LearnRussianwith Us!

Start Learning!

Russian Language Blog

Нечто о ВИЧ в России [Something about HIV in Russia] Posted by on Oct 8, 2008 in Uncategorized

«Для меня использовать презерватив также естественно, как есть» [For me to use a condom is as natural as eating].

The poster on the picture above I found hanging on a wall in one of the corridors of my university about a week ago. Since then I’ve seen two more posters like it with information about «ВИЧ (вирус иммунодефицита человека)» [HIV] directed at the youth of the Ural region (I’ll take pictures of the two other posters and post them here by the end of the week). I hardly think that I’m the first one to touch on the difficult and currently gigantic problem with HIV not only here in Yekaterinburg, but in Russia in general. Anyone who has ever applied for a Russian visa knows about the compulsory certificate proving that you’re HIV-negative needed in order to receive entry into the Russian Federation. Yet the results of letting only ‘healthy’ foreigners in are still unclear and it is far too early to tell whether or not the policy has had any positive effect in decreasing the number of infected Russians. This summer, right before I left to go home and ‘rest’ for two months, I saw a scary and huge poster by the side of the road with the words: «В этом автобусе с тобой едут 4 (четыре) ВИЧ-инфикцированных пассажира» [In this bus with you four HIV-infected passengers are riding]. Such information received in June makes it no surprise to me that the new state campaign to get Russian youth to use condoms loudly claims: «В Свердловской области каждый 25-ый от 15 до 29 живёт с ВИЧ» [In the Sverdlovsk Region (Sverdlovsk was the name of Yekaterinburg during the Soviet Union, and the region is still called that because, seriously, who could pronounce such a complicated word as «Екатеринбурская область» several times a day?) every 25th person between 15 and 29 lives with HIV].

Another thing, that might not have too much to do with Russia, is how much HIV/AIDS has affected my generation (of the 80’s). When my mother speaks about the 70’s and everything they ‘did’ back in those days, I find it hard to relate. Not because I’m part of a boring generation, but because I’m part of a cautious generation, a generation well aware of the risks brought along with the Sexual Revolution. Actually, I have a lot more thoughts and reflections that I would like to share with the world about my own generation – the way I see it – but I don’t know how interesting/correct they are. Basically, we’re a cautious and frightened generation marked by the terror attacks that happened while we were still not old enough to be a part of ‘the world’ yet not little kids anymore, thus capable of understanding. My generation remembers both worlds – before and after September 11th – and instead of settling for an insecure and mystical future, we’re highly inclined to search for secure and safe traditions of the past. Sometimes the values that we find for ourselves while we search the past (and I’m not speculating here: I’ve seen and heard and know many people who are just like this and don’t even think twice about it) are so conservative and traditional that we tend to ignore what’s been achieved since. And I’m not just talking Sweden here; I’m talking about the 80’s generation globally (from my narrow point of view). My predictions for us are as follows: we will get married and have children earlier, we will make decisions regarding career and town/country to settle down in early in life, and we will most likely be less prone to divorce than our parents or the generation before us (70’s); in general we’ll be the steady foundation on which the generation after us, the brave children of the 90’s and 00’s will build a new order. Though this is just a thesis – it might well be so that the financial crisis of the world right now hits the generation of the 90’s long enough to make the same effect on them that 11/09 had on the 80’s generation, thus making them also strive for the comfort of traditional family values.

Russia’s 90’s generation might be a little different, as the 80’s kids differ some from the rest of the world. I am very found of all the first year students that I see everywhere at the university – they were born 1992 and have never lived in USSR – because they’re all so individual and energetic, quite unlike the students born only a few years before them. Perhaps that’s because they were too small to understand just how bad things were during the 1990’s? Or because the future has getting brighter and better steadily ever since they started getting an allowance?

Anyway, this was not really my intention of today’s post… to go on for so long on the issue of generations… well, I suppose such things happen once in a while.

Tags: ,
Share this:
Pin it


  1. Ivy Cole:

    A question about the HIV certificate. I have been to Russia three times and most recently Moscow this August. I have never had to provide such a certificate. Is this a new requirement since August?

  2. Anyse:

    I assure you, as a child of the sixties, that the world has become more, can I say it, scary. I feel that this is the “right” word. Upon what have you to rely after university? Sweden now has a, and I am sure that due to the world financial crisis will have one even greater, financial problem brewing. Where can the government squeeze a little more money out of its citizens, already so highly taxed, so that it will not become bankrupt? The US has the same problem, yet much worse. Other people in the world don’t seem to understand that Americans are the highest taxed citizens in the world! Yes, while Americans point to Sweden and other socialistic programmatic nations as having to take so much money from its citizens to support all of its programs, at least a Swede can see what s/he gets for their money, unlike his or her American counterpart. Socialism is much cheaper in Sweden!

