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Россия: дураки и дороги

road1

The problem with Russia - fools and roads. I heard this phrase so many times when I first started reading LJ a few years ago, but never understood it until I visited the country. Fools, they're found everywhere on the planet, but the roads in Russia remain a mystery to me after so many visits. The answer to yesterday's game - the Kursk villagers had a huge celebration because the dirt road in their neighborhood was finally paved. According to my reader, the villagers had been waiting for this day for over 85 years, and now live in happiness over something as basic as a proper road. For me, it's almost incomprehensible that such a celebration would ever occur in the U.S., because good roads for us are the norm. Even in small towns, with few rural exceptions. The only time I've seen a lot of dirt roads was in rural parts of Kansas, but such pathways were usually leading to privately owned farmland or very remote areas, not neighborhoods where many homes and people are located. Rural roads in the U.S. look something like this.

1. This shot was taken in the middle of nowhere Kansas, during my December journey. Dirt road, but we were here by choice. Those who want to go off-roading, explore remote parts of an area, or take the unbeaten path can pick this route. However, if it was so desired, we could have traveled on a completely normal, paved road during this part of the trip. Well, sometimes it's fun to go off course and have a little adventure, so we picked this route instead. :) Kansas - ugly, flat and full of barren fields in winter. About this State, I'll have several posts when I can find the time to write.

kansas

2. Another rural road in the Smoky Mountain region of Tennessee, not dirt but gravel. Such roads I love. :))

smoky mountains

3. Road to a beautiful farm I visited in Vermont. All of these photos were taken with my iPhone, so sorry for the bad quality.

vermont

4. And here - the glorious village road of my reader only a few weeks ago. So many people accuse me of seeing Russia only through the eyes of one person, my frequent travel partner macos, but this is not the case. As I've explained before, I have many Russian friends and readers, and I see the postings about ordinary life from people outside of Moscow and Peter consistently on Facebook. I began to notice one reader who frequently posted photos of the horrible dirt road in her village, showing scenes of devastation, holes, and complete flooding during rains which made simple navigation and chores burdensome, and sometimes impossible. Several shots taken from her Facebook page, look familiar? I've traveled on such roads numerous times during my Russian journeys.
FullSizeRender
5. So how did the "miracle" of a paved road occur? About eight years ago, the villagers began to write letters to local and regional authorities and deputies. Their cries for an ordinary road fell on deaf ears for many years, and then last week the community began to see signs of hope. Construction equipment rolling through the neighborhood!!

road3

6. The finished product - what beauty! In the words of my reader - "We can now live as white people (as we call it here). It's a real pleasure to walk on a smooth road instead of ruts and knee deep in mud...but paving a road in a living street isn't usual for our great country. But you know this not by hearsay...of course, we thanked our Chief, but actually it's awful when such necessary things as a road are taken as miracles, and it's especially sad for the country which calls itself great."

These are HER words, not mine. But I agree 100%. Proper roads and infrastructure, a hallmark of most civilized socieites. And I'll never understand why Russian officials think otherwise, why resources aren't dedicated to improve pavement, potholes, etc. Even when I rode in Yaroslavl in March, I played a dodging game with my local driving companion, trying to avoid huge craters in his tiny car, which sat low to the ground.


Congrats to these Kursk villagers, who can now walk without struggle, to the kids who can now skate and ride bikes on a smooth surface, and to adults who also wish to have fun. :)

road2

Please tell me the reasons why Putin and your officials don't dedicate money to improve the lives of villagers and Russian citizens by building proper roads? And don't blame the weather. :)) I traveled recently in the Yukon Territory of Canada, where temperatures fall well below zero in winter time, and the pavement there is just as in the USA. You can look at my post, if you want to see it for yourself.

P.S. The winner of the contest is anna_sollanna, who will receive a prize from Maine. It's great, because I actually met this reader during one of my visits to St. Petersburg. Good job Anna, and to all the others who easily guessed the proper answer about the road.


