Guns and the expat family

>> Thursday, 21 June 2012

I had a classic Moscow Moment on Sunday.  In a quiet corner of our compound, one of the bodyguards who works for a fellow-resident was exercising in the sunshine.  What's remarkable about that?   Well - I say 'a quiet corner', but he could be clearly seen from our carport.  And I say 'exercising', but what I mean was tai-chi, martial arts moves, and push-ups on a bench.  So far, so par for the course, in this rarified world that we've somehow found ourselves living in.

He was doing this all without his shirt on - which in itself, is also not remarkable here.  When it's warm enough it's not unusual to see Russian men without their shirts in town, whether it's exercising, just taking a walk alongside the main road, or sitting in the sunshine.

No.  What was remarkable was that he was doing his shirtless exercises with a hand gun tucked into the waist-band of his trousers.

Now, you can raise your eyebrows, shrug your shoulders and say 'Only in Russia' as many expats here do.  Or, you can do what I did, and complain to the management of the compound*.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not naive enough to imagine that the bodyguards looking after some of the more illustrious residents of our compound aren't armed.  I know that they are.  When you've got a follow-car and a couple of heavies in your entourage, of course your protection will be carrying guns, I get that.

But when those guns are carried in full view of my impressionable children, as if it is the norm, acceptable, and everyday behaviour to carry one?

Not OK.

* The management were helpful, by the way.  I'm hoping that at the very least, he keeps his shirt on next time.  Or leaves his gun elsewhere.  Either will do... 


About Last Weekend 22 June 2012 at 02:01  

That's scary, very. Mind you we live in Oakland and I suspect loads of people have them tucked into their very low low down pants.

manycoloured-days 22 June 2012 at 08:36  

I don't know how to post a picture in the comments, but one of my most remarkable pictures from Moscow was taken at the entrance of the European Shopping Mall (go take a a picture). It's one of those pictograms that tell you what you can't take in to the mall -ice cream, bicycles, rollerblades and I can't remember all of them but one was definetely guns!

Irene 22 June 2012 at 15:07  

That would have bothered me too for the children's sakes. I'm glad you complained and was listened to. xox

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