|2004-09-09 - Ruslan
We´ve pitched the cot on a sandbank at N 64°03´45.4 and E 154°25´18.9, overcast and raining most of the day, it feels like a threat of worse weather to come, 2-14°C, light winds from NEN throughout the day, we´ve paddled 49 km;s. 9th of September.
As promised, the 3rd of 4 stories from our visit in Seimchan:
When we entered one of Seimchans many shops, all filled to the brink with goods, Ruslan laughed embarrassingly and said:
´´So much to buy, but so few with the money to do so!´´
Ruslan´s one of the friendliest characters one can encounter. Dignified, interested, full of joy, intelligent, with a profound conscious and very active mind. He was brought up in Magadan, has a university degree in economy and one as a bear scientist, and he had moved to Seimchan together with three other people from Magadan, to take care and run Seimchan politically and care for its administrative section. He also moved there because he reckoned the potential for future development were enormous, even though it was difficult to get those who ran the country in the west to understand this fact.
´´I haven´t received my wage for some time´´, he said, ´´but I can manage. There´s plenty of people here which suffers much more.´´
We left the shops and drove to his little datja, a small green house, which was full of tomatoes, capsicum, potatoes and other vegetables. He immediately gave us 2 kilos of spuds as a gift.
´´I take care of this datja together with my parents´´, he said and pointed at a 3-storied white and scruffy apartment bloc not far away, ´´they joined me from Magadan.´´
Everyone we came across had their own datja, which they took care of meticulously and which was the base of their survival.
´´When my girlfriend is visiting me´´, he continued, ´´she helps me.´´
His girlfriend studied in Magadan and they met when possible. Even though there´s a road between Magadan and Seimchan, approx 500 k ;s, much depends on the weather, whether it is possible to meet or not..
´´If all goes well, it´s only a 8 hours drive, but sometimes it is 24 hours, at times one just have to turn back´´, he laughed at the same time as he continued to drive us around in a run-down Toyota, once imported by boat directly from Japan to Magadan.
We first of all visited the abandoned airfield. It´s mmain building was constructed in timber ten years ago. It was still beautiful, at least compared to the restaurant, which was a ruin.
´´A terrible businessman started all this, but a year later it all went bankrupt. This is one of the major problems here, bad and unserious businessmen´´, he explained during the time we passed an uncountable amount of industries and farms in shambles and ruins.
The biggest problem in Seimchan, though, in the perspective of moving the development ahead, was the fact that more than 50% of the inhabitants in Seimchan was retired people.
´´But I still see a positive future´´, he explained emotionally, ´´as long as the people who run the country discover this jewel called Seimchan.´´
Ruslan was also a modern thinker in another sense, he actually asked us if he was allowed to smoke when we were together! The normal rule is otherwise, that people here consider us odd for not enjoying to smoke or that we don´t want to smoke our lungs into pieces. On top of this, it was refreshing to meet Ruslan and his friends, all well educated, young and from Magadan, who, as a change, considered the days of the Soviet regime with loathe, really felt happy that Russia´s borders was opening to the west and that all Russians now became part of the rest of the global community. They were also, very unusual again, positive regarding the future for Russia and its people. Most of the people we´ve come across so far, even though they´ve been great people, have been openly negative and missed the days of the Sovjet regime for different reasons. Most are old and either they miss those days because they´ve lost their former privileges or they fear the uncertainty which always follow
s a major change.
Even though I am aging, gee, thank God for the young ones! With Russians like Ruslan and his friends, Russia has a great future to come!