Friday, 24 October 2008

Russian politeness

I just was in Berlin with a bunch of Russians. All of them were surprised by the polite people in Berlin.

A statement any German laughst about. Because in Germany people in Berlin are well known for beeing rude.

However, back in Moscow I tasted the difference. I staied in line for the passport control after arrival when a guy came up and just stayed with his family in front of me just when it was my turn to be checked.

So I asked him 'vi shutite' means, 'are you jocking'.

He holded up a green passport right before me and told very rude 'do you see this passport, I am a diplomate' with a strong I-am-better-than-you-attitude.

I replayed polite: 'from which country you are'
He said: 'Russia'

I said: 'I see, in other countries diplomats are supposed to be polite'.

His wife was pretty embarrased and did event want to let me go first. I doubt he got the point, the concept to have a status and to be polite is to far from him.

Anyway, i know I am back home.


Wednesday, 1 October 2008

nomen est omen

Nomen est omen

After 5 years traveling to Lithuania I just realize a great feature in their language.

They distinguise in the family name 3 forms, males. Female married and female single.

While german and english don't change the family name according to the sex..

E.g. englsih
Mr. And Mrs. Smith

Russian for example has the difference between the gender:
Mr. Ivanov and Mrs. Ivanova

But Lithuaniasn distinguished in between 3 forms:

Mr. Rimdeikas, Mrs. Rimdeikene (male, married) and Mrs. Rimdekeite (fenla, unmarried).

This is fantastic, just imagine a meeting where the business card tells you her status. Or even better, a conference/exhibition where already the name tage tells you how to allocate resources ;)

How is it in latin, as that Lithuanian has here strong influences

Friday, 19 September 2008

construction work praxis

Just returned from a couple of weeks btrip to Moscow and decided to check out the new terminal of the SVO aeroexpress.

Pretty fancy everything, till I saw the toilets.
On a extreme public toiltet in the most important airport you have to press a button everyday hunderds of people press without washing their hands. Of course people don't, so it stinks before even all shops opened.

So, how could this happen? My guess somebody made an expensive bill and used cheap material to put the difference in his pocket.
Corruption affects just every aspect of life, and it virtually stinks! :)

p.s. one of my mentors in the east told me years ago 'if you want to,know about the culture of a country, check out there toilets. Since many years I see again and again that he is right.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

One of this days...

After crossing 3 countries by car, just to sit into an train to reach the 4th I had visa issues at the border. So I got kicked out of the train by the boarder guards, where questioned and send back (deported) at at the border. Even this blow up my timeschedule a bit I still managed to had pretty good mood.

But arriving late in a decent town finally found a hotel, shower and a restaurant. Then I start to wonder if I should't been serious upset. When I turned to the waiter asking for the menu in Russian (as that I don't speak the local language) hearing the answer 'sorry, I don't speak POLISH' makes me think this clearly wasn't my day :)

Friday, 23 May 2008

Russia IS great


So, I am always complaining here about Russia. This is of course wrong. Because if it would be as pictured in this blog I wouldn't have stayed here for so long.

In fact living in Russia is great, and all the problems I mention (because it's so easy to write about) are the spice in the soup (means here solyanka) of life :)

I have right now a couple of great days behind me, and even the worse moments added their part to the great impression of this week.

Just to give a climps, two days ago I stranded in a dirty and dull city in the north of Russia. When I had over 20 degresses in Moscow there it was still snowing. Yesterday I arrived in spb after some plane delay just to meet with as warm and friendly as drunken clients. After 2 bootles of whiskey they gave the police a call and the specialforces (OMON) of russia gave us a boat trip over the river Neva and the canals with the most beautiful city I know.
Besides this I had great client meetings, colegues, talked with nice people with surprised me by their brilliant mind. Worked with my laptop in a coffee at Nevski Prospekt, meets austrians at a god forgotten place, setteled fights with arguments and so on.

And all the time there are of course Russians everywhere. And with all wired sides they still have this what people call the russian sould. And to experience this wide, hospital Russian soul make things here finally so cool.


Sunday, 4 May 2008

VIP taxi

There are new taxis out there in Moscow. Since a couple of month quite a lot of orange Porsche Cayenne are driving around. Of course they call it VIP taxi
(here you can get everything in VIP, VIP parking spaces at the aerport, VIP beauty salons for your wife, VIP entrance in a VIP club...).

anyway, the concept seems to work. First of all there are a lot o this card and become more and more. Second I saw just recently an Maybach as orange VIP taxi....

