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Snail's Pace
 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Snail's Pace

by Maria Antonova
Russia's postal system is overwhelmed and under fire.
 
The Russian Post (RP) continues to stoke the fury of millions. But now it is no longer just Russians who are  complaining of lost or delayed mailings. The antiquated, surly RP is even getting the attention of foreign countries.
 
A reported 500 tons of undelivered international parcels (many from internet merchants who ship from abroad) have accumulated in the Russian postal system and RP has even gotten an official letter from Deutsche Post, asking them to straighten out the situation. For its part RP is pointing its finger at slow customs officials.
 
Here is a Channel 1 report on the problem [all videos linked on this post are in Russian only].
 
 

For decades, Russians have put up with a postal system known best for its dusty offices, long lines and rude officials, but most importantly, for completely unpredictable services. Many who often place onlines, such as collectors scouring Ebay for rare finds, say they have to bring cakes and flowers to their local postal workers as a form of added insurance, so that their mailings will not disappear.

Despite some level of computerization in recent years, even letters mailed within Moscow take up to a month. Talks of reforming the company, Russia's biggest employer, have dragged on for years, with no apparent effect. The company has requested 220 billion rubles (about $8 billion) for modernization.

Meanwhile, citizens are taking matters into their own hands, shooting videos of nasty interactions with RP workers and officials. This one of a Russian citizen trying to register a foreigner in his apartment (he was refused because the copy he presented was in black and white, not color), shows him, at about minute 9, being chased out of the postal office by a worker with a broom. [The video has gone viral with half a million views in just a few days.]

 

And then there is this one of RP workers unloading boxes from a train – many of the boxes even appear to have a distinctive logo on their sides. Hold on to the end to see one of the workers toss a box at the videographer.

 
And, because we can't leave you on a note like this, check out htis final video put out by RP itself (maybe that's why they aren't getting things delivered?). It's a hilarious rap video by the Tambov Post department. Very catchy.