You see now, how Russians came to have their reputation?
I always used to think very positively of Russia, and usually thought the best of Russians. As it happens, I still do. I still maintain that you’d be hard pressed to find a bunch of more hospitable, care-free, and genuine people than the Russians, and defy anybody to claim that an evening spent socially in the company of Russians does not rank in the top five of their Most Memorable Nights Ever.
But boy, can Russians be idiots. As readers of this blog should by now know, this part of Sakhalin Island is dominated by the oil and gas industry. With the oil and gas industry comes oil and gas facilities, and with oil and gas facilities comes health and safety standards which require a type of behaviour which is often incompatible with the prevailing culture and mentality of the locals. In short, being three sheets to the wind on an oil and gas facility does not sit well with those who own and operate the facility, nor anyone else whose life depends on the hydrocarbons within not catching fire.
A Russian man was recently discovered completely drunk on an oil and gas facility, the random alcohol test having failed to pick him up. Fortunately, he was not actually working and his condition did not lead to anyone else getting hurt. Upon his discovery, he was removed from the facility, taken to a clinic with a calibrated testing machine to confirm his inebriation, taken to his accommodation camp where he collected his belongings, and was taken from there to a cheap hotel by the airport where he awaited the next flight back to his hometown on the mainland. When his employment began, he was required to read, understand, and sign his acceptance of the company’s alcohol and drugs policy, which was in Russian. He had undergone the facility induction, also in Russian, where it was explained that there is a zero-tolerance approach to alcohol consumption, the penalty being immediate dismissal. He had agreed to the accommodation camp rules which stipulate that consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden in the camp and the night before an individual is due to work. Still, this chap went out and drunk a bottle of vodka, got caught, and lost his livelihood because of it.
That evening, the rest of the workers in his crew, 20 or so Russian men, were assembled at the accommodation camp where the consequences of the individual’s drinking were pointed out to all by way of his absence and empty room. They were for the umpteenth time reminded of the company policy, the camp rules, and the facility rules, and warned that the following morning there would be compulsory alcohol testing for everyone and whatever else they choose to do that night, for God’s sake, do not drink.
The next morning, the assembled group was asked if anyone had been drinking the night before, if so step forward now to avoid an awful lot of problems at the alcohol test. Two hands were raised, and two people booted back into the camp to await disciplinary action. Any more? No? Good. So off everyone goes down to the alcohol test, where no less than five more of the crew are discovered to be drunk. All five were sent packing to wherever they came from.
In the aftermath of all this, somebody asked what could be done to prevent incidents like this occurring in future. My suggestion is shooting complete idiots. Anyone have any better ideas?