The Horror of "Life" in Putin’s Russia

Blogger Tim Newman at White Sun of the Desert details the horrors of ordinary, day-to-day life in neo-Soviet Russia. There is no doubt that what Tim describes is flatly illegal under the Russian constitution, which guarantees freedom of movement and the right to live anywhere. But the propiska system continues despite the Constitution — yet the Kremlin does not hesitate to invoke claimed provisions of the Constitution on extradition in regard to Andrei Lugovoi. In other words, the Constitution exists when the Kremlin says it does.

One of my employees is a pleasant, reliable, and sober young man in his 20s, who works for us as a minibus driver. Finding a pleasant, reliable, and sober young man to work as a driver in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is akin to finding a pleasant, reliable, and sober builder in West Wales.

Unfortunately, it looks as though we’re going to have to get rid of him. His driving license expires next month, and in order to renew it he needs a permanent local address, where he is registered with the Russian authorities. In any normal country, a permanent address means anywhere which you are living, including a place you are legitimately renting. But in Russia, you can only get registration at an address if you own the property, or you were born into that address, i.e. your parents owned it. Our driver is from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, and was registered at his parents’ apartment for most of his life, but they sold the place and moved away, leaving him renting a place here. When they sold the place, they lost their registration at that address, and the new owners were entitled to register themselves there instead. My driver then found himself without a registered address in his home town, or indeed anywhere else.

In Russia, those who do not have a registered address are classed as homeless, or bums. In short, a tramp. That this chap has a job, a place to eat, and a bed to sleep in matters not to the Russian authorities: if he is not regsitered somewhere, he is homeless.

And if you are homeless, you cannot renew your driving license. And if he doesn’t have a driving license, he cannot work for me as a driver, and he loses his job. Insanity.

A commenter offers a solution: “Well, as for your fellow money will be the best solution for him – just to find the right person to give to…:)”

Truly, Russia is a barbaric nation.

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