“We fell below the bottom”: about the life during quarantine in the polar Murmansk
The regime of self-isolation introduced in the Murmansk region without regard to local realities led to far-reaching consequences. The cod fishing become complicated, the famous ski industry suffered the damage, the tourism industry stopped. The skiing to the deserted hills announced out of law.
Text and photo - Mikhail Pustovoy, Murmansk
Many people are left without work, money and the possibility of receiving social benefits. This is a monologue reportage about the situation into which the largest city in the Arctic - Murmansk - plunged into. The polar winter had not yet left the city, but the selective fines and the leer glances of the strung up people already came.
Far south of the Arctic Circle, the grass grows green and the sun warms. At the end of April, winter in Murmansk - playgrounds periodically thaw out from under meter-long snowdrifts, but snowstorms still cover the city. But here it is not considered a problem. However, anxiety is read on the faces of the townspeople. And when I walk along the dirty streets of Murmansk, I catch suspicious looks. I am one of those who do not wear a mask. Like many, I lost my job. When a cold night descends on the Kola Bay, drunken cries from dens are heard; only in my entrance did the police come three times in a week. In the morning, the next day of the isolation regime will begin.
"Sitting at home" crept up to Murmansk unnoticed. Wuhan was in quarantine, but in February crowds of Chinese wandered around the city. One prominent official even threatened the excited prosecutors of the cafe, which foreigners were not allowed to enter . Then tourists littering and not letting go of smartphones were gone. Already in mid-March, citizens who had chosen from abroad were placed to be bored for observation in the infectious diseases department; often without things. But when at the end of the month we were working on the roof of an idle workshop near the Fishing Port (I was tired of writing in the media, and I changed my occupation), we still greeted each other's hands. Did the conductors on the buses put on masks, psychosis grew in social networks and media. And in the hospital, the doctor, writing out the direction for the X-ray due to numbness of the fingers and back pain, recommended me to come for a diagnosis, “ when the virus starts to decline - somewhere in May: now it’s important to make less contact ”.
Murmansk residents are distinguished by their detachment, interrupted by increased talkativeness. Years spent in a city depressing the psyche, in which the crowdedness of typical buildings and piles of garbage under the windows are adjacent to an uncomfortable climate, have done their job. The Kovid-19 procession was more often interested in office workers and those who had a lot of free time. Workers often taunted the "Chinese snot." As well as over what was introduced in Moscow. However, in chain stores, shelves with cereals began to empty. And the declaration of self-isolation put an equal sign; the pockets of thousands of people, regardless of their social status, suddenly began to empty.
“We fell below the social bottom”
I stand in line at a chain store. The markup has already appeared, half of the buyers are masked, and the other is breathing in the back of your head. Especially her drunken part. Masked cashiers - not everywhere, but with gloves - only in the last days. The girl breaks me a packet of milk, eggs and flour. This is my weekly menu. A refrigerator is waiting for me at home, in which you can find one frozen blueberry - I picked it up in the autumn in the tundra. I no longer allow myself; For more than a month now they have been delaying my salary, referring to the "self-isolation" of the accounting department. I also notice that people are increasingly choosing food for stocks. Others? It can be seen that the visiting military contractors do not even look at the price tags.
In April, many people have a headache from lack of money. After Moscow introduced increased benefits for new unemployed, in Murmansk they promised generous support to people - 27.8 million rubles. Those who have been officially thrown out of economic life since April 1, although the business stopped on March 26, and the employees of the companies went nowhere. As well as small entrepreneurs, in which social support did not spread until mid-April. At the same time, the mayor Andrei Sysoev indignantly opposed tax incentives for entrepreneurs. When, for the sake of interest, you try to contact the Employment Center (the minimum allowance is 2000 rubles), the answer, as a rule, is the buzzer of the phone. One Murmansk resident sat on the hot line all day and achieved nothing.
Recently, I climbed onto the roofs and, at the risk of falling, (they didn’t give us insurance, but we didn’t conclude an employment contract), broke ice and dumped tons of snow down. And he was going to master the promlp. But it all stopped. “ I'm sitting at home ,” says Boris, a specialist in physically demanding work as a handyman. In the market of vacancies of interest to him in the city, for him - silence. Industrial climber Maxim, who has moved to Murmansk from another region, shrugs his hands on the watsap: “ For me, there was a complete corkscrew. The industry has stood up. This is the first time . " More recently, people like them, with salaries in the region of 30 thousand rubles, were balancing just above the social bottom. Yesterday’s entrepreneurs also have a headache. My friend - the owner of a travel agency, a Northern Lights hunter, is looking for a place that will give him a chance to live until the summer, when tourists will visit us again.
The regional social networks are full of confessions of men and women, whose small business suffered huge losses. They say their prospects are poverty and six-figure debt. And when I wander the streets of Murmansk, I constantly cling to the closed offices - hairdressing salons, optics salons. But round-the-clock alkopritons thrive in the same mode, posting ads "takeaway only".
Isolation from northern traditions?
