>> 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?
* 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...