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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bribe Secures Prison Release Of Prostitutes

My Russian husband Costya rolled home drunk at 5 o'clock the other morning, mumbling something about having been with prostitutes.

"Oh really, dear? Well you can go and sleep in the spare room then."

Over a late breakfast, he told me what had actually happened. He had been walking home after work at about 11 o'clock the previous evening -- he is a New Russian businessman so he works late -- when the police stopped him on the street for a document check.

Our Novoslobodskaya district is now crawling with cops, who are evidently beginning a social cleanup in advance of Moscow's 850th birthday in September. They took Costya down to the police station near the Savyolovsky Station.

Here he found himself in the company of Vasya, a drunk who had been so rowdy his neighbors had called the police and they had taken him away still wearing his carpet slippers, and about a dozen prostitutes from the railway station.

Vasya and the girls were kept together in a cage, but Costya was allowed to sit on the seat outside. "The message seemed to be: 'Look lad, you understand we have a job to do, just be patient and you'll be O.K.,'" said Costya. "But I realized these cops had complete arbitrary power. If I made a false move, they could do anything they liked with me. I decided to borrow your reporting techniques and become a fly on the wall."

Unfortunately for him, Vasya was unable to adopt this cool stance. He began whining that it was beneath his dignity to be kept together with the prostitutes, so the police took him down the corridor and beat him up.

The girls in the cage were a mixed bunch, some experienced, some naive, but all painfully young. "They kept giving their dates of birth, 1980, 1981," said Costya. "I was shocked because they looked as if they were in their 30s."

They had mostly come into town for a night's work from villages in the Moscow region. "Without exception, they looked very ugly, perhaps because they had deliberately deadened themselves to do the job," said Costya.

One girl wore fishnet stockings, but the tight trouser suit seemed to be the preferred mode of dress. They all caked their faces in makeup.

One girl was taken out of the cage and came back crying because she though she would end up going to jail. The more experienced prostitutes reassured her. They knew a $50 bribe from each would secure their release without any entry being made on the police computer. "Just like the GAI," said Costya, referring to the traffic police.

A girl with needle marks on her arms looked worried because, while prostitution is not illegal, the police could pin drug-related charges on her. But she had the $50 on her and was soon on her way.

The others were not so lucky, so the police found a solution: payment in kind.

A particularly ugly lass was ordered to fill out the forms to pay the police station's gas and electricity bills, while the girl in the fishnet tights was "invited" into an inner office. The rest I leave to your imaginations.

The police had taken Costya to the station by car but, when they released him, they left him to walk home. He bought a bottle of vodka and downed it on the way to relieve his feelings, which is why he was dead drunk on arrival.