Field Guide To Moscow
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Expat Field Guide To Moscow

Trophia Minigarchia

Minigarch's Wife

Habitat: window shopping on ul. Tverskaya; Shokolod Cafe or Vanil'; back of chauffeur-driven black Mercedes or Range Rover.

Distinguishing Features: over $50,000 worth of jewelry on body at any given time; look on face "like jou aven been fucked in a year"

Danger if Provoked: moderate to extreme, depending on presence of bodyguard (see below)

Mortal Weakness: anything that costs too much money

Comments: The Minigarch Wife is easily recognizable by her natural physical beauty and the hallmarks of her expensive lifestyle. Trophia minigarcha is typically initally chosen for sex appeal but is quickly relegated to child-rearing duty as soon as her husband finds a suitably hot 17-year-old replacement at Downtown or Park Avenue. In the wild, this species often can be seen with a Flathead Bodyguard (flatheadus protectus) whose job is both to protect trophia minigarcha from kidnapping attempts as well as to prevent her from outsourcing her husband's marital duties to other, more willing providers.

Soldatus Malnutritius

Teenage Soldier

Habitat: metro; Red Square; near famous monuments

Distinguishing Features: camoflauge; bored, expressionless face; metal detector; occasional twitches caused by hunger pangs

Danger if Provoked: medium to high, depending on blood sugar level

Mortal Weaknesses: strong gusts of wind; will let anything slide for 1000-ruble bribe

Comments: The teenage soldier can be easily found in many locations in Central Moscow. In the wild, soldatus malnutritius is often spotted in packs of two to five, occasionally accompanied by a large bomb-sniffing dog and asking for cigarettes. This species is usually docile and poses little threat to the observer, unless said observer is drunk, has Caucasian features, or is an easy target for a bribe shakedown (see turistus americanus).

Pafus Maximus

Art Director

Habitat: Inside the velvet rope at Moscow's most pafosniy nightclubs; inside a control room view video monitors trained on the club entrance

Distinguishing Features: Tight, all-black wardrobe; earpiece; at least thirty pounds overweight due to effects of late-stage cocaine addiction

Danger if Provoked: Low (physical peril); High (to ego of clubgoers denied entrance to his domain)

Mortal Weakness: fear that his club won't be popular enough to turn away prospective club-goers

Comments: Pafus Maximus is the brains behind the brawn of feis kontrol. His discriminating eye is the ultimate arbiter of who is and is not worthy of the title Elitny. Having endured humiliation at clubs in his youth, he is now eager to suck up to people who once ignored him, while denying entrance to the people who remind him of himself.

Rassclotus Chichimanus

Russian Rasta

Distinguishing Features: dreadlocks; numerous marijuana-themed accessories; bloodshot eyes

Habitat: Phlegmatic Dog; Club Infiniti; Kitaisky Lyotchik; drug dens in Marino

Danger if Provoked: none. Rassclotus Chichimanus is perhaps the most docile species found in Moscow.

Mortal Weakness: African students who grow tired of humoring him; Skinheads; Head lice; overheated banyas that could melt hair weave

Comments: The Rassclotus Chichimanus has only recently been discovered. He is one of the few species in Moscow with protective coloration, attempting to project an image of poverty when in fact he is a member of the zolotoi molodozh. This strategy has largely failed and tends to attract the attention of several Moscow predators, including the militsia and skinheads, who regularly prey on the Rassclotus Chichimanus. He can usually be found moving slowly, wearing a grin and squinting at nothing in particular. Only when he eats does the Rassclotus Chichimanus display a sense of urgency, and has been known to devour entire Shok bars in two bites. The best-known specimen of Rassclotus Chichimanus is Kirill "Detsl" Tomaskiy.

Dolor Recto

Babushka Dezhurnaya

Distinguishing Features: Permanent scowl; reading glasses; floral-print skirt and headscarf; vehement distrust of any and all persons who enter her building; odor of old kefir.

Habitat: The podyezdy of most upscale Moscow apartment buildings.

Danger if Provoked: Deceptively High. This species of babushka has an uncanny ability to make the lives of those who anger her a living hell. Since it is impossible to tell who or what angers her, all residents and their guests are subject to her rage.

Mortal Weaknesses: Embarrassment when you bring her granddaughter home from Night Flight; paranoia that the building is being taken over by Jews and foreigners.

Comments: Dolor Recto evolved into its own species shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Moscow residents began to demand stricter feis kontrol for their own apartment buildings. The babushka dezhurnaya spends most of her time watching Latin American soap operas while reading anti-Semitic pamphlets, and the visitor who enters her domain during an important plot development will witness the full wrath of this vicious species. Among the weapons at her disposal are devastating gossip, drafting letters of petty complaint written in Soviet-ese which begin "Respected Residents!" and placing said letters in everyone's mailboxes, and allowing your girlfriend to visit unannounced while you're having an affair with another woman in your apartment.

