In recent years in the former Soviet Union (Russia in particular) the idea of the destruction of the elderly has become very popular. Let’s not talk about the government’s position on this issue: from their point of view there are hundreds of reasons why this is good, how it will be convenient and great for others, the old man, the city and the country as a whole. This group has already counted, thought out and calculated everything and now the outcome is communicated to everybody with a big smile and a confident voice which tells stories about what can be done instead of the old man, what will be done and so on. Everything is clear with this group and we will not even think about them. Ordinary citizens are that audience, which is really alarming and frightening in its statements.

In general, people who support the elimination of the elderly mostly live in the cities. It is understandable — the old occupy valuable and expensive area in our economically developed parts of the country.

There are different reasons for this support. It should be noted beforehand that not everybody advocates the killing: some oppose this practice, some sympathize with them, but, according to the observations, such views are a minority. As said, there are different reasons and each is unique. Let’s voice them to try to understand this rather perverted logic, but in a sense, still logic and try to oppose as far as we can this savagery.

Let’s start with the most obvious — the elderly are old and therefore they should be killed thus giving them mercy: they are better off as they will not be a burden to their relatives, will not have any pain and suffering during the exacerbation of the disease, no need for costly surgery that can bankrupt the family and prolong the life of the old man for just a bit.

Another argument in favor of the extermination of the elderly is that they are not adapted to the modern life: they look different, sound different, there is a different type of interaction with them, not as simple as with younger generations. The old need special care, they do not do well with some innovations and some of them absolutely reject them. In other words: the elderly are undesirable and infirm.

Some argue that there are too many old people and so they need to be removed from the streets and from sight in general. This opinion is supported by those who believe that the streets of some cities are specially designed for the elderly and are not very suitable for the young and for the modern city in general (not enough housing, not much place for cars and so on). In the same group some absolutely savage shouts are heard that the old are dirty, plain, feeble and this is reason for their disposal.

The public has not defined the concept of “old” and in some cities even forty-two-year-“olds” (!) are destroyed while that same public stays completely indifferent. This destruction looks especially cynical when no one takes the place of the old. And even these old ones were settled on the bones of other elderly people which were destroyed in the past. So, the feelings are of course mixed.

Sometimes, the elderly are being radically changed under the pretext of “renewal” and “recovery”: pulled out of their familiar environment and settled among the young so that they become completely lost among them and simply live out their days absolutely lacking any attention and care. Those who are completely unlucky look either like a mummy or a semblance of a living being, even though just yesterday the only thing they needed was just a bit of attention and care from others.

Fortunately, this issue is not resolved completely and therefore that part of the population that realizes that whatever you call this process, this is still the destruction of the elderly, they save some and protect them from authorities. But, this minority was unable to save many of the elders and not even the usual old, but famous, beautiful and respected.

Due to the fact that many old people were too tenacious and could live for a long time and the interested people actually do not have that time these old are placed in terrible conditions and are artificially crippled. As a result they soon turn into junk and the person concerned uses this — declares the old man a burden, that he cannot be cured and removes him out of sight.

Some old people are very resistant and by the time they lose their former glory people change plans for them or they do not have the money for all of the procedures and this leaves the city a disabled old man on crutches, with scares the pedestrians and dilapidates in front of everybody. This is especially sad as this old man just a couple of years ago was an average old person at least, but certainly not a freak.

We are being read all over the world and everybody has elderly relatives, friends or acquaintances, and in principle they can understand how this whole logic is cynical and crazy. In no developed country of the world this is being done: all cities are full of neat and beautiful old people and everybody loves them, cares for them and comes to see them. Amsterdam, Bruges, Vienna, Paris, Rome and many others could be examples. Why the elderly are maintained for as much as possible while others try to get rid of them? Although it is a weird question for the developed world but we will try to answer it.