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Marketing in Moscow

There is a huge add hanging next to the red square where we had the last douzend years the hotel Russia. It's big, and it's nice. They pinned some car models on it complete with lights.
I drive by it every day, and I am really impressed every time.

Now two weeks ago a Germany guy (living in London) showed me the add and recognized that there is a significant difference between all Russian car adds and the German one.
All this adds in Moscow are about "be the first", "be the fastest"... . In Germany it is more like "Advantage with technique", "For The Nature" or "Drive Comfortable".

As more surprising as that you spend you driving time here staying in traffic jams just producing smog. And even if the streets would be free (e.g. Tuesday night, 3 am) the condition of the streets don't allow you to speed too much.

Of course, also in Germany (great highways, no speeding limit) is a clientele which wants to drive fast. But this is the 18 - 25 year, poor, VW or Fiat target group.
You would not make for them a 1 million dollar add next to the red square (respective the Reichstag).

This observation is actually really interesting if you want to push a product in the CIS market. Make yourself a favor, don't copy your western campaign, don't appeal on the brain, not even on the heart. You want to sell, to target the balls.

The picture I got from (thx), as that my sucked.

Saturday, 12 April 2008


I am pretty unhappy right now, 3rd time this week I stay in an traffic jam because they closed the streets due to a politician.
They like to to it. For approx. A douzend high ranking officals theycut a piece out of the pie which reassembles moscow where all traffic goes in circles.

Someone may wonder, how this can happen. Don't Russian have helicopters?
Or the sense to calculate the economic costs of sending their capitals into the infrastructural meltdown twice a day?
Believe, sure they have both. I secretly assume there plains another componente with in.
This middle Asian touch to show who has the big balls and is the patriarch.

And who shows all the damn rest of this town better who is the boss, as the guy in a convoy with 180 km/h when all the rest stays in traffic jam.

Here is a link, who support this thesis. There you see that this behavior becomes worse as more Caucasians.

Friday, 28 March 2008

SWOT analysis

You know, I call Russian girls сладкий яд (sweet poison) and try to stay as far away as possible or handle them with extreme precaution.
Today I got remembered why.

Wow, a Russian girl told me yesterday evening:
If I meet a guy who I'd love very much I'd be happy to live anywhere with him. I don't need just to live in a big house with a man whom I don't love.
*oh, sweet, nice, isn't it*... anyway, don't believe it.

And today another Russian girl showed me reality once more. She said:
I think a SWOT analysis is very useful tool. I made one before I got divorced from my first Russian husband.
CE !! This is simple brilliant :o))))

No matter what gender or nationality people don't want to have love OR money (aka security). Everybody wants to have love AND money (aka security). Growing up in a culture with has a revolution or crisis one in a generation doesn't ease this wish.
Poor all the men (Russian and special foreigner) which are intrigued by the beauty and seemingly tenderness of Russian girls. But behind the surface Russian girls may be some of the smartest and toughest beings in the world. After the grown up in a "survival of the fittest" society, within a very pro-male culture and with 20 million more woman then men in the country.

so, handle with precaution :)


Thursday, 21 February 2008

Cat's in the hospital

Quick picture from a Russian hospital.

The kittys are cute, however, nothing I want to have around while they
do surgery :)

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Size matters

Russia is incomprehensible, but sometimes you start to get a glimpse of it.

Like now, when I switched through the hotel folder in Sibira to order my breakfast.

I saw the zones for the domestic call. Damn, you see it...
Zone 4 up to 3000 km
Zone 5 up to 5000 km
Zone 6 from 5001 km

Tomorrow I get a taxi to drive to a town next by and come then back in the evening. One way, 400 km in a cap in the Siberian winter.

Bdw, if you wonder where I am. North Sibira, not even in the middle of the country.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Don't do in the airport...

Every morning a new idiot get's up. The guy who just wanted to pass the airport security behind for me with a REAL GUN is for sure one of them :

About this blog

This blog is a close up on Russia and the CIS. I am not giving you the big picture.
I would anyway fail. I am too long here. So beauty & decay,
education & corruption, high culture & kafka-style administration are meanwhile normal for me.
So this blog is like a painting from from Roy Lichtenstein... when you are with your nose on it :) You will just see the dots, not gaining any understanding of the whole.

Most things will look strange in this blog. But you can be sure, I would not live here, if there would not be a lot of great things here. Unfortunately, the weired stories are more interesting to tell & read.
Don’t judge Russia on this blog, if you want to know the country, come over and take a look by your own.