The ”Wild 90s” in Russia, more memories

I’ve written several posts on the topic of the devastating “Wild 90s” in Russia. What I find to be very important is the preservation of the peoples memories of that tragic era. Already there are signs that it has become etched in the Russian “gene pool” on the same level as the Time of Trouble of 1599, the Borodino battle of The Great Patriotic War of 1812 and the memories of The Second Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, along with many other historic turning point events – both in hardship and happiness.

I wrote a translation of one such recollection in the article The ”Wild 90s” in Russia, as reflected in people’s memory and in the second part of the testimonials translations. Here is another characteristic story from Ankdot.ru site, New Year-themes, yet sad and bittersweet. The author is maybe a little younger than myself. After the main translation, I will present some select comments to the post with more memories of that terrible and confusing time.

The original can be found here.

THE GRANDSON OF SANTA CLAUS

This was inspired by the stories about Santa Claus. A fair warning: it will not be fun. As I remember, my childhood was a happy one though it can hardly be called rich. First came the “perestroika”, then the “fun” of the 90s. My father had died, mother was a kindergarten teacher with a salary equivalent of 10 pounds of buckwheat a month (those who remembers 1992-1993 – he will understand). And all this against the background of the emerging abundance of imported goods. Kids today won’t understand what it was like in the early 90-ies to eat Snickers on a school break or go outside with a cassette tape recorder. As you can gather, with a monthly budget of 10 pounds of buckwheat, Snickers at a break, and especially the tape recorder in the courtyard were not to be dreamt of. I knew better, and didn’t even hint about such things.

So when on January 1, 1993 I received Sony Walkman as a gift – I was close to a shock. First, at the time it was better than both iPhone X and Apple Watch combined nowadays. Secondly, I knew that for the next six months the monthly ration of buckwheat would be halved. “Mom, from where?” “Don’t worry, it’s a present from work.” In short, until the summer I was treated at school, if not like a king, then at least as of particular noble bloodline.

And only a few years later did I learned that for the sake of the player, my mom worked part time as a cleaner in the same garden a few months…

Now I’m an adult of about the same age as my mother was back then. I earn more than well. But I cannot get my mom to agree to any expensive purchase (“You need to save money for a new car/apartment/dacha”. Those, who have parents who survived the 90s as adults will understand me). So I every time have to come up with some excuse for where the present came from. Travel package – “Yes, it’s a promo tour from acquittance, with a 50% discount, we must take it.” TV – it’s a bonus from the store, the phone – “we can buy it here twice as cheap, than what you have in Russia”. In my experience, what works best is to get tickets to the theatre “for the bonuses of the mobile operator, which will expire if they are not spent now.”

And also now I bought her tickets to the concert in the Kremlin, “tickets from friends, whose firm is sponsoring the concert”, while with tears welling up, in my inner eye I see a 13-year-old glowing from happiness, with a player in his hands.

My dears, my advice to you while it is not too late – please your parents. They, though they are already old, still believe in miracles. And I told you of some modern versions of the “miracles”.

The ”Wild 90s” in Russia, as reflected in people’s memory. Part 2.

Two years ago I published an article The ”Wild 90s” in Russia, as reflected in people’s memory, where I translated one testimonial of a survivor of the Yeltsin’s Wild 90’s in Russia. Such survivors are many, yet many more perished – in Russia more people died during Yeltsin than during WWII. In that article I also detailed Yeltsin’s coup d’etat of November 1993.

Now, a few days ago, the ignominious Navalny organised an “anti-corruption” rally in Moscow and several of Russia’s cities. I am not going to go into the details of how only 8000 people out of the 12 million population of Moscow was seen at this colour revolution attempt. I will not go into details of how Navalny turned to the political paedophilia, luring school-aged kids onto the streets with the promise of paying them €10000 if they manage to get arrested, and how the “political speeches” of said kids said that they want to buy sneakers. The use of kids seems to be in the instruction book of any colour revolt worth its name (see “protests” against Charles de Gaulle). I will not go into the details of how Navalny – a jobless man – manages to own expensive car, finance organisation of revolts and produce Hollywood-class films, and why this corruption fighter has several criminal corruption cases over him regarding illegal forest deals.