The old are representatives of the previous generations which lived before the today’s young. That is: they are not just some abstract creatures: they are relatives, friends, parents, grandparents and so on of the subsequent generations, the current in particular. Old people have parents too, which they can tell us about. They are carriers of the information which was incorporated into them at birth. They contain their own ideas about beauty and convenience which people of that time had. And not only they just contain, but they enjoy sharing it.

The look of each old man reminds us of the past, our family and our history. This one is the legacy of the revolution, this was Stalin’s favorite, this group was born during the Khrushchev leadership and so on. This is how the story of the city and country is being explored in our environment.

Old people do not need to be comfortable. Once again: they should not be comfortable to the present generation! Not because they do not want to but because they incorporated other ideas about beauty, way of life, convenience and so on. Why to dress an old person in tight jeans, pink shirt and use fake tanning? Especially when he is around 70–80. It looks and sounds absurd.

Yes, the elderly look old-fashioned, some might even smell differently and the interaction with some of them is not very comfortable. Is this the reason to kill? It is a living creature that shared its life story with its environment and will share it with its grandchildren and other generation if it will be allowed.

So what should be done with the elderly? Care and actually renovate them by hiring the best talent. Then tourists will come to your city because who is interested in talking only to the youth? And what about those who believe that the old should be changed to fit the modern lifestyle? For such there are enough modern and young places in cities where one can move and live there but certainly not to spoil the old man with one’s dubious notions of beauty and modernity.


Our quick-witted reader maybe understood that the conversation is not about people (fortunately, nobody has any similar plans regarding human beings) but about buildings. Such a horrible comparison of old buildings with older people was necessary so that the public stopped seeing houses as a bunch of bricks, metal, sand and glass and began realizing that they are carriers of history, ideas about the beauty of their time. Many say that “but that building does not represent any architectural value”. By this logic humans also should be killed at a certain age — not all became generals, presidents of countries, billionaires, famous artists and other “valuable” individuals.

Old buildings have to be saved and there is nothing to argue about. Moscow with its twelve million inhabitants stands no competition in terms of tourism, popularity and the size of the city to the mentioned towns (Amsterdam, Bruges, Vienna, Paris, Rome). Google gives 265 million results for Moscow while for Amsterdam — a tiny city in terms of area and population, compared to the Russian capital, Google gives 408 million. Evidently, size does not matter but the quality of the city, its content and its image does. Houses are precisely this content that is appreciated by both tourists and locals who love their city.

Those who believe that old houses are uncomfortable, it is difficult to live in them, they stink, etc. and therefore they should be completely redone: install an air conditioner, a satellite, change the façade of your balcony, change windows according to one’s “matchless” taste, one thing should be said — do not live in such houses. Either choose a new building, as there are plenty of them in Russia, or sell you old apartments and once again move to newly built houses. If one does not need the history of one’s country and city — nobody forces that person, relocate and live happily in comfort. At the same time prices for the old buildings will decrease and many will be able to move from the faceless Soviet towers into beautiful and unique buildings that will please its inhabitants for their whole life with its view and the knowledge that a person lives in such a unique home.

The issue of buildings demolitions and the maintenance of them is very relevant not only to Russia but for the whole former Soviet Union and, therefore, this article is devoted not only to Russia — the same situation is in Belarus and Ukraine and other countries. It is a very complex issue of respect to your property and history and only the tip of the iceberg has been discussed. We will continue discussing this problem in the following articles but in the meantime take a look at the attitude towards the elderly in Russia, where almost everybody does not care about them. After all, not stalls are demolished, right?

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Hotel “Russia”, built on the site of a demolished district, was knocked down in 2004. Since then there is a wasteland

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Demolished

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«Renovation»

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Demolished in the same period when the stalls were destroyed. Zero attention in the media

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House in Orenburg in which a Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko lived for a time

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Demolished in 2016 in order to build a car parking

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Stefan Vanli

Editor

EN_Moscow-Russia

Moscow

Russia