Yandex.Taxi is Russia’s Uber. According to its terms of service, a driver can refuse a passenger a ride for any reason; he or she is deducted a fine and that’s the end of the matter.
But, like many laws and regulations, this apparently no longer applies to Black passengers.
Drivers are obligated to give them a ride, as one unfortunate driver from the provincial Russian city of Bryansk found out earlier this month when one Roy Obonga, a student from the Congo – whose primary interests in Russia would appear to be far removed from academic matters, at least judging by his VK profile (list of his subscriptions right) – posted a short video of a truly traumatizing microaggression:
Driver: I don’t like his state, I am not taking him. [says this talking on a cell phone to someone else; perhaps Yandex support?]
Obonga: Just like that? Why you not want to give me ride, because I am coronavirus, yes?
Obonga: So I am coronavirus?
Driver: You have nothing to do with it, it’s my choice… If I don’t like someone, I don’t give them a ride.
Obonga: So you don’t like me? You are racist, yes?
Driver: Of course, yes.
Obonga: You are racist, yes?
The video only shows the tail end of the exchange, so we don’t even know what series of events or provocations led up to it – though it is worth noting that there are hints of intoxication in Obonga’s speech. Moreover, the driver is clearly only agreeing with Obonga’s “coronavirus” and “racist” accusations out of pure annoyance in an apparently successful bid to make him get out out his car ASAP. Now obviously, “agreeing” with a racially aggrieved minority that you are a racist and doing it on camera is an extremely bad idea, and no White driver in the West working for Uber or Lyft would make such a rookie mistake. But it’s no surprise that ordinary vatniks from the Russian provinces haven’t yet gotten the message on how to properly cover your ass in our brave new world.
Obonga reported the incident to both Yandex.Taxi and to the the legions of GloboHomo-aligned online outlets based in Russia, who are always very happy to promote anything that demonizes ordinary, working-class Russians. After a warning from Yandex.Taxi to the driver in the wake of Obonga’s direct complaint, it was upgraded into an outright ban after the story was publicized by TJournal. The tech giant haughtily announced that they have no place for “impudence and racism” on Twitter. There is no indication that the driver was even consulted for his side of the story.
This resulted in some nice memes and even an endorsement from Oleg Kashin (a liberal journalist who has fallen out with former crowd by not hating Russians enough). Meduza wrote an article, as a Khodorkovsky/Western-funded outlet negative in tone, of course, but with links to a representative sample of anti-Yandex complaints.
However, as the Russian saying goes, a fisherman sees another fisherman from afar. The #яндекскуколд hashtag was quickly suppressed, and both Google and Apple deleted/discounted most or all of the resulting spate of one star ratings. Twitter banned many of the accounts that had promoted #яндекскуколд, and I allow that even my own temporary shadowbanning may have arisen as a result of that. BBC Russian wrote an article asking why Blacks have it so bad in Russia and why nobody is protesting it. A petition demanding Yandex rehire its fired driver posted to Change.org was also deleted, in an object lesson in precisely what kinds of civil rights issues Western tech companies are interested in supporting in Russia (does not appear to include protecting honest Russian workers from public defamation and infringements on their labor rights).
Now obviously, Russia is at a much less advanced stage of SJWism than the West. Current social opinion is a strong barrier to its spread, and in a few cases, it is underpinned by law (e.g. the ban on propaganda of homosexuality to minors).
Right now, its vectors of spread are limited to just a few socio-economic groups:
(1) Loud and sizable contingent, though a decided minority, of students at elite universities. For most of them, this will be a passing youth fad, with the few true believers wasting away on Soros/US State Department grants in obscurity.
Unless, that is, these views are subsequently reinforced and validated in the media and corporate world.
(2) Elements of the media-entertainment complex. Though camp and gay everywhere, which is OK (sort of expected, anyway), it is surprising to see so many Black performers on TV in the runup to the New Year.
(3) Woke Capital directly from the West, e.g. in an amusing recent development, German automaker Audi broke off an advertising contract with the liberal bimbo Ksenia Sobchak for making some very mildly critical comments about #BLM (“wondering why the protests “were ending with the looting of the Louis Vuitton store” in downtown Los Angeles“).
(4) “Democratic journalists” who serve as GloboHomo’s agents within Russia, importing/propagandizing all the latest memeplexes from #MeToo to #BLM, which extends into audacious attempts to colonize the Russian language (e.g. campaign to taboo the usage of negr/негр, which is our traditional word for Blacks, as in the Latin countries; the hilary of “Nigaz” aside, a joint venture in Nigeria that was set up by Gazprom boomers, I have been told that “negr” is becoming moderately taboo at younger/hipper media establishments including pro-regime ones).
