Tag Archives | Russia

Modes of Hitchhiking in Russia

 Francisco Martínez (EHI, Tallinn University)

– Palm down or thumb up: the fare depends on the gesture you do by the road.

– In Russia, even Lenin seems to hitchhike, standing with a hand in his pocket and the other pointing up towards the future.

Foto 1- Terje Toomistu haciendo auto-stop en Rusia

Fig 1. Terje, the walk between rides. Hitchhiking in Russia.

Hitchhiking is a way of travelling by charity, a sort of begging tourism. This practice of mobility is gaining popularity in Russia, paralleled to the disappearance of traditional ways of travelling cheap in the country.

There are indeed multiple modes of hitchhiking in Russia and not all of them legal. We can of course find the traditional one, idealised by the ‘Beat Generation’ and the ‘Hippies’.

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The Material Culture of (N)Ostalgie

[image found here]
A recent article by Vadim Nikitin on nostalgia in Russia for the USSR called my attention to a number of current projects and publications that focus specifically on fond reminiscences of the unique material culture of Soviet life:

The multivolume glossy, expensive books arising from the Namedni project, the latest of which was published in November, feature a grab bag of large color photographs, news clips, interviews and narratives about every year from 1961 to 2005. For instance, 1962 spans physicist Lev Landau winning the Nobel Prize, the launch of milk in plastic bags, the Cuban missile crisis and the Soviet debut of the Hula-Hoop. The books target readers who lived through Soviet times as well as those who, like me, were too young to have experienced the Soviet Union and want to know more about their parents’ generation.

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Karakat – Cars that Skate and Swim

Alla Sirotina (Tallinn University)
Karakat vehicles have huge smooth wheels, equipped with big bolts. Such tyres without any gripping pattern on the outside surface were certainly not made for the asphalt road. Sometimes the car is left standing near the house without any coverage. Other times, tyres are covered with black plastic bags. The carcass of the car is often cut into two halves; the authentic rear is then removed and replaced with a prolonged extension (imagine a limousine) that is made from all sorts of materials – the list of the items used for constructing such a car is limited only by the imagination. One can see these vehicles in eastern Estonia, in and around the town of Kallaste on the edges of Lake Peipsi.…

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