Humbertus Humbertus

Horny Expatriate

Distinguishing Features: Business suit; five o' clock shadow; total lack of rhythm and/or shame

Habitat: Doug and Marty's Boar House; The Real McCoy; Safari Lodge; Club Platinum

Danger if Provoked: Low. Once this species becomes fixated on copulating, it is nearly impossible to distract it from this task. Thus, the naturalist risks very little by observing Humbertus Humbertus in its native habitat. Even if this species is disturbed, it will choose to recommence its mating rituals rather than confront the intruder.

Mortal Weaknesses: Easily suckered into buying overpriced drinks for ugly friends of 19-year-old blonde from the Language Institute; occasional phone calls from wife in London can disrupt mojo; risk of official reprimand for putting visits to Shandra on corporate expense account.

Comments: Humbertus Humbertus spends most of its time in office buildings within the Boulevard Ring attempting to add a veneer of European propriety to the Russian oil conglomerate it works for. This species only leaves the office at night, when it prowls the bars of Moscow in search of its prey after purchasing Viagra (the one Russian word it knows) at an underground kiosk. Although the Horny Expatriate prefers to win its sexual conquests by charm and false promises of marriage, it often finds itself hailing a cab to Oh La La at 3 a.m., its instinctual urges having overcome its stinginess.

Sugarus Daddius

Caucasian Pimp

Distinguishing Features: Black hair, slightly retarded sounding Russian accent, brillo-like stubble (Not to be confused with the Markus Amus)

Habitat: While the Sugarus Daddius once roamed freely throughout central Moscow, the rapid expansion of several pafusni species has reduced his habitat to several small enclaves on Leninsky Prospekt, Kurskaya and Lubyanka. Happily, the Sugarus Daddius is still thriving beyond the MKAD, where he can be found after sundown surrounded by hundreds of his preferred mates (Whorus Khokholus).

Danger if Provoked: High. While the Sugarus Daddius rarely attacks, he is protected by several lesser primates that will eliminate any intruder threatening him. Sugarus Daddius is extremely territorial, and will kill competing Sugarus Daddiusi that encroach on his turf.

Mortal Weaknesses: Falls victim to zachistki by the militsia whenever a major international sporting event is scheduled for Moscow and after every Chechen terrorist act.

Comments: Sugarus Daddius is a non-native species from the North Caucusus that has thrived in post-Soviet Moscow. They quickly eliminated native Russian pimps with their aggressive tactics and superior ability to entrap and retain whorus khokholusi thanks to an instinctual combination of violence and pillow talk. A mature Sugarus Daddius can control up to 50 whorus khokholusi, forcing them into numerous daily mating sessions with cash-paying clients.

Mayonnaisus Infinitas

Housewife

Distinguishing Features: Super DDD+ underwire suspension bra; never far from a gallon tub of domestic mayonnaise; Chinese-made tapochki.

Habitat: Small kitchens in un-remonted apartments throughout Moscow. The Mayonnaisus Infinitas is one of the most common species in the city.

Danger if Provoked: The Mayonnaisus Infinitas has little natural fear of outsiders, and is easily tamed with a box of Krasnyi Oktyabr chocolates or a bottle of Massandra wine. However, it is highly protective of its young, and will often subject prospective boyfriends to long conversations about wallpaper designs and the relative merits of shopping at outdoor markets vs. western-style supermarkets.

Mortal Weaknesses: The Mayonnaisus Infinitas worries that its larva will never transform from tall and thin beauties into the mature Mayonnaisus Infinitas, and therefore insists on heaping mayonnaise on everything from fresh vegetables to pasta dishes in hopes of speeding the transition. Serving colorless food fried in cheap sunflower oil is another tactic it commonly employs.

Comments: The Mayonnaisus Infinitas rarely sleeps, and spends all waking hours making mayonnaise-based concoctions while Mexican soaps drone in the background. It is overprotective of its young, constantly nagging them about their non-existent coughs, the need to protect against drafts, and the proper level of attire on any given day. Such behavior is based less on a sincere desire to protect its offspring than a physical need to instill a guilt complex in its offspring. This is also done with a series of traps, such as setting a series of curfews that it knows will be broken, in order to make the offspring feel like they, rather than the artery-blocking diet, are responsible for the Mayonnaisus Infinitas' heart problems.

Churkius Indenturedservitudius

Ukranian or Georgian Gasterbeiter

Distinguishing Features: Dirty workman uniform, weary eyes, papirosy, sandals. Emaciated. Squats to conserve energy.

Habitat: Construction sites. Above ground during the day, sleeping in crammed basement at night.

