Burying Russia

This dispatch by Tom Parfitt from Moscow was published by the Times of London and was not intended as an imitation of a piece from the Onion or the National Lampoon. Take a look at the images and video in this Russian-language article, not a spoof either. This is what Parfitt is writing about:

This scene startled some Russians last week as footage of it was circulated on social media. They were not workmen laying pipes or soldiers making trenches, but participants in a competition to carve out the best-proportioned grave in the fastest possible time.

As spectators looked on, judges lowered empty coffins into the freshly created holes to ensure they were the correct size.

More coverage at the Moscow Times. A similar competition was held in Hungary in 2016 but context is everything. The Russian background is Covid-19, political repression, and general hopelessness. “Russia is burying itself” is what comes to mind.

And this snippet deserves special attention:

A team from the city of Omsk were the winners, receiving 30,000 roubles (£290) for digging a grave in 38 minutes.

Omsk in the city in Western Siberia where Alexey Navalny was hospitalized after getting poisoned in August 2020. Two of the doctors who treated him or oversaw his treatment have died since, one of a heart attack and the other of a stroke. The hospital’s chief physician, promoted shortly to the “minister of public health” of the Omsk region, was suspected dead after disappearing in the taiga – but made it back, miraculously.

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