Faced! Wheelchair-bound eXiled Editor Yasha Levine finds out that in Russia, provincial clubbing ain’t for cripples
Editor’s note: We reprint this eXile Classic, first published in The eXile on September 25, 2007, to commemorate Russia’s recent triumph in the Vancouver Winter Paralympics, in which it won more medals than any other country. And to think that just a few years ago, they weren’t letting cripples into IKEA. Authoritarian Russia sure has come a long way…
“In the USSR, there are no invalids.”
This was the official reason that the Soviet authorities gave for declining an invitation to hold the 1980 Paralympics in Moscow. If you’ve spent any time in Russia, you might think they were telling the truth.
Other than a few token amputee Afghan vets begging in the metro or haunting traffic during rush hour, disabled people are simply not part of the Moscow landscape. After three years in Russia, I can count the number of wheelchair-bound people I’ve seen on one hand.
Obviously, just because they’re not out in public doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. If anything, it points to how bad the handicapped have it. There are approximately 13 million people living with serious disabilities in Russia, according to Perspektiva, an NGO that fights for disabled rights. Out of a population of 140 million, about 10% of Russians are considered handicapped. (more…)
Posted: March 23rd, 2010