What I want to go into detail about, is the main chant of Navalny and co., of all the anti-Russian, Russophobic traitors organising such revolts: “Putin must go”. That’s all of their agenda. They say absolutely nothing about how Russia should be governed or about the future. At best they position themselves as the next presidents and say a few abstract words about how there’ll be no corruption and everyone will be equal. Aha! The same manifestos were proclaimed in 1917. And in 1991.

And this is what I am coming towards. All the Navalny-class “liberals” are aiming to bring Russia to the condition of the Yeltsin’s 1993-1999 era. The Desolation of Yeltsin as I like to call it, referring to the Desolation of Smaug.

By 1999 the “progress and democracy” in Russia reached such levels that the population was dying out from hunger, military and statehood all but destroyed. Foreign NATO-sponsored Islamic insurgency in Chechenia was at its peak. Here is a link to an article from Lenta.ru from 29.09.1999 with the telling title “Russia begs USA for a little more food”. Sad and detrimental, yet it fully reflects the reality of those days.

My family and I were touched by those events before we emigrated in 1993. I remember well how I had to stand at the entrance to a market, selling toys, books, plastic bags (yes, the Western plastic bags, if you could get your hands on them, were worth a few kopeks), various small items from home – anything, just to get some money so as to buy food and set something aside for the vague plans for the future. We were a middle-class family, my grandfather worked in the 50s at the Far East, where the Soviet government paid the so-called “Northern money”, so we were well-off, until 1992, when the whole country and its population got robbed over night. By the likes of Berezovskij, Yeltsin, Kuchma, Nemtsov, Khodorkovskij, Navalny, Kudrin, Yavlinskij and other “communists” cum “oligarchs” and “democrats”.

The upper right corner in the image below illustrates what it was like from my point of view, selling your last things.


Do you remember the 90s? All of the “civilised West” are our friends, while USA is the best pal.

Below I want to translate testimonials from several people of that time, as they recall it now, warning the youth of today not to repeat the same naïve mistake as the one that brought chaos on their own heads.

The first collection of testimonials starts as an open, public domain letter, titled “Anyone, who remembers well what happened in the 90s, should be grateful to this man…”, and it originally appeared at LiveJournal here.

I turned 17 in 1991.

All the trash that is now criticizing Putin was in power back then.

I don’t remember anything good of what they did. I remember how they destroyed my country, I remember how people were not paid wages for years, how a professor of nuclear physics worked with me and cleaned animal skins with a scythe, how my mother, having worked for 23 years as a head nurse of the paediatric intensive care unit and revived many a dozen children, became a “shuttle trader”. (Translator note for the Westerners: people went to China or West and bought some cheap goods, smuggled them and tried to make a living reselling)

I remember the gangs of bastards, collecting tributes, even from old ladies selling sunflower seeds. (Translator note: market gangs, the utmost dregs of society. Berezovskij came from that “environments”.) I remember how kidnapping for ransom in my city of Nalchik was turned into an industry, and how the filth that did that was considered respectable people.

I remember how happily Americans were let into the most secret military facilities, how for their sake aircraft, missiles, submarines and other achievements of my homeland were cut to pieces.

I remember the poor old people begging. I remember the downtrodden Afghan war veterans, who were mutilated in battles, served the orders of their Motherland, are now spat upon by today’s “liberasts” (Translator note: common in today’s Russia folk by-name, combining the words for “liberal” and “homosexual”).

Shall I continue???

I also remember how, two weeks after Putin came to power, the kidnappings stopped. I remember how the Chechens, whom I personally always respected, from the enemies of Russia were reborn into her faithful warriors.

I see how my country began again to build gas pipelines, aircraft, ships and so on. I see how my sons, like I in my childhood, become proud of their country. Everything is relative.