Danger if Provoked: Low. Churkius Indenturedservitudius is extremely meek due to his lack of legal status, overwork for low pay, and fear of going back to an even worse situation in Ukraine anв Georgia (due new revolutions and pseudo-democracy lead by US). If given cheap vodka, however, danger increases.

Mortal Weaknesses: Vulnerable to militia sweeps when local precinct chief needs to buy his lyubovnitsa a new Volga or VAZ; not getting paid by his boss; hunger pangs; exhaustion.

Comments: Churkius Indenturedservitudius has been losing territory to rival species from Ukraine and Georgia, Churkius Muleius, thanks in part to Ukrainian whore Timoshenko and Georgian leader with anti-Russian policies and their pro-US colony status.

Chinovnikus Avaritia

Russian Bureaucrat

Distinguishing features : Pasty hairdo; fleshy face and fat fingers; expensive suit material poorly cut; beady, bloodshot eyes; loud voice. Sly grin when you offer to settle a matter 'po chelovecheski.

Habitat : His dilapidated office. Expensive restaurants. Dachas.

Danger if Provoked : Extremely high. Warning! Chinovnikus Avaritia is extremely sensitive to every minor Russian law, code and regulation, unless he is appeased with gifts. Furthermore, he does not like foreigners, unless they offer gifts.

Mortal Weaknesses : Vulnerable to periodic anti-corruption drives; jealous subordinates; sometimes victim if his boss is aligned with a 'wrong faction.

Comments : Chinovnikus Avaritia has only one role, and that is to cause problems for other inhabitants, problems which only he can solve. Once problem is 'solved,' he will in time create another problem, which will be even more expensive to 'solve.

Prodavschitsia Climacteria

Produkty Store Clerk

Distinguishing features : 30 year old woman who looks 60; fat, angry face, gingivitis; heavy makeup; ugly mole; hair bleached three months ago; frilly apron; permanent scowl.

Habitat : Behind counters and cashier windows of any establishment where cash changes hands; prevalent where food, vodka, Chinese electronics, and other necessities are available. 

Danger if Provoked : Medium. If you do not have exact change, Prodavschitsia Climacteria will often refuse to accept your money or force you to buy cheap candy to cover the difference.

Mortal Weaknesses : Still dreaming of a prince on a white horse who will carry her away from the produkty.

Comments : Like crows and pigeons, Prodavschitsia Climacteria is a highly adaptable, essential part of the harsh Moscow ecosystem. Thanks to conservation efforts, she will continue to thrive.

Onagus Khayastanicus

Caucasian Taxi Driver

Distinguishing Features: Speaks with nearly unintelligible accent, and punctuates sentences with definite article ‘blya.' Rasping cough from smoking 4 packs of Russkii Stil' a day. Apparent death wish manifested in driving habits.

Habitat: Behind the steering wheels of Moscow gypsy cabs. Squatting in a circle of other cab drivers outside of bars, restaurants and train stations.

Danger if Provoked: High. Even though dimunitive in size, angering the species with talk of Caucuses politics may result in his already-reckless driving style becoming suicidal. Do not, under any circumstances, suggest an alternative route.

Mortal Weaknesses: Poor knowledge of Moscow road system can result in agreeing to drive out to Mozhaisk for 1500 rubles.

Comments: This species densely populates urban Moscow. Despite poor familiarity with Moscow roads, he has encyclopedic knowledge of tochki, which he will happily share with you.

Asinus Vasallus

Gay Novikov Restaurant Waiter

Distinguishing features : Thin, hurried, young, with fashionably messy hair and androgynous boutique clothes; always rushing about; permanent snarl.

Habitat : All high-priced Novikov restaurants, and other establishments which try to immitate his restaurants. As yet, no Asinus Vasallus has been spotted in the wild.

Danger if Provoked : Zero. Asinus Vasallus will sneer at you no matter who you are or how you treat him.

Mortal Weaknesses : Asinus Vasallus, although physically slight, is protected by the fact that the homophobic Russian clientelle has absolutely no idea that their waiter is gay, because so are all of their favorite pop stars.

Comments : Was thought to have gone extinct sometime after the Revolution, but has recently staged a comeback, thanks in part to the preservation efforts of Dutch and German tourists.

Brevis Capillus

Moscow Office Manager

Distinguishing features: Short hairdo style cut at a second-rate parikmakherskaya; business suit; stern expression underneath layers of makeup; late 20s, but looks like a 35-year-old who looks good for her age; divorced with two children.

Habitat: Demokratichny cafes after work; Che, Propaganda, and Real McCoy's when they really want to get laid.

Danger if Provoked: High. Brevis Capillus has been on edge ever since she realized her former husband was not a prince on a white stallion. Men who take her home but don't call her back can expect to get an earfull. Young pretty girls who work in her office can expect to get harassed and eventually fired.

