May 26 – Many people don’t know about Schroedinger’s cat, a concept from
quantum mechanics, but the 60 residents of Nasha Rodina (“Our Motherland”), in
the north of Kemerovo Oblast do. They call the rickety suspension bridge
between their village and the outside world the Schroedinger bridge because it
both is and is not, an indication that they are not as cut off as many might imagine.
This footbridge, which is impassable during spring floods and can carry only people and the occasional motorcycle in the best of times, is something the local authorities have promised to replace for decades; but the powers that be haven’t done so – and Nasha Rodina residents don’t want to lose this link (nemoskva.net/kak-zhivet-nasha-rodina/).
The village has no shop, no village council, no medical point, and residents use this bridge to get to neighboring villages across the river in order to meet their needs. What is perhaps most striking is that official maps show that there is a real bridge when in fact there is not, yet another case of the Schroedinger cat principle.
But this is just one of the ways that what the government says and what the people know do not correspond. Residents say there are more people there than the oblast admits or the census reports, they note that the village had had name change after name change, and they acknowledge that the village has been passed back and forth among three oblasts.
As Putin has demonstrated in recent weeks, Russians often have problems with old maps; but as the people of Nasha Rodina are doing every day, people there often have problems with much newer ones that show things that may exist some of the time but don’t exist on other occasions.