Hence is the question: How can “liberasts”, who sold their Homeland, have the audaciousness to blather all sorts of nonsense about Putin? What have they left after themselves to him, to bark that “Putin ruined” something?

It is, first and foremost, their fault in what is going on in Ukraine today, it is they, who have created this situation in 1991. Nemtsov and his ilk… there must be no monuments to them, least of all in the centre of Moscow. (Translator note: “Liberals” push for that after the Western sacrificial murder of Nemtsov in Moscow). They need to be burned and the ashes scattered to the wind.

Appeal to the young people: do NOT believe the “liberatst”, don’t look up at the “stars” (what a retarded term), like Ksenia Sobchak, do not take the example from prostitutes and bastards. They are all lying.

We are the greatest country in the world. Ask how many achievements ranging from military exploits and to science, sports, and everything else, belongs to our compatriots.

Do not let those, whom we taught to wash, teach us culture. (Translator note to the Westerners: Russian Anna Yaroslavna (born in 1024), when she became the Queen of France, brought with her the tradition of frequent washing – banja, which is common in Russia, yet was viewed as strange in the then W.Europe., as well as introducing at the French Court the custom of eating with silverware, of reading, and many other civilisational traits.)

Don’t let those who begot fascism, the Inquisition, and other atrocities, teach us the love of mankind. Those who marry perverts in the Churches, teach us human values.

We are Russia, and our path is different from theirs.”

© Authorship lost, anyone who survived during the restructuring can subscribe to this…

Comments from the post with additional testimonials:

Tatiana Potapova: “I, too, remember the gangs of bastards who held the markets in fear. Snickering masters of life. And I also remember homeless children, lousy, dirty, hungry, who raided the trading rows of the markets and would grab from the shelves anything edible. I pushed food into their hands. There were so many of them! The officials were not interested in their fate. Where they lived? If they had parents? Nobody picked them off the streets and into boarding schools for approximately ten years. Since Putin came to power, children were rounded up and sent to the boarding schools. Now, those officials who ruthlessly robbed the people and as a result small children ended up on the street, hungry, unwashed, not having seen any kindergartens or schools… now these officials hate Putin and call him a thief… They project their sin onto Putin. Probably because they can get neither sleep nor rest.”

Olga Malinova: “I remember the 90s. My brother and I wanted to eat one day, went to the kitchen, found the millet and vegetable oil. We shook their common savings and spent the money on a loaf of bread.”

Valery Vishnyakov: “We borrowed money from the neighbours for a half of a black bread. And our father was an oil industry worker. He was just not paid the money. I used to give my food to the younger brother. Parents still do not know about that… Give us back Stalin. The iron curtain. The Soviet Union…”

Liliya Karimova: “I Remember how bad it was. I went to the post office for aid money, but the money were not transferred for more than six months. Used to come home crying not knowing what to cook, it was good that the collective farm gave grain that we would bring to the mill – at least we got bread, and had our own cow, otherwise I would have died of hunger. Writing this now and crying.”

Maria Glova: “I was unable to go after the school to Institute, as parents – doctors – had their wages delayed and they were afraid that I would not be able to find food in another city. In those days we lived off the garden, planted potatoes, ploughed field 5 days in a week and spent 2 days in the garden.”

Eketerina Yasakova: “And I remember only too well the 90s. Terrible years. My children then were just toddlers”


The second testimonial article is titled “The answer to those, who say they live badly in Putin’s Russia”. This material is much more down to earth, gritty and grim, like the years it describes.


Subtext: “How I survived in the 90s in Russia without Putin”

A young man in his 20s wrote to me from his iPhone from Russia about how his life sucks “under Putin”. I briefly described to him how I lived without Putin in the late 90s.

I will write this again, maybe it will come in handy to someone from Ukraine.

Morning.

Woke up, thank God that I’m alive. Had breakfast, tea with jam from my grandmother. That’s all the food. There is nothing more to eat.

Later in the morning.