Mortal Weaknesses: Flowers and compliments. She always falls for a man who offers to take her to Iceland for a week.

Aequoris Capitus

The Okhranik

Distinguishing features: Large, perfectly flat head; usually wears a dark suit and keeps thick hands in front of his stomach, close to pistol; high-tech earpiece; fond of saying ‘Au eoaa!'

Habitat: Lobbies; in front of club entrances; passenger seat of expensive cars with sirens.

Danger if Provoked: Extremely high. Aequoris Capitus is highly sensitive to the slightest provocation, especially violations of his private space by other male species. Use utmost caution.

Mortal Weaknesses: Short Jewish businessmen with cash.

Comments: While Aequoris Caputis may not have specific fighting skills, he more than makes up for this with sheer thickness of body and mind. His rank in the pack is based on denying access to whatever he's protecting to as many people as possible.

Sudoris Calvitium

Jewish Businessman

Distinguishing features: Short, sweaty, bald; head slumped forward; expensive fashionable clothing masking unimpressive physique; loud hacking cough.

Habitat: Once widely distributed, currently only found in London, First Class lounge in Sheremetyevo-2, and Matrosska Tishina (if robed and killed to much people like ex-Enron boses).

Danger if Provoked: Was once thought to be high. Then packs of siloviki intruded on Sudoris Calvitium's territory, wiping out or expelling most of the ancient herds.

Mortal Weaknesses: Tall Slavic blond women.

Comments: Scientists are still debating the sudden and alarming decline of Sudoris Calvitium. While many attribute their declining population to global warming, others blame the re-introduction of packs of siloviki for nearly wiping them out.

Exactora Minuta

Trolleybus Conductor

Distinguishing features: Orange vest, cheap knit hat, valenki, badly nourished hair cut short and often dyed purple or yellow; holding tickets and small change. Thick body mass evolved in order to allow Exactora Minuta to push through crowds.

Habitat: A seat usually next to the middle trolleybus door. No Exactora Minuta has ever been spotted off of a trolleybus, although migratory habits suggest she comes from podmoskovie.

Danger if Provoked: High. Passengers who are caught without exact change might get hissed at, as will young passengers who don't yet have that dour, defeated trolleybus expression.

Mortal Weaknesses: Romance novels. All Exactora Minuta really wants to do is sit in the elektrichka and read about a girl getting raped by some dark, handsome Brazilian villian.

Comments: Exactora Minuta's continued and unfettered existence, unchanged from the Soviet era from which she evolved, is a testament to her hearty and durable nature. In fact, many scientists now believe that if a nuclear holocaust were to occur, Exactora Minuta would not only survive, she would probably thrive, since every last surviving human would finally acquire that trolleybus facial expression that Exactora Minuta relishes.

Meretrica Provincialis

Manezh Mall Rat

Distinguishing features: 15-year-old teenie bopper from the edge of Moscow who tries to look like she's a 23-year-old kept moll. Excessive make-up applied badly, fake designer jeans and t-shirts that promote clothing labels she clearly can't afford. Is usually extremely attractive in a trashy, Jersey-by-way-of-Moscow way.

Habitat: Manezh mall all year around, the Manezh fountain during summertime since she is drawn to fountains like moths to light.

Danger if Provoked: Potential unwanted pregnancy. If you approach Meretrica Provincialis and provoke her in any way, she will likely get drunk and have unprotected sex with you.

Mortal Weaknesses: Ice cream; lunch money; men three times their age who are willing to buy them something in Froggy or Mexx.

Comments: Metetrica Provincialis comes to the Manezh from one of the massive decaying outer-Moscow residential projects. She strolls all day in the three-level mall, shops but doesn't buy anything, and hopes to get noticed by a potential suitor.

Corruptoris Lardum

The Gaishnik

Distinguishing features: Fleshy face with red splotches in the complexion from a combination of a starch-heavy diet and excessive drinking. Body seems to be in Baron Harkonnen-like inflated suit as Corruptoris Lardum strides slowly in the middle of traffic. Special wrist-flick used to flag down potential cash cows.

Danger if Provoked: Extremely high. Anyone in a clean foreign car without government plates or a migalka is bound to provoke Corruptoris Lardum into a feeding frenzy. There is also a great danger if Corruptoris Lardum is not provoked, and to drivers who make the mistake of looking at him when passing by.

Mortal Weaknesses: Merc jeeps that confidently speed around downtown Moscow at 200km/hr. Pensioners in old Moskvitches.

Comments: Corruptoris Lardum spends most of his waking hours feeding on the bountiful nutrients offered up by Moscow's increasingly upscale automobilists. It is estimated that he needs to eat at least 20 500 ruble notes per day just to stay fat.

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Field Guide To Moscow
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