Monday, January 21, 2008

Ahoy There, Matey! (No, not that kind of pirate...)

Supposedly there has been a huge crackdown on piracy in Russia within the last year. Yes, we have noticed that quite a few video kiosks were closed down... But new ones sprang up in their places almost instantly. To illustrate my point, look at these tables outside of a subway station that are covered with new releases (or not even yet released copies) of American and Russian films. The films cost 120 rubles, or a little under $5. (The prices are negotiable when you buy more).

Definitely illegal.

And then note the officer (I think he's with the army) walking right by! He even stopped to check out the movies... I didn't dare take his picture, though. No one really pays attention to the piracy here; closures are just for show.

You can also get almost any music or computer software this way, too.

Here's a video of the underground passageway at metro Biblioteka Imeni Lenina, just across from the Kremlin and Manezh. You can't cross most major streets at street-level; you have go under the streets instead. In many crossings you can find kiosks like these, selling pretty much the same thing: pirated videos/music/software; hundreds of newspapers and magazines; ugly Chinese-made clothing; cheap make-up and hosiery/lingerie; baked bread pockets filled with meat (!!!!), cabbage, potatoes or mushrooms; snack food and soft drinks (beer, for some reason, is usually only sold at street level); tacky tchochki objects (who actually buys that stuff???); flowers... and sometimes office supplies; tickets to events around the city; fruits/vegetables; random household necessities such as cords, lightbulbs, etc; accessories for cell phones. In the very center of the city you'll also find touristy souvenirs.

This particular passageway has all of the above--and a kiosk selling religious necklaces, literature and mini icons, too. It looks SO out-of-place! Software and music cost about $2.40 and movies were about $4.75.


Rachael said...

I hated crossing those underground passages with Katya. She wanted to stop and look at EVERYTHING! I can see how that stuff could grab her attention, though. Oh, and I bought her one of those meat bread pockets. I'm wondering by the (!!!) if that was a bad idea. (No one got sick, and NO I didn't eat one myself).

Anonymous said...

we had one of those bread pockets too and we really liked them...hmm it was in Moscow too..I am new to your blog and loving it....are you in Russia again or back in the states...I think I linked to you from Rachael

Annie said...

I really enjoyed these places. And found the meat pies wonderful. Actually, in both of the two main "undergound shopping areas" I frequented, there were religious goods shops. And they had good prices, I thought.

Anonymous said...

where these piroshky deep fried or baked?

kate said...

We call the subways "Walmart".;>