There is no work, the factory was bankrupted by Nemtsovs-Kasyanov and other f*ing privatizers, nothing to do… But the tea, even with jam is not food. It is necessary to find food. Mobiles did not yet exist, so I go to a friend who is in the same position, but worse, because he has a wife and a son. What are we going to do, where to look for food? Decided to go fishing.

Morning, closer to dinner.

Threw in the net from a boat probably constructed during Lenin’s time. Waited. While waiting, caught some frogs, made a campfire, roasted frog legs, ate them. Wanted to smoke, but have no money… walked down the street, collecting the “butts”, nearby others like us harvested, started swearing at us, saying that’s not our territory. We calm them down. Will not go into details of how… you survive however you can.

Dinner.

Rummaged through all of the waste dumps already, not a single thread of metal left. (Translator’s note: People scavenged any metal and sold it to collectors. Pipes, machinery, anything got melted. The same process is going in Ukraine now. If anyone wants a glorified fictitious parallel, think Rey from Star Wars, The Force Awakens.) Telling my friend – let’s go to the village nearby. We went. Knocked at the first house. Explained why we came to a grandmother, age 80. We collect metal, if you have any, we can help to dig up the garden lot as the payment of it… Grandmother asked to plough up 3 acres, flooded in the spring. We did that. Plus I, as a radio hobbyist, repaired antenna on her TV. She gave us 8 kilogrammes of aluminium pans, and even money!!!

After dinner.

For the money we immediately bought a pack of cigarettes and 2 Snickers. We ate the Snickers right away, to at least have some strength, had a smoke and went to deliver metal to the collectors. Delivered, got a few kopecks… But at least that’s something. Went to the nets.

Afternoon snack time.

Came to nets, and there see some blokes pulling them out and taking our fish. Without hesitation, we beat them up very very seriously, although we knew that they are in the same situation as us. But to steal at the time of hunger from your own people is worse than being a liberal! Took out fish and went home.

Evening.

Gave part of the fish to the wives, carried the other part to the market. Sold for a penny, but at least that’s something. Bought pasta and sugar. Brought that home. Bought for the remaining money 0.5l of homebrew from a local hag.

Late in the evening.

Sitting at the porch, drinking, smoking and looking to a brighter future. A radio of Chinese make says: An unknown to anyone Vladimir Putin may possibly become a temporary figure after the ailing Boris Yeltsin…

So, young people of 20-30 years. If your life is shitty in Russia, under Putin, look at Ukraine now, or at my personal experience of survival in the ’90s. Although, all the same, you’ll learn nothing.

Sincerely, Pavel Smirnov.


Putin’s promise in 2000: “I shall be with the Army, I shall be with the Fleet, I shall be with the People. And together we shall rebuild both the Army, the Fleet and the Country.” And he didn’t lie. Thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich.

The ”Wild 90s” in Russia, as reflected in people’s memory

I previously published a translation of an article For Russia 90’s Were Worse Than WWII, which tells the extent of the destruction caused to Russian industry and science in the course of the 90’s.

That was the time, when the West’s darling Yeltsin was in power, and when every parliamentary, every minister had an American “advisor” attached to him or her.

Let us remember that in October-November 1993, the Russian Parliament tried to pass an impeachment of Yeltsin, trying to save the country in a democratic way. The response back then, authorised by Clinton, was to bring tanks into the streets of Moscow, open fire at the Parliament building and kill almost 2000 people, who came to defend the young democracy from APC machine guns. That was effectively a coup d’etat, which kept Yeltsin in power and descended Russia into a dark stretch of destruction of the country and its people, which lasted until 2000, when Yeltsin released his American-backed grip, and Putin started slowly, but surely, save the county.

In this post I want to translate an echo from that time. There is a Russian site, which publishes jokes, real life stories (both fun and sad) and aphorisms, and people get to vote on them. One story collected a large number of votes, for it resonates strongly with the Russian population which survived through the war-like conditions of the 1993-1999.

The original can be found here.

Duck under the New Year Tree or Grandfather Frost exists!

