Saturday, 18 September 2010

knowing nothing

Seem to be some great new Moscow blogs - see sidebar - or maybe I just missed these before. Got an increasing awareness of how naïve I am to think I can write about my experiences here with any confidence when I speak no Russian (and do not seem to be improving in that area in the slightest).

For example, had another very minor, but confusing, experience with my landlords N + A. The new custom-made, and very thin, double mattress has arrived. I happily laid it across the two existing single mattresses/beds, stuffed some blankets down the gap and held everything together with the elastic corners provided.

But then the owners came down and appeared shocked: it seemed that such a chore had to be done by another neighbour (E) who is very good at these things - he had already been summoned on a previous occasion to attach a plastic lid to a plastic bucket. My landlord literally seemed to droop with dejection when he saw I had already done the job. So neighbour E was nonetheless called, and having poked idly at the mattress edges and declared the task completed, was thanked profusely.

I assume this is a tiny example of blat  (блат), a term, defined by Wikipedia, as describing the use of informal agreements, exchanges of services and connections in the old Soviet Union. But I could be completely wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Hello i would say its incorrect use of word. however i can not imagine why they got upset.
    as for blat - its when for example you go to visa center and there is huge line, but you go directly to the managers office jumping the line coz you have blat my british friends used to joke " in russia you have to know someone who knows someone..."