Neglecting Moscow

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Vitya Barsuk is a young Muscovite. Living in an ordinary Moscow apartment, he has managed to construct for himself a magical non-Moscow reality.

On the surface, Vitya follows generally accepted norms: he studies at an institute and earns a bit of money as an auto-mechanic. What he mainly does, though, is keep and maintain horses in a barn-converted-stable on the outskirts of Moscow.

Vitya acquires the horses from farms in the Greater Moscow area, transports them to Moscow, and then puts them to pasture in one of his meadows or ravines.

All of the horses are workhorses.The heavyweights work in forestry, they maintain the forest by grazing and clearing away the grass. The slightly smaller horses offer rides for children. Sometimes colts are born on the farm, other times – thieves come in the night to take them from the pastures. When this happens Vitya gets help from his friends and, if he’s lucky, the horses are found somewhere in the forest. But if he isn’t so lucky, Vitya immediately goes into the village and buys new ones.

Vitya’s stable is located right between two worlds: one of abandoned sheds of the disappearing village and the other of modern high-rises, favelas of barnyards of a previous town over which rises a multi-million dollar medical complex of the Russian Central Bank.

No one knows how much longer these remnants of old Moscow suburbs will remain untouched, but until the fields and forests are developed with cottages – every morning over dewy grass, in sneakers and an unbuttoned shirt, Vitya goes out to saddle up the horses.

Almost everyday, regardless of season or weather, Vitya spends several hours in this corner of Moscow. He tends to the horses, rides them or lets children ride them, and works in the forest and field.

Translated by Chase Philpot



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