As promised, because people need to do what they say they will do, this episode starts my translation of Viktor Petrovsky’s off-the-cuff impressions of the Crimean Bridge. Here is the youtube video itself, which caused so much interest (and furor, on the Ukrainian side) in the blogosphere:
Some background: Viktor is a Ukrainian citizen. He is young, bright, modern, good-looking, well-off, cosmopolitan; and his travel blogs have enjoyed some popularity on the internet. Recently, with his series of 3 videos about the Crimean Bridge called “Viktor against Vityanych”, Viktor received a dose of extra publicity when the Ukrainian government threatened to punish him for his unauthorized road trip. After that, his views and clicks spiked and other media started picking up his story and writing about him.
Commenters to Viktor’s youtube channel congratulate him on his achievement, wish him well; and advise him to keep his hands on the wheel while driving. Except for a handful of “pro-Ukrainian” commenters, all of whose comments are negative and threatening (“They will impale you on a bottle”), most of the comments are positive; many even express a state of euphoria which is the topic of my series anyhow, namely, the psychological effects of the Bridge.
Viktor and his companions are overjoyed to be among the first “Ukrainians” who set foot (well, actually automobile) on this bridge. In between Series 2 and 3, while fresh off his crossing, Viktor shared his impressions in this 6-minute clip, and that is what I am translating, not the entire series, alas, which would simply take too much time.
Viktor’s Excellent Adventure took him first from Spain to Moscow, from whence he flew to Simferopol, Crimea. And thence onto THE BRIDGE, and heading in an easterly direction across the water, and ending up in the Russian port of Taman.
Viktor’s fellow blogger Alyonka Bardovskaya is riding in the car in front of him; her CB call-sign is “Little Squirrel”, and she may well be the first pioneering Ukrainian citizen who actually crossed the bridge. Squirrel is the Ukrainian Stanley Livingston of the bridge, so to speak. Viktor, in the following car, along with two girls, Anya and Angelina, goes by the call sign “Kaban”, which is Russian for “Wild Boar”. It would have been even funnier if his call-sign had been “Moose” (’cause then, see, we would’ve had a Moose and Squirrel…) Be that as it may, Also Sprach The Boar:
My name is Viktor Petrovsky. This is a free video for you, why did I make it? Because I just crossed the Crimean Bridge among the first convoy of cars, and I want to share my impressions with you. I was in a group of around 10-12 cars filled with ordinary people. Well, see, yesterday, Putin and his inner circle drove across the bridge in Kamaz trucks. But this is the real, official opening of the Kerchensky Bridge; and so I, and Anya and Angelina [pointing to the back seat] and Alyonka Bardovskaya just ahead of us with her family [pointing forward to another car] were among the first to cross the bridge. Let me tell you about my impressions. Well, first of all, for those who don’t know me, I am a resident of the Ukraine, I am from Nikolaev, I am not from the Crimea, you know they [Crimeans] get two passports, a Ukrainian one and a Russian one. But I myself only have a Ukrainian passport.
1:00 minute – That’s why I was a little bit nervous, if we went with the very first group, if there would be lists and checkpoints, I thought to myself, “What if there were to be some conflict? Maybe they will question me, search my car, perhaps prevent me from crossing, seeing that I am a Ukrainian?” Dudes: There were absolutely no problems whatsoever. Nobody even verified my documents.
1:25 minutes – [Looks at the camera and takes his hands off the wheel] Look, dudes, any of you who are from the Ukraine and watching this: There is something I need to tell you: The bridge is not a fake! The bridge is real! It is made of real asphalt. The road is of a very high quality. As you will see from my ensuing videos… [Reaches in the back and grabs his camera]. Right now I’m using a different camera to record my impressions, but see, I have this (other) camera of a very high quality, and I made these videos, if you haven’t seen them yet, then check out my new series. So far I have made two videos already.
2:00 minutes – Okay, now just my first impressions. Dudes: Bravo to them (молодцы)! Simply bravo! They did what they said they would do. I recently flew from Spain, from the Island of Tarifa, to Moscow… I flew from Moscow to Crimea, landed in the new terminal [at Simferopol], this brand new terminal was built in under a year, I believe. [Asking his companions]: How long did it take them? A year, no?
2:23 minutes – [Girl’s voice from the back seat]: “Perhaps a little more…” [Viktor]: A little more than a year. These are brand new airport terminals, gigantic, beautiful, truly of world class quality. So I know what I am talking about. I literally flew from airports such as Ibiza [Spain], from the Barcelona airport, on my way to Moscow…
2:41 minutes – [Vic is interrupted when his CB radio crackles, he reaches for it.] And …. uh …. from there (Moscow) I flew to Crimea. Nobody, even a world traveler, needs to be ashamed even one drop for that airport [in Simferopol]. And I am convinced that this airport would [impress] any citizen of any country. Excuse me one second, I just have to answer this…
2:56 minutes – [speaks into the radio]: Squirrel, Squirrel, this is Kaban. I am recording a video right now, don’t interrupt…. [grins at the camera] – Those are our call signs, I am Kaban, and she is Squirrel. [Grins and points to the family in the car in front.] Okay, what can I still tell you about the bridge? It spans from beginning to end. Like I said, it’s real, it exists, bravo! They [the Russians] did what they said they would do.
[to be continued]