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Daching or How to Get Beaten Up in the Russian Countryside

Published: August 11, 2014 (Issue # 1823)



  • The latest round of daching took place by the village of Akulinino outside Moscow, best known for a mansion linked to state monopoly Russian Railways' president Vladimir Yakunin.
    Photo: Wikimapia

Many extreme sports, from snowboarding to air racing, are known health hazards. But only one can lead to indiscriminate beating, allegations of terrorism, jail and even self-imposed exile and all you need to do is take a stroll through supposedly public land.

Dozens of Russian officials, from President Vladimir Putin on down the totem pole, are accused of possessing posh "dachas" countryside mansions that are often built on public land and would be impossible to afford on an official's salary.

The new Russian pastime of "daching" is defined by activists as the touring of the public land that holds such mansions in an attempt to attract attention to the dubious real estate.

Proponents insist that daching is lawful and innocent but more often than not, they face harassment by police on questionable pretexts and attacks by thugs, sometimes in plain view of the guardians of order.

"This is public enlightenment," said daching devotee Georgy Alburov. "We're trying to shed light on the lifestyles of the people controlling financial flows in the country."

"They're incredibly irritated," Alburov, a known opposition figure and anti-corruption campaigner, said by telephone Wednesday.

Someone definitely is irritated, judging by the latest round of daching last weekend, which ended in several dozen brief detentions and another 10 or so alleged beatings.

The clash took place by the village of Akulinino outside Moscow, best known for a mansion linked to state monopoly Russian Railways' president, Vladimir Yakunin, an estate that reportedly boasts a fur storage area and a climate-controlled prayer room decorated with a collection of rare Christian icons.

Most activists, including Alburov, were detained when they queued up for train tickets which, police said, amounted to an unsanctioned rally.

Some 15 drove to Akulinino, only to be attacked at the gates by thugs with brass knuckles and air pistols, Alburov said.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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