Hot water may be free in Russia, unlike many more civilized countries, but it doesn’t come problem-free. And, as we all know, sometimes it doesn’t come at all.
Every summer, the killjoys at local water heating facilities all over the country douse our joyful revelry in the lush greenery and soaring temperatures of summer with three weeks of cold, cold water.
How is it, one asks oneself as one stands shivering in the shower’s icy torrents, that a country that invented the pirozhok and sent the first human into space could fail to devise a system for cleaning the hot water pipes that doesn’t involve inflicting mass torture on its citizens and “guests of the country?” Russia as Churchill once aptly observed, is a puzzle wrapped in a question inside an enigma.
Of course, optimists may look at the bright side and say that hardship builds character, helps one to count one’s blessings and does many other useful things. Stone-age man lives without hot water, as did the nobility of the eighteenth century – who who were known for bathing as little as possible, in fact.
But in a former super-power entering the 21st century, there can be little excuse for the barbarism of the annual practice of shutting off the city’s hot water supply.
One can only conclude that everyone responsible for the hot water hardship – from President Yeltsin himself down to the lowliest controller at a hot water plant – has his or her own personal hot water heater. How else to explain the lack of action on the matter?
Now Yuri Luzkhov, recently elected mayor of Moscow, says the city is unlikely to have a continuous supply of hot water for another 20 years.
Chto za bezobraziye”
This last phrase as near as I can tell means, stop the ugliness! pirozhok – refers to a pastry, in our word, pierogi.