Black Death - and a Rant

I caught a ride through Feodosiya with a car driven by a burly gentleman, an Afghan war veteran, who took the opportunity to deliver an impassioned and damning invective against one politician after another. A rough precis as follow: "That Preaident Yanukhovich, of course he's mafia - you know he's been in prison twice? And of course Yushenko before him, they're all mafia, every one of them. What kind of country is it where people can’t support their children? Yanukhovich and everyone in government are s**ts because they create a country where people are unable to support themselves. There is no physical way that they can get money to feed their families so they have to live off other states - they have to go abroad to Italy and wipe the s**t off a***s because they can't pay for their children at home. The population has dropped by 10 million over the last twenty years and you know why? Because people are simply dying. How can pensioners live off a pension of 800 grivna? I'm on a pension, but at least I get an extra 140 grivni on top for being a veteran and of course everyone has to work too. But what if you have to actually survive on a pension? People are just dropping dead. A babushka can’t afford to go to chemist and get a test to see what the problem is, let alone treat it. Just to get a blood test, they have to pay first for the syringe and then the needle and then the swab, and if they can’t afford a bit of meat once a month, how are they going to pay for that? They’re ‘just dropping dead’...

“Can you smell that?” “ Smell what?” “The sewage from the streets. That’s the smell of corruption - this town has been here for two and a half thousand years but now the city mayor isn’t able to sort the drains out now. People managed in the past, but now there’s no management of the city.”

Apart from distinguishing itself as an ancient Greek city, Feodosiya also has the distinction of being the spot where, in 1346, the Black Death entered Europe when a besieging Mongol army used their siege catapults to hurl infested corpses over the city walls. The resulting plague would wipe out around half the population of Europe: