10 October 2006

Polling Bishkek Taxi Drivers

Q: What do you think of independent Kyrgyzstan?

A: It was better in Soviet times - everybody had work, schools and hospitals were free. I was a Komsomolyets, and was going to become a Communist just before the breakup. On the other hand, in those days I never would have been able to buy a Mercedes, and here I am.


A: There was order in those days, now it's a jungle, every man for himself. People drive however they want, the rules of the road mean nothing. We need a strong man to rule here, like Putin in Russia.


A: This place is a fucking mess, just look at these streets. I'll tell you something about the Kyrgyz. There's two things they know how to do: sit, and drink tea. They don't understand the meaning of honest work. It's not in their genes, they just haven't been exposed to civilization for long enough. Everything you see here we built for these people, and now the lazy fuckers are letting it all fall apart, stealing whatever they can carry away.


A: The mafia is running everything, including parliament. I was an engineer in Soviet times, I have two advanced degrees, and look at me now: driving a cab trying to get bread for my children. In the old days I had holidays in Sevastopol, in Georgia, we had everything we needed. I went hunting in Siberia almost every fall. Now I have to fight for every Som I get, and can't get a Russian visa.


A: You have to ask? Are you serious? This place is going down the toilet, fast. I have a cousin in Moscow, and hopefully I'll have enough to move there by this summer. Screw this place.


A: Our politicians are theives, and do nothing for the people. How is a pensioner supposed to live here for $25 per month? With a pension of $300 I wouldn't complain, surely that isn't much to ask for is it?


A: It's funny, in the old days everybody had money and there was nothing to buy. Now you can buy whatever you want, and nobody has enough money.