinta, had a midwife, and even had a homebirth. One of the big reasons for this was because of the nightmare stories. But also, many of my friends in the US also had midwives, because more and more people are opposed to the techniques and drugs that modern doctors use. Also, if you want to have an input into vaccinations--i.e., more and more people are prefering to wait some months before inundating their littles one's immune systems with drugs and bugs--it is best to go with a midwife. Soviet doctors were trained to give the first round of vaccines within 12 hrs. They will often take your babe away and bring him/her back all shot up. Also, there are stories of people who did not see their baby for 45 minutes or so after s/he entered the world. They take him/her and clean, and what not. Gotta be very careful. With a midwife, you have much more control over all aspects. And it is more natural--if you find a good one, then you can get connected to ages-old traditions and have the input of some really wise woman. There are websites out there, I am sure, you can find with discussion pages, etc., of women in Moscow who had midwives. There is such a site in Riga, and the women who are members of the site are planning to meet in person, and to even have the press present. They want to get the word out to other women about alternatives to hospitals. . .

    But whatever you do, good luck! I enjoy reading about your thoughts and reactions to your pregnancy!

    09.12.05 - 8:10 pm

  2. Thanks, Stefan!

    We are now considering our options - but I'm somehow sure we won't make up our minds until the very last minute, as we always do...

    I don't think I'm brave enough to have a homebirth, though - in this part of the world ambulances take forever to arrive, and that's just one of the risks. A friend of ours gave birth to both of her kids at home (no, the second birth was at the dacha, in winter!) - but I'm not that brave.

    What's your little girl's name?


    09.12.05 - 11:57 pm