Posted 3 февраля 2022,, 19:40

Published 3 февраля 2022,, 19:40

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Fun at the price of life: how to "blow balloons" in the center of Moscow

Fun at the price of life: how to "blow balloons" in the center of Moscow

3 февраля 2022, 19:40
Gas is firmly entrenched in the entertainment menu of the "golden youth" in Russia. The law on limiting the circulation of nitrogen peroxide was adopted by the State Duma in December 2020. But the “high conveyors” in some establishments are still on the move.

The special correspondent of "Novye Izvestia" under the guise of a client was convinced of this personally in a "thematic bar" in the very center of Moscow.

Ivan Goryainov

About the new youth entertainment - the so-called "balls" has been known since about 2015. In closed institutions, children spend hours on end inhaling not mountain air. In appearance, these are ordinary bars or hookah or nightclubs - and they position themselves that way, many even have their own open pages on social networks. But you won’t learn about the “main dish” of the menu from open sources.

The doors to these cellars are closed. Call entry. Guards meet you at the door. Beginners get inside only under special patronage: together with "guarantors" - old trusted clients whom the owners know personally, by sight.

Clients are usually children from wealthy families, high school students or students. A check per evening can run up to several tens, or even hundreds of thousands of rubles. The minimum deposit to enter is 5000 rubles.

One of these operating establishments is right in the center of Moscow. The name of the speaker is "Blow" (from the English. "Blow").

Special correspondent "NI" managed to get into this cellar.

Typical small nightclub. Modern music, dance floor, DJ booth, bar, tables and, as it were, bartenders and waitresses. But they do not bring the usual menu.

Instead, guests seated at tables are asked just one question: “How many balloons would you like?” The cipher is clear to all guests - no one asks again.

"You can't take pictures! You can't even take a selfie! - the owners strictly pull back - men of 25-30 years old, people from the southern regions of Russia.

Teenagers are seated at tables. Some companies, some one by one. They order 3-5 balls for testing. Then a number of times repeat. No one stops at one “ball” - it lasts for 5-10 minutes, then “refueling” is needed, and the guys hang out here for hours on end.

Someone orders immediately with cylinders - about 130-150 balls are filled with a five-liter bottle, a large 10-liter bottle is 250-300 balls.

“Don't be afraid! It's not scary. And it’s not dangerous,” the hosts assure, passing by the beginners’ tables.

Calculation - by bank transfer, by card. The account number is dictated by the waitresses. They also bring balls tied to a knot. We spied on the recipient of funds: Gusen Ramazanovich S. [add. The data is at the disposal of the editors].

On weekdays, Blow is open from 14.00 to 02.00, on weekends - from 15.00 to 6.00 in the morning.

The correspondent of "NI" came to the institution on Wednesday. At 18.00 in the evening, almost all tables were occupied or booked.

We ventured to order a salad. Not? Then at least coffee or tea? Alas, we were denied such “exoticism”, despite the poster posted in the most prominent place: “Enjoying food, forget about everything!” So, it became extremely clear - there is only one dish here.

Our company is seated at a modest table on the first floor. At the next table, the company, which has clearly spent more than one hour here, is ordering a second bottle.

- Just three balls? Seriously? To understand something, you need at least ten. I’m already at least twenty, of course, - a guy from the next table enters into a dialogue with our table. - The whole point is that you lose your orientation in time and space. You can, sitting in one place, move to other parts of the city or even to other parts of the world, or you can even talk to people who are not around...

He is 20 years old, he studies at the Financial University and Skolkovo. His father is a businessman who spends most of his time in the UK, and his son can live for months in a luxurious apartment on Tverskaya.

According to a casual acquaintance, he usually leaves here 60 thousand (in Russian rubles) per evening.

- We're still poor people. Here is the second floor - wow. There is only vip, they almost all have a “gold card” [issued when the amount left by the client in the institution reaches half a million rubles]. There is a special attitude towards them - both the guards and the waiters communicate with them in a completely different way, - says P. and exaltedly switches to a waitress passing by. - Hey, bunny! Hello, hello! Something balls seem to have become smaller with you, don't you think?

- This time we bought another brand, they are torn if you inflate more, - she justifies herself.

A few minutes later, at the next table, the ball actually bursts. The customers who ordered the balloon and unscrewed and screwed it on their own went too far with the “portion”.

Before the adoption of the law "to blow balloons" in Moscow, it was possible to place in twenty. Now the number of available establishments has halved, and police raids are more frequent. But whoever seeks, he will find, the visitors of the "bar" tell us.

After a while, a stripper appears on the dance floor. The evening becomes quite languid.

While we were sitting at a modest table, the guests of the establishment left and came. These were children. Indeed, children. The youngest looked to be thirteen or fourteen years old, the oldest twenty years old.

Nitrous oxide is used today in medicine, food and technical industries. The gas used for anesthesia is practically unobtainable - manufacturers release it only to pharmaceutical companies under license. For "amusement" unscrupulous entrepreneurs buy food and technical varieties of nitrous oxide. It is used for making whipped cream, aerated chocolate, non-stick spray, freezing, welding machine motor upgrade, etc.

Even more briskly, laughing gas cylinders are sold via the Internet.

The Internet is full of advertisements for the sale of laughing gas with the hashtags "balloons", "fun", "party"...

Before the law was passed, advertising was more colorful, with many superlatives. Although the effect of the gas is similar to oxygen starvation, doctors explain: when using the mixture, the brain and lungs do not have enough oxygen, asphyxia and hypoxia begin.

