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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Suspicion and indifference

Not long ago, I came across material from CNN, where canadian photojournalist tells how he made a photo report about Moscow metro. (Our metro he praises the Museum as a phenomenon, which has no analogues in the world.) So, he got official permission to take pictures at night. He was given a Russian escort, with whom he descended into the subway at night. One day while shooting a policeman approaches them, asks documents. He is shown an official permit and other papers. The guard sternly looks at the paper and asks, “Canada? And you are participating in sanctions against Russia?”

I didn’t have to happen in North Korea, but I can imagine that there are similar issues in a similar situation — in the order of things. As for a more sane world, possible with confidence to say that there cannot be, because it can never be. Working as a journalist in Europe and in America, including in periods of worsening relations between the Soviet Union, later Russia, and the West, I’ve never heard of alert issues from the sphere of high politics, set in ordinary, everyday situations. In a normal country, the police is engaged in police issues and problems in world politics are concerned with very different people — diplomats and heads of state. But this is not mother Russia: in the minds of the people remain stubbornly (and lately more and cultivated the power of) the remnants of the Stalinist vigilance. As writing on Souvenirs, made under pre-war poster: “Be on the alert — in such days, overhear walls…” Only “alert”, in fact, written together. As vigilant and “not for nothing” from which some get as many as three words: “not simple”.

But the vigilance of another kind attention to strangers, caught in some difficult or dangerous situation in Russia is rare. A typical case, which last summer said a resident of Yaroslavl on one of the city sites: her father on the street it became bad with heart, he leaned on the wall and slowly slid to the ground… Thought someone would wander up and ask what’s going on, but all indifferently walked past”. Fortunately, helped of the pills he always carried with him…

In the Union of Belarus three years ago, employees of the Gomel traffic police held an action “Not stay indifferent”. On the side put “injured cyclist” is most likely a mannequin, next to which was placed the crumpled bike, snow stained with ketchup… the Result? In the next hour passed without stopping, more than 600 cars, including the car “ambulance”. I don’t think the results would have been different if the experiment was conducted at Moscow or Kursk. That’s somewhere in the North or in Siberia — otherwise there, other people live there, helpful and ready to help. The harsh environment has taught them to survive, helping out each other. At the time, I traveled a lot on business trips to those regions from the Kola Peninsula to Chukotka — and always wondered: how the northerners, the Siberians, the far East better than us, the inhabitants of the capital!

You can, of course, attribute it to the harsh nature and leave it at that. But personally, I don’t. Because I remember a case which occurred to me in Denmark in 1978. In this country, where there are almost no real winters, in that distant year, there was a lot of snow. On the way from Copenhagen to Hillerød I got off the highway on a roadside — and miscalculated, moved too far from the roadway, the car fell into the deep snow and sat down on his belly. A chance to get out I didn’t have, especially since a had no shovel, no chains on the wheels — nothing. Came out, waved hands, immediately stopped two cars, then another… Pushed, pulled on hand. The severe nature in Denmark no, there is mild climate and flat landscape, without any mountains. The fertile land, the most efficient agriculture, modern industry, one of the world’s highest living standards. Denmark has repeatedly recognized “the happiest country on Earth”. So, not from poverty, not from the extremes of life is the willingness to help, and inoculated from people’s consciousness.

On the other side of the Atlantic, 15 miles from new York city, in early April of this year, a man lying on the side of the motorway; according to local radio, a passing motorist (the time was 4.40 a.m.) immediately stopped and called the police. Came to the police, “ambulance”. Pronounced him dead, took the corpse to the morgue. But it’s not about that, and that passing early in the morning people stayed and not proceeded without stopping with an indifferent thought: “Without me will understand.” Vigilant citizen. In the most positive sense.

We have the vigilance of a different kind. Political. Or foreign policy. Or maybe opportunistic-political? On the Internet I stumbled on the website http://activatica.org where I read about how Udmurt poet Alexei Arzamazov, in the past the activist of international cultural exchanges, has fallen out of love with the Finno-Ugric cooperation. The Finno-Ugric world is Udmurt, Komi, Mari, Sami, Mordvins, Khanty, Mansi (this is our), as well as Finns, Estonians and Hungarians (it is the enemies): so obviously shared this cultural-ethnic community, Mr. Arzamazov — a former internationalist, in 2005, gave an interview to “the Udmurt truth” under the title “the Way to him lies through Europe.”

“Now, in 2016, according to the aforementioned website, Arzamazov complained to the Chairman of the state Duma of Russia Sergei Naryshkin on foreign funding of the publication of debut books of young poets of the Udmurt Republic. Arzamasova me remind you that in 2013, he received the prize of the kindred peoples Programme of Estonia for his collection of poems. Not outraged, not going to complain to the Federal manual on hand of the West and, you know, whose money…

Someone — the displacement of concepts of thoughtlessness. Others — a substitution of concepts of selfish reasons. But the result is the same: active citizenship turn into vigilant patriotism or Patriotic vigilance. Fortunately, this subject is not all. In Russia there are a lot of socially active and sane people who are useful to society initiatives. Enough organizations willing to support their ideas — from the First channel, which holds the shares of the fundraising for children in need of expensive medical treatment, to the municipal councils, organizing community work days on landscaping. As in Balashikha, where annually the campaign “Our forest. Plant your tree”: one day planted 25 thousand seedlings. Another example of the suburbs: the volunteer movement “Range” in Serpukhov provides assistance to the elderly, the disabled, orphans, etc.

There are a lot of public-policy initiatives affecting the relationship between people and the government. On the website “Russian public initiative” put to the vote a proposal to “Prohibit increasing the salaries of deputies of the State Duma, employees of the government apparatus and the presidential Administration above the level of average annual inflation in Russia”. On 4 April, when I visited this website, this initiative was supported by 2650 people (vs — 12). For the consideration of initiatives at the Federal level requires 100,000 votes. Voting will end 02.02.2017 G. — it’s possible that by this date the offer will receive the necessary support.

Moscow action and Active citizen reports that the city’s active citizens — nearly 1.3 million people: that’s impressive. Moreover, the number of those exceeded one million by the end of the first year of the campaign. In the annual report “Active citizen” said that during the year carried out more than 580 votes and 250 initiatives have implemented government decisions. Whose initiative? The Mayor Of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin. But the main thing — not the authorship, and the result: many residents of the capital involved in the management of the city life.

…And yet civic engagement stubbornly goes beyond common sense — apparently, that is the characteristic of human nature. In Kirov, for example, two years has public project “Night patrol”: volunteers at night to catch drunk drivers. In fact, policing is a business of professionals vested with public powers: otherwise, there is vast scope for violations of human rights are incompetent (or biased minded) individuals.

On the border of USA and Mexico armed “militia” identify trespassers and call the guards to arrest illegal immigrants. Activists with the opposite, more humane views go to the desert and leave in different places of drinking water to the illegals don’t die of thirst (and dying a lot of them).

And in Norway fighters against anti-social behavior, immigrants from “third world” tried to inform the police about the excesses of the immigrant, but the police was shortened, saying that he does not need such assistance. Immigrants advised to communicate only one way: you can buy them coffee and a bun…

Sanctions . Chronicle of events

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