Isanchugin used to make fireplaces, but when the crisis swept over the country six months ago, his employer disappeared with all his documents and his salary. He said he has not been able to find new work because of his lack of documents and the scarcity of jobs during the crisis. He said he didn’t even have enough money for a train ticket to return home to his wife and four children in Orenburg, a Urals city about 1,450 kilometers southeast of Moscow.
Moscow police have refused to help him, he said. In desperation, he recently walked into the office of national ombudsman Vladimir Lukin to ask for help. “I went to Lukin’s office. They told me he was away,” Isanchugin said. “But I just saw him entering the office!
“My son will have his birthday soon. I’m very ashamed I can’t buy him a present. I can’t even buy cigarettes,” he said.
Isanchugin said he would never return to Moscow if he managed to make his way home. “Pick out anyone from this crowd — every other person has a story similar to mine,” he said.
A man standing beside him dolefully nodded his head in silent agreement.
Some people in line spoke of how politicians had once helped them but said they couldn’t rely on them any more. “Kasparov’s people used to pay us to rally, 500 rubles per demonstration, but even they are not inviting us anymore,” said one man standing in line who refused to give his name, referring to chess champion turned opposition leader Garry Kasparov.
Isanchugin said things would be different if Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were still president because President Dmitry Medvedev is “too feeble.”