Doctors working with patients in hospitals control the volumes of injected gas and in their calculations proceed from the weight, concomitant diagnoses and individual characteristics of the nervous system of the operated person, and in case of an undesirable reaction they can quickly pump out, anesthesiologist-resuscitator Mark Galperin comments on "NI":

- Nitrous oxide has been used for decades in medical practice - in operations, in outpatient treatment, in dentistry. It is easy to handle and its safety level is high. But only when used by professionals! This is something that has been taught for a long time. Patients who fell asleep under anesthesia are monitored - cardiac and respiratory activity is measured. You know, Michael Jackson might not have died if the cardiologist who treated him for insomnia with the same seemingly harmless propofol had not gone away and missed the moment when he stopped breathing. I completely stopped breathing. Nitrous oxide can also make you fall asleep and not wake up.

During operations, patients sometimes experience a gag reflex. Vomit clogs the airways, mechanical asphyxia sets in - people say: he choked on his own vomit. It is the control of doctors at such moments that saves lives. When preparing a patient for surgery, doctors make sure that he does not eat or drink anything for several hours, this minimizes the risks.

Do owners of nitrogen clubs check how much of what their guest ate or drank in a day? No. Besides, we don't know anything about the quality of nitrogen and its concentration in these inflated balloons! We do not know anything about the individual characteristics of the health of clients. A person is initially deprived of insurance and chances of salvation. Entrepreneurs forget about the client after the delivery of goods and receipt of money. In a club, a person can also lose consciousness and, accordingly, stop controlling their airways. It will take three minutes to help him. Do the owners of these clubs have such qualifications? I doubt.

In the long term, use can cause chemical burns of the respiratory tract - the same vomit - in the stomach, as you know, an acidic environment; burns can develop into abscesses over time. “I would have publicly kicked the hands and feet of such merchants on Red Square,” Galperin says categorically.

- To prove the onset of death from nitrous oxide is almost impossible - it is quite quickly completely excreted from the body, leaving no traces, the examination does not show anything, this is the danger. There are no statistics on deaths and injuries from this substance. We learn about several such cases (about ten) only by indirect evidence. For example, in St. Petersburg, a young man inhaled balloons, got behind the wheel, passed out while driving and flew his BMW into a crowd of pedestrians. Two died, three were mutilated. If only he had not confessed, we would never have known that he had used something. There were also several high-profile cases when gas cylinders were found next to the bodies of children and adolescents, Natalya Kostenko, deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Tourism and Tourism Infrastructure Development, tells NI.

The deputy notes that a surge of advertising about nitrous oxide, a laughing gas, on the Internet caused attention to the problem. It was aimed at a wide youth audience. It has become difficult even to roughly calculate who, to whom and how much this gas is selling, while it cost a penny. The sales market has shifted from legal entities to individuals, from wholesale purchases to retail. The packaging has changed - it was not typical for the traditional food industry: at the request of the buyer, the manufacturer changed from more capacious cylinders to small and even one-time ones.

At the same time, reports began to come in from several regions of Russia about the strange deaths of young people - students, sometimes even schoolchildren. Autopsies did not reveal any pathologies, the nature of their sudden death was not clear. Perfectly healthy children burned overnight.

Kostenko was one of the authors of the initiative to prevent the sale of nitrous oxide to individuals via the Internet - in 2018, the deputy introduced the relevant bill for consideration. He was supported by Rospotrebnadzor, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. On December 29, 2020, it was adopted by the State Duma and entered into force on January 1, 2021.

“The use (consumption) by individuals of nitrous oxide, which is an intoxicating substance, for other purposes in order to change the state of the human body, not related to medical intervention and medical care, is prohibited,” Art. 1 of Federal Law No. 472.

In 2012, the Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation applied to the Government of the Russian Federation with a similar proposal, asking to recognize nitrous oxide as a narcotic substance, for the illegal circulation of which criminal liability would be provided. However, the initiative was not approved, nitrous oxide has not yet been included in the List of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors subject to control in the Russian Federation, it is listed only in the List of intoxicating substances.

Gas is used in many industries - industry, technology, medicine, so to recognize it as a drug is to create serious barriers for businesses, which is why sellers of "thrills", whose business exists in the same legal forms, feel so at ease. It is difficult to set up a point control mechanism in this case.

So far, there is no evidence that someone died because of the “funny balls”, sellers can only be held administratively liable.

Several articles:

- for promotion, including via the Internet, of the use (consumption) of nitrous oxide or dissemination of information about its sale (marketing) not for the production of food products, foodstuffs or foodstuffs, or not for medical, industrial or technical use (Article 6.13 .1 Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation),

- for the illegal sale of goods (other things), the free sale of which is prohibited or limited by law (Article 14.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation);

- for involving a minor in the use of intoxicating substances (Article 6.10 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation), for the consumption of such substances by minors under the age of 16 (Article 20.22 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation) and the consumption of intoxicating substances in public places (Article 20.20 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation).

Sanctions under the Code of Administrative Offenses for the beneficiaries of this business are “penny” compared to the profit received. The largest fine, according to our calculations, is worked out in an institution (club) in one evening of trading, or even in several hours.

Theoretically, two more criminal articles can be applied to illegal nitrous oxide dealers - Declining to consume narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or their analogues (Article 230 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and Production, storage, transportation or sale of goods and products, performance of work or provision of services that do not meeting safety requirements (Article 238 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). But in practice, they are hardly provable in relation to "laughing gas", because it leaves no traces. Vicious circle.

In 2021, the Ministry of Internal Affairs carried out 4,377 raids and activities in public places, which resulted in the seizure of 55 nitrous oxide cylinders intended for “inappropriate use”. Also during the year, about 50 sites selling the substance to individuals as a means of entertainment were blocked. However, dozens of organizations and sites continue their dirty work. There are also new...