February 25, 2022

Where the Sidewalk Ends


Where the Sidewalk Ends
A typical Saratov sidewalk. Photo by the author

A blogger from Saratov (the home of this author) raised a simple question: can I go for a walk? The answer turned out to be a bit more complicated than one might expect.

Elena Nalimova walked around the streets of downtown Saratov for five hours with a stroller and met quite a few obstacles along the way.

In her video investigation, Nalimova strapped a child-sized doll with the face of the mayor, Mikhail Isaev, into a stroller. She affectionately referred to her creation as Misha, before pushing him over mountains of snow, under dangerous icicles, and around a confrontational stray dog. All this to bring attention to the poor snow-removal practices of the city.

Speaking from experience, walking around Saratov in the winter can feel a bit like a dangerous mountain expedition (or a game of Frogger). However, parents with strollers and people with disabilities face a much larger challenge when it comes to running simple errands. If only there were a way to clear the sidewalks!

Meanwhile, and on a completely unrelated note, multiple bureaucrats are under fire for stealing funds intended for winter road maintenance in Saratov. Coincidence?

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