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Unfiled March 20, 2003
Escape from Tynda
By Jake Rudnitsky Browse author Email
Page 3 of 6
While offering his critique, he must have referred to the izubr killing scene from my Evenk article twenty times. Never anything else, just the izubr. I imagine he'd sat many an hour with a dictionary and translating program trying to understand what was in front of him. The scene he referred to made up the first paragraphs of the first story I wrote about Tynda, and I'm sure he got no farther. He didn't need to. That was apparently enough to upset him. Maybe he's a vegetarian.

The agent was getting more aggressive. At one point, he threatened me, "If you don't produce your accreditation on Monday morning in my office, on Tuesday you won't be in Russia." Immediate deportation was a tall order, considering the quickest way out of Tynda, by my estimation, would take the better part of two days.

The friend took to tailing me wherever I went, which I only tolerated until he started hitting on me, grabbing onto my shoulder and rubbing it. When I told him to fuck off, he was too drunk to even attempt a swing at me, the typical Tynda reaction. He just lost his balance.

Meanwhile, the spook was harassing the girl I was with, calling her a slut for consorting with an American. He didn't realize she worked at Tranzit and, when he started getting rude, she called over her bouncer friends. What followed was a pitiful scene reminiscent of me flashing my eXile card in a futile attempt to get into Tsepelin; the impotent agent flashed his FSB udostoverenie at the two pumped guards, who told him if he said another word to the girl, he'd be thrown out. The card probably saved him from getting the shit kicked out of him out back, but it hardly increased his mystique.

Looking at this pitiful specimen, it is easy to dismiss offhand any talk of Putin restoring the KGB to its former glory by putting them in charge of the borders or even the country. The agent might be able to make my life uncomfortable, but that jowly fool isn't descended from the chiseled NVKD agents that sent millions to the GULAGs. Back in '37, everyone in Tranzit would have been given a tenner in Magadan for Article 58. Whatever the alarmists might claim, the FSB won't be able to regroup. It is far too weak, incompetent and poorly organized to effectively run a police state. There's no revolutionary spirit anymore and they're too greedy to be nationalists; they're just interested in the quick buck they can make controlling Russia's drug rackets.

Meanwhile, the other end of the legal spectrum was closing in on me. The day before my FSB encounter, I nearly became a Death Porn poster boy.
My attacker Ilya, teen sex magnet Fil, vor v zakone Vanya, and Fil

My attacker Ilya, teen sex magnet Fil, vor v zakone Vanya, and Fil

That day, I was already shitfaced by four in the afternoon after having drunk two glasses of "medicine" at the offices of the Avant Garde, Tynda's local paper. My friend Vladimir Nikolaevich, a Prima-smoking alcoholic journalist who's face was ringed with a three-inch horseshoe of fat, felt ill and therefore was drinking 120 proof spirits with ginseng instead of his usual vodka. He insisted that I try some, as it had healing properties that the chetvertushka, or .25l, of vodka I'd brought didn't.

Alcohol that strong burns a hole down your esophagus as effectively as acid. It certainly isn't meant for human consumption. It didn't even help when I cut the second glass with water. I had just stopped by to find out if he could help me get registered. Thirty minutes later I was weaving down the street, looking the part of the village drunk.

From there I decided to visit the Fils, where there's always someone home to drink with. The Fils are two twenty-something brothers who live, along with their mother, in an apartment with no stove, kitchen sink or even wallpaper. When I showed up, the older Fil and his mother were alone; she was already drunk and plotting how to get more. I gave her some money and she took off.

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