Regular followers of La Russophobe will remember “Hero Journalist”, part-time-science-fiction-novelist-and-full-time-loose-cannon Yulia Latynina with warm affection. La Russophobe has a soft spot in her heart for her, too, for a couple of reasons. For one, she likes the cut of Latynina’s jib, since she appears to hate Russia nearly as much as La Russophobe does. For another, she’s one of the few genuinely ugly Russian women, although she might well have been a smokin’ babe when she was, say, 20. Finally, and most importantly, she does a great deal of the pick-and-shovel work for La Russophobe, penning acidic complaining rants about the government that La Russophobe simply copies and pastes. Money for jam, as the British say.
Consider their most recent effort. Closure of the bridge on Leningradskoye Schosse has Latynina’s dudgeon in overdrive. Well, in the next sentence we learn that the bridge is not actually closed. It’s reduced from three lanes to one. Reducing traffic flow in order to carry out roadwork is the signature of an amoeba, according to the intrepid Hero Journalist and would-be Transportation Minister.
I did a little research, and leadership at the municipal and national level by amoebas is considerably more common than you might expect. In England, for example. And Ohio, where the Fulton Road Bridge in Cleveland was closed for four years. Minneapolis. Washington State, where Interstate 405 in Renton is shut down. The proliferation of amoebas at this point in my search so depressed me that I had to stop. For the less faint of heart, try a google search that includes, “traffic delay roadwork (insert name here) airport”. There are many, many more examples.
“This kind of stupidity happens only in Russia — or maybe Zimbabwe as well”, trumpets Latynina furiously. I beg to differ, brillo-head. Reducing traffic flow in order to carry out roadwork is not only prudent everywhere for the safety of motorists, but maintenance crews as well. If all traffic lanes in this case were left open, and crews tried to dodge cars as they shoveled hot asphalt and strongbacked steel beams, inevitably someone would be killed. Then you’d have to change your story to, “Idiot Russian maintenance crews try to fix bridge without stopping traffic due to incompetence of Chief Amoeba”. Latynina acknowledges the bridge has needed repair since 2000. When they finally get around to doing it, of course that’s wrong, too. While we’re on that subject – if Latynina could spot that the bridge needed repair since 2000, why was it such a surprise to Sheremetyevo management when maintenance work commenced?
Briefly channeling President Thomas Jefferson (who authorized and put up the cash for construction of what became known as the National Road), Latynina wants to know why they didn’t build another road around the bridge, so travelers enroute Sheremetyevo would not have to experience delays. How many non-amoebas thought of that solution elsewhere in the world? Well, none, apparently. Is there really a need for a ramp to be constructed around every major bridge in Moscow, just in case it might sometime need fixing? Well, probably that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but Latynina insists this bridge is critical, because it’s the only way to get to Sheremetyevo. Is that true? Well, no, actually.
“Last week’s transportation debacle on Leningradskoye Shosse is a good example of the possible collapse of Putin’s Russia. Both underscore our leaders’ complete lack of strategic planning, their habit of stealing everything they can get away with, and the absurdity of Russian reality when the stupidity of a minor official can cause a complete disaster affecting millions of Russians”, foams Latynina.
Can you think of an occasion when the stupidity of a minor official caused a complete disaster affecting millions of people somewhere other than Russia? Yes, I thought perhaps you could.
Tiring slightly as she staggers into the home stretch, Latynina lurches into Defense-Minister mode, and proposes (jokingly, of course, the gal is a cut-up) that a quick fix would be to have tanks line the bridge abutments, and “bomb every other car” so as to clear the traffic jams. She does not say how she could get a tank to function as a bomber, but doubtless an explanation will be forthcoming in a future science-fiction novel.
Meanwhile, if you’re planning to fly out of Sheremetyevo this weekend, you’ve got a choice to make – about five hours in your car, or thirty-five minutes via AeroExpress. Take your time, you don’t have to make up your mind right away.