    What worries me most, though, is that Russia will go the way of the West (not Europe, but America). By becoming a consumer nation with a war economy, there is no way out for America from its current problems without painfully drastic changes in “everything” so that America can, again, become a strong economy in the world and, hopefully (by way of humility), a peaceful nation after over 120 years of international military adventurism and imperialism. I always ask the usually uninformed and under-educated American (standards hee are so low now) how may wars has Russia been in since its rise in 1992 as compared to the US? How many can actually answer this question with certainty while I can? Not even Condoleeza Rice, with her PhD. in Russia Area Studies from the great Stanford University can not answer this. Why can’t she? Because, she is a hack and, somehow, got a degree without learning ONE thing! I meet Russians all of the time (other than those who came to Central California to escape from religious persecution because they only believe that God knows anything at all!) who have had great educations and who have taken advantage of all that they could while in Russia as well as here. Usually, the breadth of their knowledge can only look exceedingly vast when compared to the average American person with a BA. Americans learn for one thing—to make money and, when knowledge has little to do with their ability to make more money, it is discarded as “useless.” An American will throw away his or her culture as quickly as he or she can make a buck! I fear that, of late, Russia may move toward this same model and that such things as the GAZPROM glass structure rising out of the middle of St. Petersburg will be seen as a “good” thing. I fear that Russians may accept such things at a great cultural loss to the “cultural landscape” of St. Petersburg such that they would, in all essence and believe (and with this hyperbole that may come out no less than true in the long run) that the removal of the “Church of the Spilled Blood” in order to put in a more “convenient” parking lot or supermarket would also be a “good” thing! This happens in America all of the time. History is not valued. Its lessons are lost. There is no past. There is only the present. Mistakes can only be repeated. I would liken this to the shampoo instructions of “Wash. Rinse. Repeat” which leads gain to “Wash. Rinse. Repeat” which leads again to . . . where do people stop such insanity! Will Russia become as insane as the West? Will the notion of a new “Soviet” or strange Russian-amalgam type of progress again become so fashionable that the “Great Church” in Moscow could again be replaced by a “People’s Palace”? I would hope not.

    The lesson of America to the rest of the world is not to be taken lightly! Consumerism is all too easy, much easier than “working” for one’s money. In America, practically all means for actually manufacturing goods, creating products for sale, have been abandoned. Americans don’t make steel, they import it because it is too expensive to make in America. Americans no longer manufacture “good” cars (well, at least cheaply enough to make more money and they also don’t strive to keep up with what people “should” have that would save the environment as well as meet actual needs). American car manufacturers only looked for the fastest and easiest way to make a buck with no “long term” plans to even try to anticipate future consumer or national needs. I mean, how many people who live in the suburbs of America really need a half-ton pickup truck in their driveway that they may “think” they will need for “something” (poor planning and thought processes of American consumers) but that is used only to get to work and back at a cost of well over $22,000. Well, easy credit to the tune of about $44 trillion dollars makes this poor decision much easier to make! So, while Americans lose their position in the world automobile market, someone is making a lot of money on the sale of a “few” very expensive pickup trucks and another is making money on the interest on the loan and, to add to this insanity, EVERYONE does this at the same time ALL OF THE TIME! American consumers drive up their debts to unsustainable levels that can only, ultimately, end somewhere in a tumble of their economic house of cards.

    While this may not be as organized as I would normally have it in the time it was written, the bottom line is that Russian should NOT lose its history, its culture and, as a result, sell its soul to “demon” money! Not that money is, in itself, evil. It is HOW it is used that makes it evil. And, instead of creating another page in world history, with its people guzzling as much as they can “take” from the world around them without a care much the same as have Americans, I would hope that Russians will strive to create their “own” history that does not suffer the same fate and decline of America. This would break my heart. Russia has fallen as well as risen over time. Russia has a long history. Caress it. Care for it. Cherish it. Make your country great without the same tragic consequences of a failed nation as the United States of America is today!

    Anyse Joslin
    Skype: anyse1

  3. natasha:

    I just want to add a bit to this. The reason why Russia had such an increase in the number of people who are HIV positive is not because of sexual revolution, but because of the huge drug problem. Before USSR collapsed, drugs were hardly available in Russia. Now it is a whole different story.

  4. Anna:

    @Ivy Cole – It’s not a new requirement, but for longer stays in Russia. In order to get my student visa (my first one lasted 3 months) I had to provide my HIV status.

