Friday Special: In Soviet Russia, Bowl Punches You

by John Bninski

This Friday, we have a missive from John Bninski who has been spending some time in the sunny, sandy shores of Moscow.

Yes yes yes, or rather da, Punch Bowl knows that it’s not Soviet Russia anymore, just like Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia aren’t, respectively, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia anymore. But the Communist influence lingers on, as much in the remembrance of Russian citizens as in the mysteriously transplanted East German bus station that passes for public art on 40th street. After all, in the Soviet days, at least there was order and discipline – these days, good heavens! Women smoke cigarettes!

Consequent on this thirst for a strong authority who will keep everything in line is Russians’ toleration for a pretty tough regime of miliciya (loosely translated, “the fuzz”), who can stop you on the street without any reason at all. Beyond that, there’s a branch of government called MChS (loosely translated, “Ministry of Crazy Shit”) for those times when the fan is spinning particularly rapidly or the excretory product is particularly fragrant. You may know them as the guys who (find something good from the news and insert it here). Even with these fine fellows on the job, though, there’s so much khaos and khooliganstvo polluting contemporary Russian society that your ordinary citizen is obliged, in a Darwinian sort of way, to attain a certain level on the badazmofosky (loosely translated, “bad-ass mofo-ness”) scale. Exhibit A would have to be Yuri Zhdanov of Irkutsk, a grey-haired gent of not inconsiderable age, who, upon witnessing a pistol murder, stopped the perp cold with… a bottle of vodka. First, he held it in his jacket pocket, where it looked enough like a gun to serve the purpose. Then, with a directness of approach and clarity of purpose that would have done credit to management consultants half his age, Grazhdanin Zhdanov raised his bot. of the good stuff and proceeded to beat the man senseless. If that’s not civic engagement, we don’t know what is—and we’ve been to that jawns where 7-11 hands out free Slurpees.

So next time you use your fake ID to nab an underage pollitra of Stolichnaya, remember the socially important uses your beverage has, and raise a glass to Yuri. Chase it with a sour pickle – it’s not nearly as disgusting as it sounds, and that’s how they katajutsa (literally, “roll”) in the Motherland. Punch Bowl’s next communique from Moscow will describe how the Bear Cavalry has upgraded from AK’s to laser-guided bottles of Veda.

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