April 12, 2013

Snail's Pace


Snail's Pace
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.
 
 
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
A Taste of Chekhov

A Taste of Chekhov

This compact volume is an introduction to the works of Chekhov the master storyteller, via nine stories spanning the last twenty years of his life.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
The Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
Steppe / Степь

Steppe / Степь

This is the work that made Chekhov, launching his career as a writer and playwright of national and international renown. Retranslated and updated, this new bilingual edition is a super way to improve your Russian.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955