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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zhenya Bond No Match for Connery




It was the day before Police Day and I was hoping to interview the policeman who works near Belorussky Station. He has the biggest head I've ever seen - as big as a pumpkin.


Unfortunately, he wasn't at Belorussky, or at the police equipment exhibit I visited at VDNKh. So, I wandered into a roundtable talk on security-for-hire, hoping to find some off-duty private investigators.


Unfortunately, the talk was full of security firm representatives complaining that the media misrepresented them as an evil mafia that controls Russia and sows death and destruction in their path - or something like that, anyway.


I was hoping for a bit of media misrepresentation myself - with a Russian private eye downing scotch and a mysterious blonde hanging off his elbow - but I bumped into Vladimir Chernyayev instead. He invited me to visit his local school for security guards.


Years ago, I worked in the futures exchange in London as a messenger. The security guards there were a nice bunch, but never good at "security." One guard I knew was sacked not long after he offered to show me some albums of compromising pictures (of famous and not-so-famous people) he'd picked up in his previous job at a photo-developing company. Another - whose gold Rolex I'd always admired - was later fired for supplying drugs, lots of them, to the futures dealers.


Chernyayev, though, promises to deliver a different kind of guard. His small office in eastern Moscow has been training the men at the door for the last seven years. Top banks and businesses have sent their men to him for his month-long professional course in how to shoot, snap on the handcuffs, avoid that man creeping up behind you and save his life once you've clobbered him with your rubber truncheon.


In a small classroom decorated with diagrams of the inner workings of a Mauser pistol, Rudolf Maslov, a tall, silver-haired retired soldier, prepares the school's latest bunch of pupils. Confident and commanding, Maslov resembles Sean Connery during his debonair older-man-waiting-for-Catherine Zeta-Jones-to-fall-at-his-feet phase.


The school has a library full of material used to teach the budding guards - its shelves are stacked with books and videos full of the latest essential information for anyone in the security business - among them, "Female Bodyguard," "Security World Monthly," "Weapon Law" and "Rubber Truncheons Weekly."


All right, I made the last one up but I think there's a market out there.


At the police equipment exhibition that day, the biggest crowds were gathered at the stands selling electric stun guns. One salesman, Andrei, delightfully pulled out ever bigger and bigger stun guns, muttering about how jolly they all were.


"It's very jolly," said Andrei, with a chuckle, as he burned a hold in a piece of paper with the gun's electric beam. He was a good salesman in his former job as a taxi driver, too - he said that he had stunned four passengers so well, they lost consciousness.


A concerned fellow customer asked if the unfortunate fare dodgers were okay. But Andrei shrugged his shoulders, answering that he didn't know - he'd just left the unconscious bodies on a nearby bench.


None of that sort of unprofessionalism at the security school though. Although, once I'd had a quick tour of the office, I convinced Chernyayev to open the safe. Considering I hadn't even shown him any identification and was asking some pretty inane questions, it was pretty easy to get access to the firm's best equipment. Once I'd tested his truncheons, handcuffs and gas pistol, I left. My doubts disappeared, however, when Rudolf said goodbye with a handshake that could squeeze diamonds from coal.


If you can't trust someone trained by Sean Connery, after all, who can you trust?