There are the babushkas, bless their hearts. The babushka, or grandmother, has a special role in Russian history and life. They are the social conscience, and humorously, the collective mouthpiece of Russia. They have an opinion about everything.
They are fearless; they talked back tank drivers at the Russian White House in 1991, they march in political demonstrations (all sides), they guard the lobbies of apartment houses, they beat away gypsies attacking foreigners in the street (as they once did for me). They sat outside my building on long summer nights, petting the house cat, enjoying the children playing hopscotch on the pavement, complaining about the immoral price of milk or the crooks in the Kremlin. Yes, they also sweep the streets and sidewalks with stick brooms. Someone has to do it.
Sometimes intimidating with their dour, deeply-bred suspicious looks, they can quickly return a smile exposing a few gold teeth or none at all, or start a conversation, or willingly give a direction. They often live alone or in depressing communal flats struggling to maintain their dignity. They deserve help and are one group you don’t want to have against you. We help them. The Los Angeles/St. Petersburg Sister City Committee has been helping them for ten years. We love them.
Read more about Russian women, and the babushkas! Buy here “Walking on Ice, An American Businessman in Russia”