Pavements (otherwise known as 'sidewalks' thanks to the Americans) are our metaphorical rat here in Moscow Russia. The city has a new mayor. His wife 'allegedly' has/had links with a brick company and now by pure chance, luck, fate or successful business tender, the city is undergoing a massive pavement renewal project. The streets are being repaved. Can you feel your nose twitching?. These pavements will need millions of bricks. The tarmac (asphalt) is being dug up and grey bricks are being put down.
This information and story is not new or from my own hand, it is already in the foreign press (see below). It was reported in the Moscow News. However, when I heard that the mayors wife has/had 'alleged' links to a brick company and I saw the pavements being redone, my nose went up in the air, like a bloodhound after a fox. I do some business at private communities here in Moscow. These communities are the Beverly Hills of Russia. Huge gated communities with high fences and security cameras everywhere, you can smell the money and smell the rats. Huge palaces that look like movie sets from French historical classics are springing up within these gated communities. I doubt very much that many of these houses were funded and paid for by legitimate money, via legitimate business profit. I suspect a new large house will very soon be erected at an unknown location, somewhere in Russia or in another country. Perhaps it is being built right now?
I saw exactly the same situation in Slovakia and with their city pavements. The pavements are brick. One day they were laid and the workers did a good job and it looked very smart, then the next year the street was dug up for new cables. The bricks were taken up and badly relaid , then the next year the street was dug up again, this time for water pipes and badly relaid. By the third year, the pavements looked so untidy and full of missing bricks that it was dangerous to walk on. A perpetual cycle of moronic city planning. Bad city planning goes on everywhere nowadays because no one wants to take responsibility and communication between departments is bad to non existent. A contract is 'won' not always based on logic, ability or cost efficiency.
Russia is colder than Slovakia, with few if any parking laws, huge heavy cars park on the pavements, the winters are still freezing, weight and ice do not go well on oven cast bricks. I am sure pipes and cables will need to be laid when a new businessman 'wins' by 'tender' to provide water pipes or fibre optic cables to offices in the Moscow streets. These new bricks in Moscow will need to be dug up and relaid and this pattern will continue, year after year, when I am long gone until the pavements look awful and new 'person', 'wins' a new contract to relay the pavements again in Moscow. In short, it is an endless cycle of money exchanging hands and filling pockets, to build a new palaces, in some private gated community or in a foreign country far way from nosy public eyes.
Of course, the brick supplier whoever he or she is, can never be proved to be the mayors wife or linked to him or her in any way, this is only an imaginary rat and an 'alleged' opinion as suggested by popular media gossip.
These rats, make the world go round, some get rich but most get by. That's life. Its not what you know but who you know and this applies to all of us in every country throughout the world. We should not be bitter or jealous but just have good connections, be in the right place at the right time and have the arrogant nerve, audacity and luck to pave our own streets with gold.
Further reading on this see:
- Moscow crazy paving scandle, The Moscow News, Lidia Okorokova 07/07/2011
- The Moscow sidewalk shuffle, The Moscow News, Tim Wall 07/07/2011
- Moscow Mayor
- Sidewalk replacement