Last year, brave eXile staffers took a trip to Lyubertsy, the infamous mafia cradle of 90s, and discovered that gopniks no longer exist in the Putin era. I read it, but I didn’t believe it. I still meet them every day. When my friend called, offering a shashlik weekend outing in Lyubertsy, I decided to carry out my own investigation and put it in the form of club review.
The shashlik party was going to be at one my friend’s construction sites. His name is Grisha and he works for an architect bureau that creates all these noveau riche castles and dachas. This makes his invites very desirable for me, as I can always impress my girlfriends with his houses.
The trip to Lyubertsy turned out to be not as scary as I pictured it before. The first thing I saw while entering the city was a Shell gas station with super-quality fuel, which happened to be 20% cheaper than in Moscow. Many of you would not even notice this, but this is something we don’t have in Moscow. Our oil mafia is so powerful, it doesn’t allow good companies to sell their gas in the city. So we have to enjoy shitty TNK or Rosneft, with occasional visits to over-priced BP on pay day.
When I reached the central square of Lyubertsy, I thought I was in some small American town surrounded by McDonald's restaurants, shopping malls, cafes and KFC joints. The only difference was that all of buildings were painted in the favorite Russian drab grey hues.
After we bought svinina (pork) and beer, we headed to Grisha’s site to make our small party. On the way there, I began to doubt myself. Perhaps Ames was right after all and gopniki are now nothing but a myth?
But the next hour proved that I was right. The gopnik does exist, and he is doing very well.
When we started cooking, we heard some noises on the other side of 5-meter fence. It was a bad luck for Grisha because it was the owner of the dacha himself who had unexpectedly came to check the status of construction. Not alone, of course. He had an official militsia patrol car at the front and three black SUVs of his own security in the back. Just in case.
Let me point out here that the client who asked for this very special 5-storey dacha, with numerous additional buildings occupying a total of more than 30 acres of virgin forest, is such a high-placed official that I am not able to give you any details about him just to keep my ass from getting shot.
As you can imagine, the client was very upset that the chief architect threw a party on his private property. I understood all that only by the tone this high-ranking official’s voice because I didn't understand a word of the jail jargon he was using. He promised to put "diamond aces on Grisha’s shoulders and make him an Armenian queen because he presses his beard with the construction for such a long time." Whatever that means. But everyone was silent and impressed by this fat-face bastard.
After 30 minutes of debate, the conflict was over but we had to leave Grisha with his workers under watch of the security that the chinovnik left to supervise the work.
The jail talk that I’ve heard required some translation for me and also I was desperate for a drink to calm my nerves. The local taxi driver understood my woes and suggested the SPARTAK bar, which is a favorite gathering place for local boxing community.
Since eXile staffers are tough and hairy men, mention of the "Lubertsy boxing community" didn’t scare me. Indeed, the restaurant had many boxing pictures on the wall but strangely enough served Uzbek cuisine and entertained broad-shouldered guests with Uzbek shanson songs (I’ve never heard such mixture of Asian music and vocals along with prison lyrics in Russian). After a few drinks I found myself chatting with Arsen, the friendly owner of the restaurant and former boxer, who generously fed me with his plov and dolmas.