Comments

( 294 comments — Leave a comment )
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2tvlad
Aug. 4th, 2015 03:57 pm (UTC)
The Iron Triangle in Queens (nyc):



"Please tell me the reasons why Obama and your officials don't dedicate money" (c)
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:02 pm (UTC)
Yes, go on the Internet and pull every random photo of a bad road in the USA. :) This is the exception, not the norm. If you have traveled here, you would know. Or, perhaps you have?
(no subject) - kwakin_misha - Aug. 5th, 2015 04:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - kwakin_misha - Aug. 5th, 2015 04:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - kwakin_misha - Aug. 5th, 2015 04:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - c0smopolit - Aug. 13th, 2015 11:12 am (UTC) - Expand
In New England this is norm. - xpo_xpo_xpo - Aug. 10th, 2015 03:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sergechel - Aug. 4th, 2015 04:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 4th, 2015 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kwakin_misha - Aug. 5th, 2015 04:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
I'll show you my last recorded video. - xpo_xpo_xpo - Aug. 10th, 2015 03:56 am (UTC) - Expand
sergechel
Aug. 4th, 2015 03:57 pm (UTC)
Please tell me the reasons why Putin and your officials don't dedicate money to improve the lives of villagers and Russian citizens by building proper roads? - because they don't care much about it.
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:03 pm (UTC)
Because they also don't have to ride on them. :)
(no subject) - saccovanzetti - Aug. 4th, 2015 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 4th, 2015 04:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sergechel - Aug. 4th, 2015 04:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - baranchug - Aug. 4th, 2015 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
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saccovanzetti
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:00 pm (UTC)
It is amazing how Russians drive on horrible ruts in cars like Toyota Corolla; where an American would hesitate to take his 4Runner.

Edited at 2015-08-04 04:01 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:04 pm (UTC)
Russians - brave and strong! :) Such qualities are necessary for survival. Btw, smooth pavement is boring! And it seems many Russians can't live without struggle or obstacles. They actually thrive on it, it makes them feel alive. A few readers have told me this.
(no subject) - saccovanzetti - Aug. 4th, 2015 04:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 4th, 2015 04:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Ivan Ivanych
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:11 pm (UTC)
The Russians are very strong and brave? Hmm, I doubt it. They are the same as people from other countries. They used to live as best they can, because did not know how. You are abroad used to think about what the secret of the mysterious Russian soul and so on. And there is no secret. They just live in such conditions, where there are broken roads, dilapidated houses, small salary. Here the degree of adaptability they will give odds to any foreigner.
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:19 pm (UTC)
I don't think they're the same as people in all countries. In America, we face less obstacles with the chores of ordinary life. We're spoiled in many ways, but you're right on your main point. For a lot of Russians, such conditions are simply ordinary. They know no other way of life, and have never seen or experienced anything abroad for comparison. Life in Moscow, Peter and many big cities is not much different from life in the USA. However, small town life in the USA and provincial life in Russia differ greatly.
(no subject) - Ivan Ivanych - Aug. 4th, 2015 04:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 4th, 2015 04:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Пьер Безухоff
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:12 pm (UTC)
Ура! Асфальт!
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:15 pm (UTC)
Glory to God! :)
anna_sollanna
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:18 pm (UTC)
Wow, I got a prize! Waiting with impatience to get it! ;)
As for the road I can't be so optimistic about it.... because judging by your 6th photo it was laid with construction rules' violations... and I am afraid a snowy winter will almost destroy it...
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:20 pm (UTC)
Well, there is at least temporary enjoyment for these villagers. This is worth something. I already have your address, so I will send you something next week during my journey in Maine. :)
(no subject) - anna_sollanna - Aug. 5th, 2015 02:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
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koluchkka
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:20 pm (UTC)
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<please [...] roads?>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

<Please tell me the reasons why Putin and your officials don't dedicate money to improve the lives of villagers and Russian citizens by building proper roads?>

