I've been invited to [the state-owned Radio Mayak] today, their evening show, at 9 PM. A girl with a pass came down to the entrance and called to me. The guard told her (as if I didn't exist): I'm not letting him through. He's drunk. I saw him stagger. (I've got my iPod in my ear, and I must have been doing a little dance while I waited). And he just wouldn't yield up. I said, OK, fine, no questions, I've got other things to do. The girl's eyes popped. The show was about to get canceled. “Marat Aleksandrovich,” she asks, “have you been drinking?”
I could barely keep myself from laughing. Went out for a cigarette while she was pressuring the guard with the help of her bosses. I could've left, by the way, had the moral right to do so. And then let them decide “who caused the cancellation of the show.”
When some customs official at [Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport] decided that [the work] of [Blue Noses, “the pranksters of the Russian art scene] was disagreeable to the senses of those who love Putin, his bosses were also far away and the paintings were [not allowed out of the country]. Then [the Western media wrote that Putin's regime had initiated and exercised censorship].
My point is that the idiot customs official has as much to do with Putin's regime as this office building guard has to do with [Mayak Radio]. But it's necessary for the bosses to be around.
A few readers disagreed with Gelman, of course:
They do have something to do with it, both of them. Bosses determine the behavior of their employees. And so, under a different regime, both guys would have had a somewhat different understanding of their responsibilities.
Yes, it's funny. Everything's still there. A guard (aka as a [hotel guard], aka as “an old lady sitting by the entrance”) remain kings in our reality and turn this reality into [sovok], and sovok has a really strong base at some level exactly because it relies on the feelings that motivate such a “guard” – to get satisfaction from exercising authority without any personal financial gain. Spirituality, in a way :) […]
When no one is punished for the death of a submarine crew and the country's president smiles in response, and when later no one is punished again for using grenades and tanks at a school [in Beslan, in Sept. 2004], this is when the guards and customs officials begin to understand that there is no one to punish them for anything that they do, that everything will be forgiven and forgotten. […]