  5. josefina:

    Natasha – you’re very right and I forgot to mention it. The sexual revolution has more to do with the difference between me and my mother’s view on casual relationships…

    And I also forgot to mention that stating once HIV status is only necessary for a stay longer than 3 months in the country.

  6. John Baker:

    Anyse, you may see it as unorganised, and it is a little, but enough ink could be spilled on this subject alone to fill again the Library of Congress! I never thought about the US economy that way you stated it, but there is some sense to it, consumers keep the cash flow in motion so that the War Machine can remain well trained and well oiled, and well equiped. When I compre that with the Soviet Union, I would describe it as a non-consumer nation with a war economy! The sad thing is that there are many in the US who would take us in that direction, though this is very UN-American. One major difference is that in the US “We the People,” are not the peasant/serfs of Imperial Russia, nor are we the Proletariat of the USSR. By the Constitution, we own the Government, we are the Government, and we send someone to Washington to represent us and our interests. Far too often though, those men and women represent other interests from the average American. Wall Street and the Federal Fractional Reserve are the agents that serve the interest and needs of the Globalists who have formed a shadow government.
    The sad state of Education in the US serves well the needs of the Globalists. We have been distracted by Sports, TV sitcoms and soaps and all manner of consumerism. The unbridaled GREED of these bankers continually make course corrections to keep the economy in the state that meets their long range plans. I think that money isn’t everything, but it’s the only thing that pays the bills. It is very American to make money, make a profit, but the question is “how much is enough?” If the American economy ever collapses it will take the entire rest of the world with it. And note that Revelation 18 predicts that in one day the entire world’s economy will collapse, just as happened to the Soviet Union in 1991-92. Culture and Education are important but are really interchangable with being a sports Fanatic. There are more important things then either of these.

  7. Anyse:


    Your points are well taken. However, I could pull a quote from Nostodamus, but I won’t!

    John, when he swithboards were lighting up in the Congress a week before and up to the bailou bill’s passage, the American people were saying by a 90:1 “exercise of their right to be sure that their “supposed” representatives would represent them” saying “NO” to the bailout bill, they were unabashedly ignored. We are NOT repesented in Congress any more than by an “imperial” President who will be written down in hostory as the worst president of America for all time!

    My major point of insruction to Russia is not to “fall” again through the same pathways as has America. America is a great example of what “no” to do. However, I may have wasted my breath. Right now, as I have read, the Russian stock market had lost over 50% of its value BEFORE September 31 and before it shut it down so as to put on the breaks. However, the skids were already greased! The stock market still declines even while closed! Greenland is now in default and no one can get money from any bank. EU countries are trying to hobble a “Securities Deposit Insurance Program” like the one in the US to no avail. It could take as much as € 1-2 trillion to do this. This could break the entire ecoomies of the EU nations alone! Get this, if they do not do it, there will be a run on the banks of Euorope as never been seen in history! GREED created this and, since the times before, during and after Christ this has been so. Remember his youthful act toward those money lenders?

    My warning goes much further than just money as well. Russia can not afford (as can any nation) to become “culturally” bankrupt in the world as has the US. Do you understand the significance of the glass tower in the middle of St. Petersburg? It is just the beginning of the devaluation of one’s cultural “currency” in the world. Should Russians lose this, what will be left? Should they lose this, as Chernyshchevsky asked, “What’s to be done?”

    I am “begging” Russians to take heed and I hope that those who hear me will not try to, symbolically, drag me to the street and slam the door in my face so that their television soap opera can continue without MY inturruption. I LOVE Russian culture. I don’t want it to wind up on the scrapheap of history. It’s as simple as that.



  8. Alec L:

    Russian has already become as insane as the West, possibly more so. “Hyperconsumerism,” I believe it’s called. The “New Russian” phenomenon and the still very-present fetish of flaunting money and status symbols. I just heard today that they’re going to turn the Novaya Gallanduya (New Holland) ruins, a former shipyard, prison and military academy with roots going back to the beginning of St. Petersburg, into a shopping mall. On Sunday night, I ate at a TGF Friday’s (I may add it was nice to get a break from the Russian, eggs-and-mayo version of a “salad”) in a new mall called “Atlantic City” in the Primorskaya region.
    So Russia is becoming a land of strip malls, just like America. But in America, at least in Middle America, wealth isn’t flaunted in the same way on the everyday level (rap videos, of course, are a different matter). And keep in mind that however much we diss America, the American government isn’t SHUTTING DOWN THE STOCK MARKET to deal with the country’s economic problems. Democracy isn’t perfect, neither is capitalism, but better than any alternatives now in existence, I would say.
    Alec L

  9. thelewdangel.com: