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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Looking for Mr. GAI, Healthy and Romantic

I know that there isn't much sympathy out there for the agents of the GAI, or gosudarstvennaya avto inspektsiya (State Auto Inspectorate). Most drivers think of them as little more than incarnate devils perpetrating evil at every turn. I know one humble Zhiguli, for instance, which was recently subjected to the auto equivalent of a 40-minute body-cavity search before it was discovered that the mandatory aptechka (first-aid kit) was missing the mandatory bottle of iodine. Fine: 10,000 rubles.

Not being a driver myself, however, I have always seen things slightly differently. I have seen how the average gaishnik stands for hours in snow or heat, breathing air thick enough to chew and facing hatred and abuse with every wave of the zhezl (baton). It's not a pretty picture.

The point of these musings is simply to say that, no matter which of these two views one holds, it would take a creative genius on a par with Pasternak to write a job advertisement to draw young people into this particular line of work. For obvious reasons, it would be impossible to play up the job's most attractive features, such as raking in copious bribes or indulging one's most sadistic urges for total power over one's fellow creatures. No, one would have to find a more subtle approach.

Luckily, in Yekaterinburg at least, a worthy Pasternak was found, and I thought this little bit of creative writing worthy of attention.

The announcement, which was photocopied on official-looking letterhead and plastered all over town, begins with an appeal to raw machismo: Dlya molodykh muzhchin, zdorovykh i sil'nykh yest' nastoyashchaya rabota (For young men, healthy and strong, we have some real work).

Having thus grabbed your attention, our Poet moves directly to the punch line. Read this and see if you recognize any GAI officers you know. Vsem, kto neravnodushen k chuzhoi bede, kogo privlekayet romanticheskaya sluzhba v gosavtoinspektsii, tem kto ne boitsya trudnostei militseiskikh budnei predostavlyayetsya vozmozhnost' ispytat' svoi sily na sluzhbe GAI (For all who are not left indifferent by the sufferings of others, who are attracted by the prospect of romantic service in the State Auto Inspectorate, who are not afraid of the difficulties of a policeman's everyday life, we offer the possibility of testing your abilities in the service of the GAI). I can imagine how long it took our hero to draft this masterpiece.

The announcement then details some of the most attractive features of GAI work, such as the opportunity to work with the most modern computer technology, to use the latest systems of radio communication and to master the upravleniye avtotransportom v slozhnykh i ekstremal'nykh usloviyakh (the direction of traffic in complicated and extreme circumstances). That sounds more like the GAI I know.