Two Babushkas

yemelyanovValentina Fyodorovna and Tamara Andreyevna, the great-grandmother and grandmother of Vladimir Yemelyanov, recently charged in the so-called Moscow case. Photo courtesy of Current Time

The Two Grandmothers of a Prisoner in the Moscow Case: How Vladimir Yemelyanov’s Family Gets On
Yevgenia Kotlyar
Current Time
October 18, 2019

Tamara Andreyevna, the grandmother of a new defendant in the so-called Moscow case, Vladimir Yemelyanov, comes home from the hospital.  She shows me her grandson’s room, which police searched on October 14. They arrived early, at 5:30 in the morning.

The woman cries.

“We just didn’t expect any of this. It would be another if he had behaved like a hooligan or something,” she says.

Tamara Andreyevna shows me her grandson’s desk, books, and game console. She says the security forces were looking for leaflets but only confiscated his personal diary.

“They came in here. The guards stood out there, while those guys turned this entire desk upside down. They rifled through everything. They were looking for leaflets or something else but found nothing. They wanted to confiscate the computer, but then changed their minds,” she recounts.

Vladimir was taken away after the search. On October 16, a court remanded him in custody for, allegedly, grabbing a Russian National Guardsman. In this footage, Yemelyanov, who is wearing a pink t-shirt, tries to pull a Russian National Guardsman away from the people at whom he is swinging his baton.

Vladimir lived in a modest apartment in the Moscow suburb of Mytishchi with his grandmother, Tamara Andreyevna, aged 74, and his great-grandmother, Valentina Fyodorovna, aged 92. The women say Vova helped them around the house by buying groceries and peeling potatoes. In his free time, he played computer games.

“He’s very secretive. He’s shy about telling you things. Other people tell you everything, but not him. He’s quiet, he kept everything to himself. He worked every day. I don’t know about his work, I didn’t ask him where he worked. He gave us money for the bills and food, he wasn’t a dependant,” says Tamara Andreyevna.

According to her, she raised her grandson from birth because his mother abandoned him in the maternity hospital. They didn’t know the father.

She shows me old photographs.

“Here’s Vovka when he was little,” she says. “She had him out of wedlock. He’s a half-breed, a Turk.”

Vova was a quiet young man. He finished eleven grades at school, then went to a vocational college, but then dropped out of university, she says. Tamara Andreyevna knew nothing about his going to protest rallies, although they occasionally spoke about politics.

“I didn’t even know there was a rally. I don’t watch the news, I’m not interested, but he went looking for the truth. I told him, ‘Vova, you won’t prove anything to anyone.’ He always upset about how people lived. On that count he was fair. Only no one has any use for this,’ says Tamara Andreyevna.

The family is uneasy with Vladimir at home: his great-grandmother is deaf, has poor eyesight, and has a hard time walking. When Tamara Andreyevna was in the hospital, she lost her medicine.

“Tamara, my eye medicine fell in there. I pulled everything out, but I can’t get in there,” the old woman complains.

Vladimir Yemelyanov faces up to five years in prison. He has been charging with assaulting a police officer. He pleaded not guilty.

“I think I cheered Grandma up. I said, ‘Mom, they said he’ll be in there until December 14, for two months.’ She said, ‘Oh, yeah? I’ll probably live to see the day.’ I bawled the whole way home,” Tamara Andreyevna says.

Vova’s great-grandmother, Valentina Fyodorovna, is certain her great-grandson will come home on December 14 when his two months in remand prison is over.

Thanks to Dmitry Kalugin for the heads-up. Translated by the Russian Reader

On a Rope

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Artem Kravchenko
Facebook
January 22, 2015 • Razvilka, Moscow Region

Re: words and deeds

My elder brother has a wife and four children, aged almost zero to nine years old. Boy-girl-boy-girl.

In this situation, of course, overall carelessness means that all six of them are stepping on each other’s toes, running around, jumping, being late getting somewhere, losing socks, toys, passports, and so on and so forth.

I don’t know exactly in what terms the youngest part of the family reflects on these difficulties (and whether they do reflect on them), but the eldest part of the family, it goes without saying, periodically tends to resort to dramatic statements on the matter.

For example, the mother of the family took a shine to a remarking, “It’s time to lather the rope!”

You can utter this phrase exhaustedly and phlegmatically. Or, on the contrary, belt it out while wringing your hands. Or stress each word strictly and disapprovingly. Basically, there are plenty of fine options.

But, as we all know well, “We cannot predict / How our words will resound” (Tyutchev).

Eventually, after a while my three-year-old nephew showed up and said, “Mom, I lathered you a rope.”

He pulled out a fairly long piece of twine, solicitously adding, “With good antibacterial soap.”

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Current Time
June 17, 2016

Community volunteers in Novosibirsk have spent a grant from the mayor’s office to organize a Zarnitsa [Soviet-era children’s war game] for children with disabilities. The goal was to adapt the children to life and integrate them into society. This is an interesting way of doing it.

[Subtitles]

The Novosibirsk authorities organized a Zarnitsa game for orphans and children with disabilities.

“And smile!”

“Put down the pistol.”

“There will be live fire. We are going to be firing, and we will be fired on.”

[Sign on left:] “Red Army warrior! The lair of the fascist beast lies ahead.”

“This is a war game, which the young generation needs nowadays.”

The game was meant to help the child adapt to life.

Translated by the Russian Reader. Photo courtesy of fakty.ictv.ua

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