(5) Most disturbingly is GloboHomo infiltration of Russia’s own corporate sector, especially the tech giants. While Woke Capital from abroad can in theory be filtered or banned entirely as appropriate, that won’t be so easy if it is allowed to establish beachheads within Russia itself – as has evidently happened, at least to some extent, in Yandex’s case. Moreover, in this sense, the tendency of many Russian corporate giants to headquarter abroad opens up not just a geopolitical and economic vulnerability, but a cultural one as well (Yandex itself is registered in the Netherlands).
All of this is in its incipient stages, more hilarious to observe than anything else. For instance, one recent example might involve Tanuki, a Russian sushi chain with what seems to be an ideologically fissured social media team. Its Twitter team effectively mocked #BLM by posting #AllMakiRolesMatter a few weeks ago, while the Instagram team has just gone full woke, rainbowfying its Instagram logos and telling irate followers to effectively go screw themselves. One possibility could have been that their PR team were just racist liberals (anti-BLM, pro-Homo), which is not an unusual combination in Russia (after all, that pretty much describes Mikhail Svetov’s libertarians and the Sputnik & Pogrom people). But probably not, since according to at least some reports, the people who had posted the #AllMakeRolesMatter Tweet had been fired and the new Homo posters are their replacements.
But all of this is still very much the exception rather than the rule. Even so, as we saw with the coronavirus (which came to Russia via Italy, not China), this is no guarantee that Western toxicity will acquire self-sustaining dynamics and become endemic.
That is because the trends driving GloboHomo in Russia are structural and cannot be divorced from Russia’s broader economic and informational integration into the European-American space.
This recent BNE article by Ben Aris, which talks about Russian companies adopting ESG (environmental, social, governance) performance metrics in a bid to appeal to foreign investors inadvertently makes the point.
Raby goes on to point out that until recently it was seen a breach of their fiduciary duty for asset managers to consider non-financial criteria like ESG when assessing an investment decision. The change to start taking ESG criteria into account is a fairly recent development.
“Making investment decisions that take the environmental impact into account so far has been an exclusion approach. We don’t invest in fossil fuels. We don’t invest in extractive industries. And there has been a big debate about nuclear power,” says Raby. “The social part has been a box-ticking exercise. Do they have a worker safety policy? Do they have women on the board?”
That will have to change now, as companies need to embrace the whole concept of ESG and build it into the heart of their businesses.
“These days ESG has gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have thing. If you don’t want to lose existing investors and want to attract new ones then this is already a must,” says Oleg Goshchansky, chairman and managing partner of KPMG in Russia and the CIS
And ESG could turn out to be a boon for Russian companies as it is one of the few ways they have to undo the “Russian discount” on their market capitalisation valuations.
Now in all fairness there is nothing wrong with ESG in its reasonable interpretation – environmental stewardship, social responsibility, etc. are all good things, though really the focus should be on government regulation as opposed to corporate signaling on those matters.
But even in these early, inchoate stages we already see atomophobia (“big debate about nuclear power”), despite it being one of the not that frequent outstanding success stories of Russian industry, and the incongruency of this coupled with concerns over climate change (which will be good for Russia anyway). We see questions about women on the board. How long before those people are “asking question” why Russian companies have no LGBT members. Or Black members? (At least there won’t be questions as to why no Asians, as they’re honorary whites for as the woke are concerned).
These are not racist concerns. Russians were the single greatest POC victims of Western supremacism, we were repeatedly decimated as a people when we were colonized by (foreign) Marxist ideas that were largely imposed on us by non-Russians.
And now the descendants of those very same people want to colonize us all over again with GloboHomo and Infinity Blacks, ending Russia as a viable nation-state by the end of the century.
Although a complete break with the West and neo-Sakoku/Iron Curtain reimposition is unviable, there should certainly be a continuation and reinvigoration of efforts to re-attain economic sovereignty, so that companies serving the Russian market serve the interests of Bryansk vatniks instead of rootless financiers of ambiguous ethnic identity flitting between Moscow and London. There ought to be zero tolerance for GloboHomo/BLM propaganda and signaling, punished by flash mobs from the bottom and loss of state contracts from the top. Cultural exchanges need to be tapered down to a minimum, with interaction mainly limited to short-term tourism, simple trade, and scientific cooperation.