Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Propiski"... A Nightmare of Medical Care and Residential Status

A colleague whom I have loved working with has been gone almost since school started, and I knew that she was unexpectedly quite sick and would be out for a while.

I've sent her a couple "thinking of you" texts and just kept expecting to see her back at school any day...

Today I learned that she's got cancer, and that she was forced to leave her family here in Moscow to travel VERY FAR AWAY to where she's "officially registered" (where she comes from) so that she can get the medicine and care she needs for treatment.

I have heard so many Russian colleagues complain about the ordeal of getting "registered" to actually be considered residents of Moscow, but this takes it to an entirely new level.

It is VERY hard to do so if you're not originally from here... You can rent in the city, but you can't become an official resident unless you own property (or so two other Muscovites have told me—and even then it's not 100% certain). And there are times when you're required to go back to where you're officially registered—makes me think of Jesus heading to Bethlehem—such as when there is a mandatory census. You also can't vote unless you're in the place where you're officially registered. Considering that most ambitious high school graduates leave small towns to head for the bigger cities with universities and business opportunities, that means disenfranchisement for upwardly mobile educated citizens...

In any case, my friend can't afford to pay full price for cancer treatment, so she has to leave Moscow—where the best hospitals and doctors are located—in order to head "home" for what will likely be inferior medical care. In the process, she also is separated from her husband and child, both who must stay here for work and university—at the time when she needs them the most! And then we, her friends, can't even help out by bringing her meals and taking her to appointments!

At times like this I feel so powerless and sad...


8 comments:

nelli said...

nelli

im just a russian person stumbled on your blog.....

how is that even possible? because as far as i know the term propiska was cancelled. now they have the permanent and temmporary registration. u can get temporary registration even if u rent as long as ur landlord agrees to register u on his property. the registration has to be renewed every 3 months. the landlord bears no risks he can always quit ur rent agreement. one can buy a registration too nowadays.... i remember when i was a student i rented and i received medical care at my place of living. allthough maybe for smth as serious as cancer u need a temporary registration...

Tina in CT said...

That is horrible and from the dark times of Soviet rule!!!! How sad for your co-worker and her family. You must be so frustrated.

Annie said...

That does sound difficult for her...I hope she is understanding it all correctly.

I guess medical care can be convoluted and screwed up everywhere. From what I'd previously heard it seemed as though medical care was better in Russia.

What I am confused about then, is how Sergei's sister could come to Moscow for treatment of her eye ailment. And, even a little orphan girl I know was brought to Moscow several times for heart surgery. Is it something like going to an "out of system" doctor here, perhaps?

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invisible woman said...

It is so difficult sometimes to be so far away from friends at times of need. And Russian bureaucracy can be appalling, that's for sure!

Stas said...
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