20 October 2021, Wednesday, 23:26
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Provincial Anecdotes of the Times of the Big Takeoff

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Provincial Anecdotes of the Times of the Big Takeoff
Uladzimir Khalip

And the coming winter seems not so gloomy anymore.

People were put in jail for creativity in Soviet times in vain. Instead of rejoicing at the next outburst of mass imagination, the stupid bosses instantly turned on the guillotine. At a time of aggravation of the international situation or mental disorders among high officials. And since the legendary building was not always at hand, they simply summoned a ferocious lady named socialist legality. But she clearly knew where the crow flies, where the hell is to be sent to, and to whom and how much is for nothing.

What sedition could be found in such a simple story of the times of developed socialism? As if a leader in the terrible conditions of global glaciation summoned his tribe to a cave for an emergency meeting. And without any lyrical digressions expounded the essence of the moment: there is two news - bad and good, which one to start with? What kind of a question is it? Of course, with a bad one. To be comforted later by the good one. The leader appreciated the wisdom of his fellow tribesmen. Moreover, the news was terrible. A fierce winter is approaching. And there ain't no food to eat. Only bison shit was left. The tribe wept, but immediately came to their senses and demanded the good news. And the chief announced it with inspiration: but there is a lot of bison shit!

One could secretly rejoice that the passions of the times of the great glacier and developed socialism are infinitely far from us. And for a long time, no one is imprisoned for such stories. And a simple man in the street does not console himself with anecdotes in difficult moments. There is no need. From morning to night, the court drums are rattling, celebrating unprecedented achievements. Hopeless optimism has simply gone out of the water. Suddenly it turns out that there are no problems at all.

Are roads collapsing, bridges falling? We will restore, build, repair. No money in the treasury? Let's borrow, shake out, and live better than ever. The most important thing is that the security forces and other "Yabatski" managed to preserve our unique achievement - the irreplaceable power. And since it is essentially agrarian, suddenly disappearing chickens or sugar that disappears without a trace should not bother anyone here. As it was already once said by someone, there is plenty of food.

Only on October 5, strange for the times of continuous prosperity, revelations were heard at the highest meeting on the progress of agricultural work in the country. As if ten days ago we had only half or even less work to be done in the fall. And it was not enemies who were broadcasting from abroad, but the inspirer and organizer of our economic miracle was speaking frankly. So what happened all of a sudden? Did the dragonfly and the tireless ant switch roles? Or heaven has collapsed to earth? Such an agrarian embarrassment in a country of victorious collective farms simply can not be!

However, the truth, contrary to the usual ostentatiousness, burst out irresistibly. "That is, there is a lot of work to be done. I have not yet said anything about potatoes, sugar beets, fruit, berries, and so on. That's why the alarm was sounded." And then a new problem emerged, adding to the picture of complete despair. But there was also a reason to share with my subordinates the vast experience of overcoming obstacles accumulated in the famous Haradets state farm. And it became clear why the officials take notes so diligently.

Where else can one go so deeply into the essence of the problems of the local economy? You just need to listen, write down, and memorize. “How, what will we feed the cattle with during the winter stall period? If we feed well, there will be meat, milk. If we will feed poorly, there will be less meat, milk, the cow will be weakened from wintering. You know the consequences. Therefore, question number one: how, where, and at what expense shall we feed livestock? Those who were called to the meeting became gloomy. It reeked of the cold of the coming winter or even a draught of the glaciation epoch.

The dashing chairmen of collective farms in the post-war years solved this problem simply - they removed the straw roofs and tried to feed the hungry cattle. But if straw roofs are long gone, can our scientists find a way to turn ordinary roofs into something edible?

However, the past week did not leave any questions unanswered. In the discouraged bureaucratic circles, almost fantastic news suddenly spread: as if the permanent head of the vertical had met with Chavez. A nervous tremor ran through the ranks of those close to him: what does it mean? It's just that this sudden visitor is not that Hugo but his older brother - the special envoy of the fiery comrade Maduro. And the conversation with him was quite friendly and promising. Moreover, the topic was common - how to survive under the sanctions.

And since each side is tight with currency, the idea of exchanging something useful for something useful could not but arise. It was the same at the beginning of time. When honey and hemp could be easily converted into a stone scraper or even a bow and arrow. Except that there is a catch in the current situation. Venezuela's known commodity for exchange is oil. And then it's like in the nursery rhymes: what do you have? And we have a nail in our pocket.

But the smell of big oil is already distinctly perceptible. And who in this case begins a dialogue with some details, if you already see tanker caravans in the ocean, as it was in the times of that Chavez? It doesn't matter how this joint venture ended back then. The important thing is the impulse. And it doesn't matter how this phantom oil will be delivered now. It doesn't matter whether oil tankers will sail to Drazdy shores whether if the tanks with the invaluable cargo will be sent here on balsa wood rafts. What matters is that the aggrieved regimes are back in the same bind. And the mirage is awesome: oil in the ocean.

And no dollars or euros on the horizon. Only pure barter. A natural exchange, as was customary between bosom friends back in the Ice Age. They give us oil, and we give them who knows what. The question of how the regime will respond to the possible generosity of its unfortunate friends has not yet been decided. But the modest news from Caracas was inspiring and reassuring. And it instantly set all the punctuation marks in the extreme program of survival in the face of current and future sanctions.

And the coming winter seems not so gloomy anymore. And even cows, almost doomed to malnutrition, after a hearty meal will chew the most prestigious gum.

Because barter with Venezuela is our everything.

Uladzimir Khalip, specially for Charter97.org