Russia lets VIPs ignore traffic laws
Do you hate sh*tty drivers? Well, in Soviet Russia, sh*tty driver hates YOU! Moscow's road rage problem is epic, perhaps due to the fact that their traffic solution involves giving special police-style sirens to "VIP" drivers (read: 900-plus important people, government officials and so forth, and the 900-plus folks who can get a hold of them in some other way). However poorly the U.S. is doing at managing traffic, Russian solutions make our roads look like a buggy path in Amish country.
The VIP sirens, known as migalki, allow drivers to ignore all traffic laws, as if they were an ambulance driver trying to get to the emergency room instead of a customs official trying to get to the dry cleaner. In fact, sometimes ambulances have to wait for them. And not incidentally, they allow drivers with migalki to feel superior to the plebes in their normal cars, and occasionally hit them. (I mean, why wouldn't you hit them? They are NOT IMPORTANT and IN THE WAY.)
Russian legislators have made a couple of symbolic (and unsuccessful) hand-waving gestures about preventing migalka abuse, but a citizen-driven push to film and publicize misbehavior has been more effective. The Blue Bucket Brigade has tried to name and shame abusers by posting video of them flagrantly misusing their migalki. Sometimes it works — one film director was stripped of his migalka, then publicly embarrassed himself when he was caught on tape again barrelling through traffic without one. Other times it doesn't.
Plebe-vs.-aristocrat disputes over who owns the road are nothing new in Russia. Apparently, in the 1920s, one party functionary was killed when an angry villager threw an owl at his windshield. Posting videos on YouTube is probably more civilized, all things considered.
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