The 64,000 Ruble question – St Petersburg, Russia

I love stereotyping and generalising. It keeps my world simple and easy for me to digest. Plus I don’t need to clog the creative arteries to my mind with worries like “research” and “facts” which are w-a-y overrated. So anyway, it turns out that no stereotypes on this earth are as accurate as those regarding Russians.

ivanI’m generalising now of course, but consider these top 5 classic Russian stereotypes (all confirmed);

  1. Russians are pre-occupied and unfriendly – tick
  2. Russians are incorrigibly over-officious – tick
  3. Russians have some serious vodka issues – tick
  4. Russian women are tall, tanned and wonderfully indifferent – tick
  5. You can’t trust the Russian police to “serve and protect” – tick

Which brings us to the subject of my blog – the 64,000 ruble question.

Here’s the scenario.

You are driving your beat up old Lada along one of St Petersburg’s busiest streets, trying to change lanes, when you accidentally and unfortunately are the cause of a minor bingle with a brand new black Porsche 911. Minor in that you run up the back of it and cause a scratch. For the sake of the scenario, lets say your name is Ivan.

The driver of the Porsche (let’s call him Viktor) is less than impressed with you, your driving, and your Lada, and insists on calling the traffic police to attend the “accident”.

While traffic finds it’s way around the scene, your passenger (Svetlana) decides she doesn’t want to hang around with you to see how this pans out, so she jumps out, negotiates the oncoming traffic, and blends into the rush hour crowd.

So, Ivan, considering what has been established above regarding Russian stereotypes, what do you do? Do you:

a) Decide that Svetlana was onto a good thing and follow her into the crowd?

b) Figure you can somehow persuade Viktor that the two of you would be better served sharing a smoke and a few vodka’s, and just laughing the whole thing off at the nearest “pubsky”?

or c) Stand around for 45 minutes talking on your phone until the police arrive, hand over your driver’s licence, answer some routine questions, before finally walking casually behind the police car and making a mad dash for freedom, abandoning your vehicle and any chance of a reasonable outcome?

Well folks, our good friend Ivan chose c), which although provided an hour or so of free entertainment to those of us watching the scene unfold from a restaurant window directly above, probably wasn’t the smartest of the available choices. I only wish I had also caught Victor’s subtle kick of poor Ivan’s Lada on his way back to his car, and presumably, back to his life.

Oh and by the way, yes the police gave chase, but returned empty handed – and a little puffed – a few minutes later. Maybe Ivan knew his Russian stereotypes quite well after all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *