So, one amusing story that has come out of the Russian invasion of Georgia has been stories of the items that the Russian Army has been looting including items the rest of us consider trash, including broken kitchen appliances and even broken toilets:
Toilets. They are looting Georgia for Toilets ??!!!
What does it mean? What does it say about an army that invades a country with tanks, shoots people, rapes, and pillages, burns houses, and a prize they consider worth hefting is toilets??? - Mom is a Verb
Well a toilet is a wondrous modern convenience in Russia. Look at what the Russians are used to for going to the bathroom. Here is a description of how the Soviet Union treated political prisoners, and I dare say that the general population probably did not fare much better.
PARASHAI was not able to find the definition or explanation of the word "parasha" in any Latvian or Russian dictionary or encyclopedia."Parasha" is a mobile, always disgustingly smelling commode used in Russian jails and concentration camps.With deep irony, and having a second meaning in mind, it was called "Red Moscow" (a perfume produced in Russia)In all of Russia's jails for the repressed as well as in concentration camp cells, barracks, cattle wagons and stolipin's wagons, on board ships and boats, the "parasha" was always present. It accompanied us with its nasty, extremely wretched and intolerable stench. Usually, the Checkists did not bother to take the arrested to bathrooms, however good or bad they were. We were forced to use the "parasha", even though Latvians were not used to relieve themselves in such a way and especially not in public. Usually a "parasha" was made of metal or wood. Used fuel barrels with sharp rims were frequently used. The volume of the barrel was proportional to the number of cell mates/inhabitants. In the central jail of Riga the "parasha's" were more decent, with lids, while in Russia we never saw this luxury. Hooks were fashioned to the sides of the "parasha", and plants or sticks were placed in them. That made carrying easier. Another and even more important reason for this was to prevent the contents from spilling in the corridor where the guards were standing. These sticks were usually kept outside the cell, but if it was permitted to keep them inside, then using the parasha was easier.In July and August of 1941, 900 Latvians were transferred from the prison of Krazha to a jail in Astrakhan using a barge on the Volga. Because of the unfamiliar food and unsanitary conditions, Latvians suffered from diarrhea. All those driven by necessity took turns sitting on the sharp rim of a "parasha" in order to relieve their sickly natural needs. For us, the Latvians, this procedure was especially unpleasant, appalling and demeaning. The lines were long, and many did not manage to get to the parasha (on time).... The falling or pouring excrement hit the liquid already in the "parasha" and splashed the behinds and the clothes of those sitting. During the 15 years in jail I was never given a piece of toilet paper.For us prisoners on the barge, the same buckets which had been used for emptying the contents of the "parasha" were also used for gathering drinking water from the Volga.Everywhere in Russia prisoners were always accompanied by the awful stench of the "parasha". It was present at all places where the repressed were taken. All the rooms, our clothes and even our food, if there was any, was saturated with this stench. We stank from unbelievable filthiness, which was worse than anything else done to us. And still we Latvians retained our humanity in order to survive all humiliation and proudly return home to Latvia. - Martins Bisters, June, 1994
Keep in mind that although this treatment was meted out by Russians under the Soviet Union, it gives great insight into the Russians themselves, even today as they have never been forced to confront the crimes committed by their population and Government under Soviet rule. It is also a perfect example of how little Russians value life, especially the life of others.
Photos found at Memoirs of a Wayward Estonian Prince here and here. They are from an exhibit at the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia.
You think the horror described above is bad? Then take a look at what happened to the Members of the Latvian Government after the Soviets invaded their country during WWII. (Click to see the list in the image below) The list is also in the Occupation Museum of Latvia.
There are 13 names on that list. Only one managed to escape the Soviets.
Of the 12 that were caught, only one managed to survive his imprisonment. The 11 remaining members died in Soviet captivity, with only one managing to live past the end of 1943. Seven of them simply 'Died'. The other four were shot, most likely for refusing to die.
This would be a joke, but the killing goes on in Russia. Take a look at the List of journalists killed in Russia at Wikipedia which notes that "many of the journalists killed were critical of the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin."
Maybe, just maybe, one day Russia will decide that it wants to be a first-world nation. Until then, it will remain a third-world joke, and a dangerous one at that, as their recent invasion of Georgia proves. (This section originally posted on 10 July 2007 in "Mushroom Soup. Mushroom Soup. Mushroom Soup...")