Friday, 28 August 2009


The good old Hammer SUV if for me the classic symbol for an odd mix out of decadency and freud'sche desire to compensate something.

Thus I love-hate in the Hammer stretch limousines driving around in Moscow.

Recently I had a classic. At the red traffic light suddenly such a stretch Hammer appeared on my left and right lane. When they overtook me on both side I had the strange feeling of beeing overtaken by a tunnel :)

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

borders of Russia / Demographics

Last question in the Radio to a leader of the opposition:
(which said overall a lot of smart and democratic stuff in the interview.)

Moderator: 'In what borders do you see Russia'

Opposition leader: 'UDSSR minus the Baltics States'

Puh, and this is the liberal, democratic opposition…..
Together with some recent Russian legislation and statements I have a gut feeling that there will be more conflicts like the Georgian - Russian one (2008) in the next decade.

It’s not a question of the Russia government. It’s a question how the Russian people understand themselves and how they see their neighbors and other countries. I face myself all the time (as German) a Russian legislation that is horribly xenophobic. It is much harder to get a proper legal status in Russia as a German then it is the other way around. (Honestly, at least 10 times harder and 30 times more expensive.). Then consider that the Germans in Moscow gain and behave different than some(!) of the Russians in Germany (social wellfare, mafia, …)

Great perspective for a country that is supposed to loose 30% of the population till 2050. And this is not not a speculation, it is a fact. It’s just a simple counting as that who lives in 2050 is already born today.

here some facts...

Saturday, 22 August 2009


So, the new Microsoft Windows will go on sales in two month. User and manufactures are eagerly anticipating it. Some beta version made it into to P2P network (illegal downloads) with all the usual outcry in media.
The clock is ticking till the first version of Microsoft Windows 7 will be available for the public....
...pffft..forget it in Russia.

I had today a walk in a big Moscow shopping mall. There are at least three version of the new Windows 7 on sale. Professional cracked, labeled and sold. (Picture attached)
Hip Hip Hurray for the copyright in Russia.

This looks like a small things. But despite of illegal downloads this is a lot of money. Real money, huge money. People don't see at, as that the the music and movie industries labels illegal download as big money. But this is "virtual" money they could have been sold, if every
download would be a real sale. (What is of course stupid). But all this thousand of shops in Russia which sales illegal copies makes real sales. 20 euro an an disk they produced for maybe 10 cent.
Pretty good business, isn't it? Of course, this business is illegal, demands good connections and organization. Who could offer this set of features? ....Right, organized crime. So the Mafia make there a lot money they re-invested in real ugly stuff (trafficing, drugs,...)

As you may know the Russian government just decided to send the WTO plans to hell. Not sure the motives were entirely altruistic :)
Some 153 countries out there consider it to be a good things to be a WTO member. Probably it would have been a good thing for most people in Russia too. Of course, not for all (e.g. people producing illegal DVDs and of course the steel producing companies.)


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.