Our family has a tradition – on New Year’s table there must necessarily be a duck with apples, even if nothing else is there, the duck must be present, period! This tradition began in 1991, and we keep it still!

In ’94 (I was 10 years old) there came monetary black stretch – mom could barely find work, there was either no money at all or very little of it; there was no permanent employment, and odd jobs, such as compilation of the financial statements were not regular, and paid very little. I remember as a nightmare our diet – only soup bouillon cube and green onions grown on a windowsill, with a piece of home-made bread – more than 20 years passed, but I still cannot eat bread, baked by that recipe. But this is just a background to the story!

The evening of Friday, December 30, 1994, my mother had only 20 rouble in in her pocket, it is clear that this year there will be not duck, but there will be mashed potatoes and herring. On her way home she goes to the farmer market to buy something for the festive table, and some mandarins). Almost all traders had already closed, and there was only one grandma standing and selling a single duckling, not duck, but a duckling, weighing below a kilogram! Price – 20 roubles! As they say – take it without bargaining! And the wonders did not stop there – walking through the market with this wonderful duck, there in the snow, mother finds a hundred-rouble note!!! There were tears of happiness, and tree, and mandarins, and duck with apples, candy and even a small gift!

Over the years there were different New Year ducks – “in oranges” and “with nuts” and “with figs”, and “in the dough” and weighing 6 kg, etc., etc. But we always remember “that duck”!

An basically this is it, this story, and especially the background to it, is but a sample of what 99% of the Russian population were suffering through during the Wild 90s.


More on the Yeltsin’s coup d’etat of 1993

It happened between the 21st of September and the 5th of October 1993. Back then, the Western MSM praised this event as the ultimate defence of the young Russian democracy, while in reality, it was the exact opposite.

At that time Russian Parliament, seeing where Yeltsin was steering the country, was preparing to pass impeachment of the President. It is a completely democratic process, designed to balance the presidential power and to trigger a preliminary election. Yeltsin’s reaction was all but democratic.

He passed directive #1400, disbanding the Parliament. When the Parliament refused to comply, he (with the backing of the “well-wishers” from across the pond) ordered army into the streets of Moscow. The Parliament building and the TV tower Ostankino were surrounded. People went out to the streets to defend the Parliament. Then there came the terrible order to open fire. People were shot down by concentrated machine gun fire from armoured vehicles, the Parliament was shelled from tanks.

Here is a footage of the shelling of the Parliament:

The exact number of victims of the 1993 massacre is unknown – most documents from that time were destroyed – but is officially estimated to be approximately 200. According to the analysis in the following article (in Russian), the numbers may have been a magnitude higher.

http://www.km.ru/v-rossii/2012/10/04/istoriya-rossiiskoi-federatsii/693919-4-oktyabrya-1993-goda-vlast-ustroila-boiny

The massacre also marked the descent of Russia into a period of near-destruction, a period of lawlessness and dismemberment of the industry and defence. A period, known in Russia as “The Wild 90s”.

Russia became totally incapacitated, which, in turn allowed USNATO in 1999 to start an unpunished invasion of Yugoslavia, not fearing any opposition. And even then, some politicians in Russia tried to show protest. When USA started the bombings, Russian Foreign Minister Prjamakov was en route to USA on a diplomatic mission. Upon hearing of the news, he ordered that the plane be turned back right over the Atlantic Ocean in protest.

A link to the excerpt from the book “The Forgotten Victims of 1993”:

http://oct1993.narod.ru/doc/zabyitie_zhertvi.htm

It contains many witness descriptions of the executions of the defenders (even those, who were unarmed, already wounded or surrendered), and later falsification of the numbers of the murdered people.

From the site above, there is an interesting document by parliamentary Andronov, who from the besieged Parliament, on the day before the massacre conducted negotiation with representatives of the AMERICAN embassy, trying to prevent the bloodshed. Americans anyway gave the order to open fire, he says, adding that the bloodshed in Moscow in 1993 was directly authorised by Clinton.
http://oct1993.narod.ru/doc/14.doc