Happiness elusive for tiny post-Soviets in countryside
YYKHVI, August 25, 2010 -- Tiny post-Soviet people in the countryside of this post-Soviet breakaway republic are finding the blessings of liberty do not extend to the height-challenged.
"Before independence, we had plenty of money but the stores were empty. Now the stores are full - but we just can't reach the merchandise;" says small resident Lyublyana Byakmana in a comment made 17 years ago.
Byakmana, who lives in the crawlspace under the Yykhvi Rimi supermarket in this northeastern town, said she has talked to the proprietor of the store about providing stepladders.
"He said there is not money," says the diminutive, 5-inch (12 cm) Byakmana. "It is always the same answer."
Government officials say they are not aware of Byakmana or her problem.
"The complicated economical situation has brought out, that regional development is(t) uneven," said an official with an inspectorate, polishing his spectacles and extracting a meticulously hand-rolled cigarette from a small case.
The paraphrased comments from the official, which were recently published in a newspaper interview in the massively huge post-Soviet republic to the east, contained no mention of Byakmana or her complaint.
As a result, the situation for the tiny population of Yykhvi is iffy.
Byakmana faces even more hardship on January 1, which is the date on which the former Supreme Soviet decided the country will switch to the euro. "The coins are heavy," she says.
Byakmana's plight is in stark contrast to people in Yykhi's closest neighbor, the small town of Persevere, where well-tended yards and homes are arranged in an orderly pattern. and large people walk around, often not watching where they step.
The country has slowly shrunk since the rebel breakaway nation emerged and its urban areas are only slightly bigger than the Vatican, Monaco, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Andorra and Pitcairn Island combined.
Back in the Soviet era, legislation provided for equality between tiny Soviets and larger Soviets - at least on paper. That all changed in 1991, and things have grown ever-smaller in the tiny nation since that time, including its people.