Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I've been pretty busy at Global Voices lately, no time to post anything here.

Three posts dealing with xenophobia, in one way or another:

Feb. 8 - on nationalism

Feb. 10 - on the attack on Aidar Buribayev

Feb. 12 - on two subway Lezginka dancers

The last one is short and fun, and though there're some nasty comments there as well, they don't leave that horrible aftertaste as similar ones in other posts do. Or maybe I've become immune by now.

Here's the video (one of the three) of the two guys dancing Lezginka in a subway car, most likely in Moscow - it's weird and beautiful:

I hope to be able to take a break from this topic now - hope nothing bad's going to happen in the next few weeks. I do need a break from this.


To be fair, though, Moscow is nowhere near as scary as it may seem from these posts. I'm speaking, of course, from my current housewifely perspective: a few hours out in the city on Saturday and Sunday is such a luxury for me now. I go shopping for books and for baby clothes, and it seems as if the whole city is out shopping as well.

In one store, I saw three Asian guys - foreign students, most likely - speaking with a young Asian saleswoman, a Russian Asian: I caught myself thinking of how sweet they looked - not lonely, not lost, not foreign for at least a few minutes.

And then I took a cab home, and the driver of the old Zhiguli was Armenian, and I showed off my Armenian vocabulary to him, very tiny by now, and he said that Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians shouldn't have split apart, and I didn't tell him that many Slavs think that all those Caucasian wars were complete nonsense, too, and instead I told him that history was such a complex thing, such a mess, and then mentioned Sergei Parajanov, a great Armenian who made the greatest Ukrainian film and was sent to rot in the camps for that... And the Armenian driver suddenly filled with joy and told me he had met Parajanov once - even had a picture taken next to him - and I told him that I was supposed to meet Parajanov, too, when I was still in my mama's belly, in late 1973 - but Parajanov got arrested right before that party to which my parents had been invited to be introduced to him. (My mama did meet Parajanov before he died in 1990, very briefly, beautifully briefly, but I'll write about it in a separate post later.) Anyway, with the sweet Armenian driver, we didn't dwell on the gloomy things; we just agreed that only a fool would expect something nice from Moscow, and I added that this is why Moscow can feel so pleasant sometimes - because you expect all those bad things to happen, and they don't, and this makes you feel extremely good. (Not so in St. Pete, in my experience: there, you think of all that goddamn culture, but instead keep bumping into swastikas and stepping into dog shit all the time...)


  1. Scandal in Russian army - privates forced into prostitution - stories like this infuriate/anger me. Why oh why do they not overhaul the armed forces?

  2. It's so true about Moscow...I just remember these little "reprieve" moments in the midst of stress and confusion. But as a non-native speaker, I didn't get to have those consoling talks with taxi-drivers. I'm sure you made his day!

    Sorry about the racist freaks in your comment section above! Khren s nimi!

  3. love your views into real life, Nika - thanks for all your posts

  4. Julia, was "Sorry about the racist freaks in your comment section above!" referring to the Russian army scandal story????

    The url was from a news service and it may seem outlandish but it is real - pls. educate yourself.

    "Russian Prosecutors to Investigate Forced Prostitution in Military Forces"

    Russian prosecutors would launch an investigation on allegations that young conscripts were forced into prostitution by fellow soldiers, a spokesman for St. Petersburg’s military prosecutor said, the Associated Press reported February 12.

    "Russian army sold recruits for sex, rights group claims"

    Russia's scandal-prone military was gripped by allegations yesterday that cash-strapped senior officers had forced young conscripts to work as male prostitutes.

    According to the rights group Union of the Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia, conscripts at an army base in St Petersburg were compelled to perform sexual services for influential middle-aged clients, among whom was a former general in the FSB intelligence agency.


    "Russian prosecutors are investigating claims that young conscripts are being forced into prostitution by senior officers for a "network of clients" in St. Petersburg. The older officers then keep the cash for themselves, according to the accusations. While a spokeswoman for the human rights group Soldiers' Mothers called forced prostitution in the Russian army "not at all unusual," the current investigations stem from the particularly brutal account of one 20-year-old: ..."

  5. Julia, was "Sorry about the racist freaks in your comment section above!" referring to the Russian army scandal story????

    The url was from a news service and it may seem outlandish but it is real - pls. educate yourself.

    Oh boy, so many emotions here lately.

    No, Julia was referring to the comment section of a different post here, a few of them, actually.

    Please be more heedful before devoting so much of your time to educating others.

    Thank you,

  6. As Julia's comment referenced the "in your comment section above" it is of no surprise that a misunderstanding ensued, as what is "in your comment section above" happens to be the one which I posted.

    Veronica, thank you for the clarification.