At The Entrance To The City Of Nelidovo Stands A Concrete Shed, On Which Is Written,"Russia,Forward"
Navalny in English
Must-read. Very true and very sad.

Sovereign Lack of Roads: How Russia is Falling into the Void

[Words on wall read, “Russia, Super”]

I had wanted to write a column about the Chelyabinsk meteorite, but I have unexpectedly become aware of a catastrophe of comparable scale: repair of the federal highway M9 "Baltic", on which I happened to be traveling from Moscow to Tartu. In fact, this road passes through the Tver and Pskov regions, and had been not completely smoothed and finished earlier, so that people in the know traveled to the Baltic states via the Minsk highway, but this time something extraordinary happened even by the standards of Russian roads: 250 km from the capital, the road's asphalt ended.
We drove along 100 kilometers of unpaved road for 4 hours, and all the time we did not see one road worker, one police car, nor any kind of equipment or signs regarding scheduled work or detour routes - just disappeared roadway. At the gas station they told us that road workers removed the asphalt in the early autumn and left without saying when they would return. The fourth straight month the road looks as if after an air strike at the end of 1941, when there was fighting near Rzhev and Velikiye Luki. At the same gas station, they told us about a French trucker who had come to them to ask: "I am lost, how do I get back to the main road?" He was told that this is the main road leading from Europe to Moscow.
I have driven on this road to Tartu for almost 10 years, exactly the same years that Russia has been rising from its knees, and I see how every year, about 200 km from Moscow, the space falls to pieces before my very eyes. Road M9 is always under construction, but it is getting worse. There are more dead villages around - at night there will not be a single light for tens of kilometers - and the people I meet are more and more gloomy, wandering somewhere with their sleds along roadsides or voting without any particular hope in their eyes: I also don't see regular buses, by the way. Except for a few roadside service stations, everything is more poverty-stricken: run down kebab restaurants and barns with spare parts for the trucks. Local people, as in the XVI century, trade basic goods along the road: dried mushrooms, frozen berries, and coarse fur for clothing.
In Tartu we passed a winter school studying the problems of the state and sovereignty. And it occurred to me that the road apocalypse of highway M9 has a direct relationship to this. While the State Duma is fighting against foreign agents and the orange threat, and Dmitry Rogozin is telling us that Russia defends her sovereignty, be it in the battle over Syria, or in opposition to the US missile defense in Europe - we have already lost the very sovereignty of road M9. There are two aspects of sovereignty: the nominal power and control. The symbols of power are somehow present on the road: in the city of Zubtsov the local administration building is painted with the Russian tricolors, and at the entrance to the city of Nelidovo stands a concrete shed on which is written, "Russia, forward!"- but effective control over the space has already been lost. There is not a state or infrastructure or institutions, nor life in general here.

Read this in full here.

A very accurate description. Despite the fantastic amount of oil and gas dollars pouring into the country, Russia has become a huge fat Moscow, guarded by a million police, while the rest of the country is completely neglected, and between the islands of life in the major cities, zombies are wandering, a bittern calls, and a yellow "Lada Kalina" occasionally passes by the remnants of the local population.

For the sake of objectivity, I will give a link to good news showing the steady growth of social welfare:
This year, the number of billionaires in Russia has increased by 11 people. There are now 131 of them. According to this indicator, we trail only the US.

Here is something to be proud of. Even if on the road from Moscow to Tartu, people are selling frozen berries and dried mushrooms.

Originally posted by navalny on Feb. 18th, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Translated by Contentious Politics Russia Blog

They Would Even Milk Meterorites
Navalny in English
Reality is far more awesome than any joke.

The budget for the Russian programme on cosmic threat protection has been estimated at 58 billion roubles

The financial target of a special federal ten-year programme on cosmic threat protection, meteorite impacts among them, totals 58 billion roubles, RIA Novosti news agency has informed, citing Lidia Rykhlova, Head of Astronomy Dept, Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences .
According to her, the programme has already been approved by the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos), and has been submitted to Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin.

[Titles: Chelyabinsk before the meteor shower.
Chelyabinsk after the meteor shower].

I’m proud of Russia. It’ll be the first country where even a stone falling from the sky would become cause for a mega-project aimed at stealing a couple of dozen billion.

You’d better repair Chelyabinsk's roads instead. The potholes cause more damage annually than a hundred meteorites.

When frogs start falling from the sky and a huge “STOP STEALING” sign appears on high, it would trigger only three things:
- The establishment of a governmental “Anti-Frog Protection Centre”, totalling 45 billion.
- Urgent financing of research and development studies on “cutting-edge technological solutions aimed at preventing extremist signs in the airspace of the Russian Federation”, accompanied by tenders for 51 billion roubles.
- Subsidising Sergey Kurginyan with 2 million roubles to tie white ribbons* around the frogs’ legs (on a dark night) followed by a debunking of the pro-American white-ribbon provocation shown on TV Channel One.

Originally posted by navalny on Feb. 18th, 2013 at 2:23 PM

*A white ribbon is the symbol of the Russian opposition.

I Received A Personal Meteorite
Navalny in English
Watch this funny story on "Central TV" about Pekhtin:

[Video: Title: Pekhtin on a Central TV program]

There is even a short interview with him.

Also, there is an extremely amusing Russian-speaking Florida realtor, who says: I know that Mr. Pekhtin lives in Miami; this is public information.

Coverage on Ren-TV's "The Week":
[Video: Title: Coverage of Pekhtingate]

Originally posted by navalny on Feb. 18th, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Translated by Contentious Politics Russia Blog


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