Published on March 25th, 2015 | by Rick Robison0
THE AEROFLOT BROTHEL
(Note: Obviously Aeroflot Airlines, since the collapse of Soviet Communism, has upgraded and improved service substantially, especially on their international flights. Today, in fact, I enjoy flying Aeroflot. However, at the time…)
- “You are Amer-ree-can beez-neez-man?”
Throughout history too often men believe they are cutting new trail, when in reality, they are digging their own graves.
Right after leaving full-time government employ, I joined an American company doing business in the former Soviet Union, newly renamed (taking the old name) “Russia.”
A long story short—On an internal Aeroflot flight between Alma Ata, Khazakhstan, and Novosibirsk, Russia, I popped free of the barely foot-and-a-half-wide seat onto the isle’s sticky, gouged linoleum, heading for the only bathroom on the large, ancient Russian Ilyushin airliner.
Passing on the communal drinking cup offered by an amazingly muscular and sultry-haired 250-pound stewardess named Olga, I talked my way into the galley in the center of the plane, trying to reach the lavatory. However, Olga was determined to keep the bathroom open and unused, the reason I was soon to discover.
On the far side of the large, central galley, was seated my American colleague, green to the deprivations of flying internal Aeroflot. I was concerned that perhaps he was sprawling unconscious from sampling the week-old, greasy and cold chicken parts Olga had tossed (literally) to her many customers the previous hour from a salmonella-lined, plastic bucket.
I pushed my way past her, into the heart of the galley only to be confronted by a heavy-set fellow perhaps in his forties, flaunting a wrinkled suite-coat with shiny slacks, and sporting a limp, stained, brown tie. An Azeri cigarette dangled from a swarthy, ink-black mustache, further putrefying the ecoli-infested airline “kitchen.”
“I watch you, you are no Russian,” he spoke, heavily-accented English.
“You’d be right,” I said. I introduced myself, admittedly reluctant. The man was from Azerbaijan, notorious for its smugglers and knock-off artists. He blocked the way to the bathroom, and stuck a business card in my face, printed rather poorly in Russian and English.
“I am beez-neez-man. My name, Khalid. Your card, please,” he demanded.
After a short discussion, he offered a small glass of Stolichnaya, which I passed on. He then wanted to discuss several unnamed lines of “cheap” merchandise he hawked out of Alma Ata. He was deliberately vague, however, and apparently convinced he had found his pot of gold in this well-dressed American.
Finally, the Azeri motioned to someone seated in the shadows, over against the wall. The young woman stepped out assertively from behind the rumpled, swarthy Khalid. Blonde, well-endowed and reasonably good looking (though I had been in the bag for over a month now. My judgment tends to slip over time.). “Natasha” spoke only Russian—though the language barrier, at that point, was hardly a barrier. She pressed her assets up close and motioned in the direction of the tiny bathroom, the only one on the plane, but well within the kitchen. (Yes, the bathroom really was in the kitchen, even sporting a Russian Health Department “Approved” sticker.) I remember being backed up against the counter by Natasha and, like a schmuck, sticking my hand in a pan of fatty chicken parts.
Finally a head-fake out-maneuvered the determined young female entrepreneur and I slipped through the far door and to my American comrade’s seat, which faced the galley. He quickly pulled me down, motioning excitedly at the open restroom. “Do you know what they’re doing in there?” He pointed at Khalid and the blond through the open galley door. “Every twenty or thirty minutes that young woman goes into the restroom with a different male passenger and locks the door. Those two, and the stewardess (Olga), are working together. They’re running a brothel in here! Talk about your friendly skies!” He paused to catch his breath. “Amazing,” he mused. “Who says these Russians aren’t entrepreneurial enough to survive communism?”
- THE NEW-AGE, HYPER-CAPITALISTS
At that time, Russia, and all of Eastern Europe, was emerging from the totalitarian Soviet experiment, one that had cost the lives of untold millions. Thank you Lenin and Marx. Communist governments were collapsing right and left, but into the vacuum slipped equally despotic thugs, masquerading as “presidents,” and the like. New-age “hyper-capitalists” who give capitalism a bad name. Many were, and are, a viral mutation of your normal freemarketeers. Mostly men, and some women, who are loyal to self, and to their own partners and cronies, many from their extended families, people they can trust, people who understand how the game is played. We’ve seen this before, of course, in the world of organized crime.
In the former Yugoslavia, for example, or in any war-torn region where the goverments collapse or wither away, misery and exploitation always fill the gap. Never let anyone tell you that borrowing or debt or financial mismanagement, especially on a national level, is “no problem.” “It’s okay, we just owe it to ourselves.” We’ve all heard it, many times. Greece and Spain have done it and are now suffering on the brink. Much of Europe is teetering. Even America, under President Barack Obama, doesn’t seem to have a problem with conciously printing and spending our beleaguered US Dollar like it grows on trees—17 trillion dollars, our debt growing by billions per day. Insanity.
I’ll spare you as to just how much 17 trillion actually is. Though mind-boggling, to me that’s not what’s truly important. For government debt and over-spending is a moral issue, one that is far more threatening to our humanity.
- PEOPLE GOTTA EAT
When a government devalues the currency by expanding debt, such dishonest practice sooner or later brings the economy crashing down. In the inevitable malaise, industries collapse, businesses shut their doors, the tax-base dries up, our national security is compromised, governments and major corporations are unable to pay their obligations and pensions, and people are thrown out of work.
Blaming their lot on others, still most people don’t sit around waiting for things to improve. They gotta eat, their kids are cold and starving, their life is unraveling. So, what you get is a war for the remaining, very limited and fast disappearing, resource base—food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medicine. Men kill other men to control commodity markets, and women, if they are able, sell their bodies on the streets. Murder, rape, theft, drug dealing and abuse, smuggling, human trafficking, all the ugliest forms of human existance and exploitation rise to the surface. Courts and jails are overwhelmed with a sunami of offenders. The worst offenders, due to corruption, are never prosecuted.
- THE ULTIMATE MORAL ISSUE
I’ve seen this time and again in the world, the pattern tragic, yet oh so predictable. People always suffer, especially those at the lower end of the scale—the poor, the unconnected minorities, the sick and weak. People die unnecessarily, women and children are abused. In a world where the freemarket has been destroyed, civility, law, and order break down. Finally, terrorists move in, setting up shop in the power vacuum.
Never, ever let anyone tell you that government fiscal policy is not a moral issue. We need men and women leaders who understand this. And in spite of America’s many economic reserves and resources, such a possibility is not as distant as we might think. When it comes, you watch, our local and national leaders will all run from the hard fixes, pointing their fingers at each other as they fight to shift the blame.
It doesn’t have to be. America is a blessed land, one that was built by hard work, sacrifice, and the blood of patriots. But when the Desolators, the self-serving, the plunderers, take command, those who believe in exploiting any and all crises for their own advantage, Desolation is not far from our door.
When the wicked rule, the people mourn—Proverbs 29:2