It's one of Russia's enduring icons: The angry babushka, often dressed in a headscarf, who will angrily shake her fist at whoever crosses her path.
At a time when Russians are increasingly hesitant to express their political opinions in public, one fearless babushka and her unsalted opinions has provided a comic insight into the concerns of everyday Russians.
Irkutsk resident Denis Hook bumped into Valentina Nikolayevna while walking through the city's streets. He filmed her improvised rant at the state of the country and streamed it live on Facebook. Since then, the six-minute video, titled “Country of Morons” has gathered almost 400,000 views and Nikolayevna is the RuNet's new hero.
Even if you don't speak any Russian, the video is worth watching. Here's a selection of Nikolayevna's best insights of what's troubling Russia.
Illogical road work
The video starts as Hook approaches Valentina by the side of the road. She is clearly incensed by a misplaced zebra crossing. “Just look at what's going on here,” she rages.“Look, this is the corner. This is the concrete […] and look at where they've made the zebra crossing!” she says, pointing to a spot a meter away, opposite a patch of vegetation. “It's just moronic!”
But it doesn't stop there. “Let me tell you something else, if I may ...” she starts, before going on a rant about immigration, Russia's relations with the United States and corruption.
“Non-Russians come here to work, right? Why was there no meeting beforehand — over there in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and elsewhere — where our Putin and all of their presidents could sit down together and say: comrades, gentlemen, our people are going [to Russia] work. We need to build homes first [before letting people come over]. Even cows, cows... You build a shed before buying [a cow], right?
Build three homes, have a policeman there, give them their registration, let them live there under supervision. Let the governments unite and give them a home so that they don't spread scabies [...] or need to be chased down by the police. They only want to make a decent living, they deserve respect. How is that respectful?
“If they could think about these things, Russia could live in peace. People would be respected and live with dignity. Now everyone spits on each other!”
On the United States
“I watch television […] and then there's an American: we are like this and you are like that,” she says, grimacing as she imitates a confident American speaking to groveling Russians.
“If I were on the television I would tell [the Americans]: My dear, we've been wiped off the face of the Earth several times! But you have not had a day of war. And you're comparing... We have so many veterans, so many children of war, so many disabled people ... we need to provide for them, we need to lift ourselves from the ruins […] You learn to cry like a Russian, before you sit there giggling at us. “
On the economy and corruption
"As long as Russia refuses to focus on its internal market, nothing is going to work. Because five to ten people [at the top] are thieving, like in the 90s when they grabbed it all for themselves … We need a law against sabotage. We need a law against sabotaging the nation. You stole a billion? That's it: sabotage! Confiscate everything, lock them up, complete moral destruction!"
Towards the end of the video, she blesses the interviewer and concludes:
"You know, I love my country so much. […] I am prepared to [give my] small pension to Syria, send it to them. But for that middle layer of officials, we need a law against sabotage, because they are sucking Russia dry like bloodsuckers.
"We need to get rid of them. We need youth, come on! Come on kids!”
And then, as if coming to herself again, she says, “Oh well, I got carried away talking […] Do the Christian thing and publish this.”