FW: f.S.U.: The glory of capitalism
bstoller at utopia2000.org
Mon May 14 18:45:13 MDT 2001
Moscow Times. 15 May 2001. Doctors Offended by Offer of Dung.
Dr. Yury Zotov is used to being paid very little. He is used to being
paid months late. He is even used to being paid in goods, but something
inside of him broke when the hospital where he works offered him three
tons of manure instead of back wages.
"I'm a surgeon, what do I need with manure?" Zotov, 42, said in a
telephone interview from the Vacha district hospital in the Nizhny
Novogorod region. "It's an insult."
Zotov and the rest of the few hundred people who work at the hospital
were offered the dung as part-payment for wages not paid from December.
For years in Russia, bosses with no cash have used anything at hand to
pay their staff. If a company produces something, then its products are
the most likely choice. The Podolsk sewing-machine company once gave its
workers sewing machines, while the Massandra vineyard in the Crimea
once gave 10 bottles of wine a month. These bottles could in turn be
exchanged for food.
Much weirder payments have occurred when firms have passed out goods
that they have received from other firms in lieu of debt, for instance
the packets of tampons that were given to Arkhangelsk lumberjacks in
Zotov, who has worked as a surgeon at the hospital for 18 years, also
has taken home some unusual things, including building materials.
But there was a limit to what he would accept. And the back-end product
of a farm animal was it. As Henry Miller once said, "When shit becomes
valuable, the poor will be born without assholes."
"If they'd offered us sugar or sand, maybe we'd have kept quiet," Zotov
said. "But manure?" He made the hospital staff's plight known in Moscow
by appearing on TV Center.
Delays in the provincial hospital's miserly wages have been frequent,
according to Zotov, whose salary of just a little more than 1,300 rubles
a month ($45) is one of the best in the hospital. Some doctors receive
as little as 700 rubles, nurses as little as 500 rubles and cleaning
staff 250 rubles, he said.
"I don't know how to feed my children," said Zotov, whose wife, also a
doctor, earns 840 rubles a month at the hospital. "We work day and
In addition to the insult of the offer, Zotov already has all the manure
he needs from his own livestock. So flabbergasted was he that he didn't
even stop to find out what kind of dung was his for the taking. "I don't
know what type, maybe it's their own," joked Zotov, who said the offer
came from the mayor via the chief doctor at the hospital.
Vacha Mayor Alexander Abrosimov defended the offer of manure. "Maybe the
associations are not pleasant, but it's a needed commodity for every
resident," the mayor said in a telephone interview.
Many people survive on their low wages by growing vegetables in garden
plots or at their dachas.
"Everyone is looking for manure," the mayor said, adding that his
administration was just trying to prevent people from becoming "anxious"
about finding enough for their potatoes.
He also poured scorn on Zotov's claims that he was poor. "He's not a
poor man... He has his own house, a three-story house, a car," Abrosimov
The mayor said Zotov was complaining because he was "psychologically
sick." Lots of people who were "psychologically sick" were coming to his
office to complain, he said.
The dung, which Abrosimov said he thinks is from cows, is worth at least
350 rubles and perhaps as much as 500 rubles a truckload. A truckload
makes up about three tons.
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