Cod, from the Barents Sea, in the spring on Murman is not seen by many. In the “anti-virus” resolutions on the self-isolation of Governor Andrei Chibis, a note appeared - to prohibit access to the sea of small vessels. Such a taboo has become unique in the country. “We sit at home” did not extend to the fleet of large companies, or rather their remnants, because industrial fishing mainly went to Norway, unable to endure nit-picking. In response, men from the famous village of Teriberka made a petition - to lift the ban so that they feed their families. It took three weeks for them to wait for an answer in which they were allowed to do something at sea with their head-ends and complications. Almost a third of the season (April-May) cod production wasted.
That is not all. To get to the shores of the Barents Sea and the White Sea is almost impossible; Departure to Pechenga, Lovozersky, Kandalaksha and Tersky districts - according to local registration. Those who individually traded by the sea have to sit idly by. By the way, fish in our stores is more expensive than in the suburbs. Small fisheries have long been escorted from the market, and those crumbs of fish that could be transferred to personal refrigerators for the residents of the region - they will pass by.
Murmansk-based surrealism of self-isolation is a privilege for dog lovers to leave their homes, whose lively toys stain courtyards. In Murmansk, it’s already hard not to step on someone’s feces. However, if you go skiing to the lake or to deserted hills - away from fuel oil stench from boiler houses and the port, then this is at your own peril and risk. Even if you live in a remote station or in the private sector. Skiers are illegal. And the ski slopes are closed, and their slopes are plowed with snow groomers. But people do not abandon the northern traditions. “ People ride, but less ”, - tells me Andrei Mamay, a writer from Kirovsk. Where to ski in Murmansk - I will not say anything. “ They will not hunt for skiers (police) ,” however, a source from the government structure shared.
"I have a fever already for the second week"
The times when people were not divided into those who stocked up masks, and no (their prices skyrocketed at times), who goes to work or searched for it, has a pass or runs the risk of running into a fine - they seem like a fairy tale. When I went for the last time from Semenovsky Lake, skiing, I was struck for coughing. I was in a fever the second week after I went skiing in the hills in a storm. For two days frost whipped me; and I slept in a snowdrift). I have a dry cough and chills from a draft. I coughed - the man in front shudders and makes our distance change. Soon I also shy when the masked girl coughs. The psychosis of mistrust and the smell of bleach apartments became a reality in Murmansk. The fact that we have one out of four colds due to the climate is forgotten.
I go outside and look around. Since April 6, in Murmansk, the movement of citizens has been limited in detail (work, shop, dog, hospital). Entire cities and regions are isolated in the region, and they promised to attach electronic bracelets to patients with coronavirus infection, as if they were criminals. At the enterprises, employees were issued certificates. One joker was stamped on a document, "allowing" him to walk around drunk. However, it’s still permissible to ride through the whole city to hypermarkets, having written out a certificate of “an established pattern” for oneself; the lack of a printer is your problem. Over-drunk companies hang out in the yards, and people walk in families. The police have not yet shown much attention to passers-by, but the chances of getting a protocol on an administrative offense are a reality. “ They stopped at a stop, found out that I could be late for the bus and“ offered ”to spend the night in the department. They admitted that everything was illegal, but referred to the order and promised that they would cancel all protocols after the pandemic, ”Dmitry Roslyakovo, a resident of the town, told me.
What is happening makes you think. Murmansk can hardly be called a place of prosperity - in some places it looks like a ghetto where garbage is thrown out the windows. Yards are full of abandoned cars buried in snow. Half-ruined barracks with toilets in the yard cut eyes. It is easy to find someone who is looking for an apartment in Kaliningrad, Vologda or Voronezh. The port city, which harvested a third of the catch of sea fish for the country, is turning into a center for supervising new giant economic nodes. The windows of the apartment I live in are shaking from explosions on the other side of Kola Bay. The hills are cut to the root to build a shipyard (Belokamenka) and a coal terminal (Lavna). Lay a railway line and build a bridge over Tuloma. Trains are clogged by shift workers. On the streets more and more migrants - Ukrainians and Uzbeks. With the naked eye it is clear that Murmansk with education and old-timers are leaving.
Today in the Murmansk region counted almost 700 patients Kovid-19. Epicenter - NOVATEK construction site in Belokamenka; the virus was brought in by the shift worker, and the lack of precautions at the facility horrifies the Murmansk residents. As suggested, the disease has already spread throughout the city, those who go to work on the other side of the bay. Everything is ahead ... .. And frankly, I don’t care whether I pick up the virus or not. I am nostalgic for hills and frozen lakes. There, among the rare taiga, bears will soon wake up and do not torment the sirens that require to stay at home (in Kandalaksha, because of the position of the townspeople, they fell silent). And the inhabitants of the brothel are not heard that collectively "are isolated" until the morning. It is possible that these marginals will leave to shoplift, rob or bookmark. Murmansk’s life will become even more complicated.
However, that is not yet what we, the people of the North, have been going through in our lives, so when this all is over, the long-awaited but stingy polar summer will come in July. And the understandable life will return.