What a question. I also would like to know.
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:22 pm (UTC)
I think there's a sign of promise and hope that these local Kursk officials actually did something. :) Hopefully this behavior will spread across the entire nation.
(no subject) - koluchkka - Aug. 4th, 2015 04:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 4th, 2015 04:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - koluchkka - Aug. 4th, 2015 04:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
kate_theisen
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:30 pm (UTC)
No offense...but lived my major part of life in Russia (as consequence long driving experience on many Russian roads, I love road trips), the two years in Illinois (worked part time with Uber, meaning again driving a lot around), and now moved to Virginia. Plus drove thru 25+ states in US. What can I tell? Roads in U.S. And European part of Russia comparable by it average quality...less or more good. Somewhere excellent somewhere need major work. The rest part of Russia need a lot of road work: true. Many state roads in U.S. need to be repared: also true. I don't need google to find proof. My car just got flat tire on a huge pothole in Maryland, as result 2000+ usd repair of suspension and etc. By good luck or chance I never had it happens in Russia this bad. My German husband, to be honest, don't like americain roads either, speaking of truly good roads Germany could compete very well:). Again no offense....just my opinion.
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:33 pm (UTC)
I'm not offended. :) However, my experience has not been the same as yours with U.S. roads. Btw, are you a woman? You aren't scared to be a Uber driver, and pick up random strangers? Just curious. Last time I used Uber, a young and very beautiful university student picked me up. I was shocked, and suddenly became worried that some psycho would harm her.
pin_gwin
Aug. 4th, 2015 04:58 pm (UTC)
I like to move it, move it...
In my daughter's AP Human Geography textbook I found an interesting metrics , based on ratio of the country biggest city to the sequence of smaller ones. The bigger the ratio and the steeper the lineup curve is, the lesser are the chances to gave even development in the remote areas. If the country has a single or too few even size cities, it will not have good opportunities for local developments in a smaller and remote ones, no jobs, no access to services, medicine, education. The situation like this could only be corrected by running certain government programs. I was also expressing an idea, that moving the capital out of Moscow somewhere close to Ural would be helpful. After having it there for 25 years, it should be rotated again, to far East, for instance. Temporary placing this magnet to remote area could improve local infrastructure to the top level. Gradually, whole country may become much more aligned.
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 05:00 pm (UTC)
Re: I like to move it, move it...
It's an interesting idea, for sure! :) But highly unlikely that the capital will be moved.
Imagine... - pin_gwin - Aug. 4th, 2015 05:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Imagine... - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 4th, 2015 05:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Imagine... - pin_gwin - Aug. 4th, 2015 05:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Imagine... - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 4th, 2015 05:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Imagine... - pin_gwin - Aug. 4th, 2015 05:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
sectopod
Aug. 4th, 2015 05:07 pm (UTC)
There is no thing which is built more often than roads nowadays, I think.

//very remote areas
What is "remote area" in kilometers?
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 05:10 pm (UTC)
Almost all U.S. States have very rural areas, located not far from major cities. There is farmland and rural life only 15 mins. from my hometown in Virginia. I love it there, but there is no work unless you're a farmer. :) Btw, did you know we have an online dating site specifically for farmers? It's cool http://www.farmersonly.com/. :))
(no subject) - sectopod - Aug. 4th, 2015 05:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - theodorexxx - Aug. 4th, 2015 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
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cossache
Aug. 4th, 2015 05:08 pm (UTC)
So i was right about road! :) Lucky guys,finally!

Edited at 2015-08-04 05:08 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 05:10 pm (UTC)
Yes, but you weren't the first to guess the proper answer. Sorry. :)
onkel_hans
Aug. 4th, 2015 05:25 pm (UTC)
Roads means communications.
Communications means civil society, self control economically and politically

This is both inconceivable and unpermissible in that country.

Everything must be centrally and manually controlled.

The transportation network is central and radial.

To get from Saratov to Samara, one must go via Moscow.
Not to say about the places in Far Siberia. The only way to commute between neighboring villages is via Moscow.

The inhabitants of Russia should better stay where they were born.
There need not be any mutual trade - everything is delivered from Moscow. Be happy, Russia. The Big Brother cares. Enjoy.

Of course, I exaggerate but only slightly.
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 05:29 pm (UTC)
Come on, sometimes you are too critical with your assessments of the Russian people and society. :))
- ultra_epifan - Aug. 5th, 2015 06:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
ottonturk_g
Aug. 4th, 2015 05:27 pm (UTC)
Roads in Russia - is overcorrupteed process. Absolutely all contracts a being taken with bribes. All bureaucrats who work with it a bandits... :::((((
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 05:32 pm (UTC)
Bandits! I think there must be at least a few honest bureaucrats in Russia. :)
(no subject) - theodorexxx - Aug. 4th, 2015 06:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ottonturk_g - Aug. 4th, 2015 08:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
wojzeh
Aug. 4th, 2015 05:29 pm (UTC)
I wonder why we do not have good roads here, in Quebec?
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 05:30 pm (UTC)
I've never been to Quebec, so I can't judge the quality of the roads. They are bad even in the city?
(no subject) - wojzeh - Aug. 4th, 2015 05:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
They suck, I confirm. - montrealex - Aug. 4th, 2015 09:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: They suck, I confirm. - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 5th, 2015 02:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: They suck, I confirm. - montrealex - Aug. 5th, 2015 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
beloborodoff
Aug. 4th, 2015 05:30 pm (UTC)
Why should Putin make some effort if he has 89% rate of approval ? Russians have a slave mentality. They loved a paved roads but they also OK without them. Same mentality in black Africa for example.
peacetraveler22
Aug. 4th, 2015 05:33 pm (UTC)
Yes, this 89% approval rating is astounding! Provides absolutely no incentive for leaders to get off their ass and do something to benefit society.

Edited at 2015-08-04 05:33 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 4th, 2015 05:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
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