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Cold Hard Facts
 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Cold Hard Facts

by Mitya Aleshkovsky

I have just returned from our “distant” village. Its last remaining resident, Lyokha, died (I wrote about him previously). Let me briefly share the news.

Lyokha died from cold; he froze to death. Yenot (a fellow who trades in alcohol, actually diluted mineral spirits) came to visit him, saw that Lyokha was dead, and stole a pair of axes (the only things worth taking).

Lyokha’s mother, Tasya, is lying in Yesinovichy, in a rural hospital, where, in reality, no one gets any treatment. It has a FAP (фельдшерско-акушерский пункт, a feldsher-obstetric station), and a car that is used “on demand” as an ambulance until 4 pm. But the hospital is really just a nursing home – a hospice, actually. But they feed Tasya there, give her liquids, and change her diapers. She doesn’t recognize anyone any more, she is very old and very weak. Soon they will transfer her to the nursing home in Vyshny Volochyok, which has just under 400 residents. Old folks generally die very quickly there. There are about 20 others like Tasya in Yesinovichy hospital.

They are closing the hospital in Yesinovichy because it is not profitable to support rural hospitals.

There is a fire department alongside the hospital. It is being reformulated as a “fire post.” Everything is exactly as before, only they cut everyone’s pay by R1500 a month and one of the three firemen will be let go as of March.

Meanwhile, the firemen and doctors are being forced to write false reports about how everything is fine. If they write that something is bad, then in flies someone from the regional leadership, who must answer to Moscow.

In the village opposite ours, in Kozhina, on January 28 a babushka celebrated her 80th birthday. On the 29th she died of starvation.

In summary: In the twenty-first century, 350 km from Moscow, people are dying from cold and hunger, the hospital and fire department are being shuttered, and Russia is spending $2.5 million every day on the war in Syria.

Russians have never lived so poorly as under Obama.

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