Destinations Magazine

What Does a Russian Toilet and the IRS Have to Do with This Article?

By Mendeleyeev

We took this photo at the famous Jamz Cafe in Moscow to show you the flush button on top of the tank and the metal paper protector roll which are so common in Eastern Europe. The toilet is a good tie-in to the IRS as many American readers will agree.

8-24-11 Moscow 449 edit

Yesterday we had a sobering conversation with a younger Black American woman, around age 40 or so, who was traveling in Russia. We don’t see many Black folk from the USA as it is more common to see someone from Africa.

She had taken part in a tour with an older relative and was headed back to the USA, in the process of moving her small family out of the Memphis, Tennessee area and headed West. For generations her family has lived in and around Tennessee so naturally we were curious as to the reason for the move. Leaving friends and family behind isn’t easy for anyone, especially a single mother.

The IRS was her answer. Since graduating from college she has worked for the IRS, a little over 15 years. “Evil” was her next answer. “I see those people who stay and it scares me. If I stayed, I’d eventually become like them.”

Knowing that her personal faith was Christian, her bosses thought it fun to give her cases that targeted other Christians, especially pastors and priests. She was yelled at for not being “mean enough” if she helped her audit clients with resources to know their rights as taxpayers. She worked in a “stick it to them” culture.

There were also the parties, the trips, the expense accounts and she described the atmosphere of the office as like an “cloud of oppression.” She could have stayed. The pay was good, the benefits and time off were unrivaled in the normal world,and the retirement very secure. But she valued her faith, her dignity and her sense of self worth.

She has a job waiting for her out West and the pay is less than half of what she’s used to making and benefits are nowhere close. However she is a woman of integrity and staying in a posh government job was not worth selling her eternal soul to a corrupt government.

Why not a whistle-blower? She is scared, very scared and made us promise not to reveal her identity. “They are evil and will stop at nothing to protect their culture” was her genuine fear.

It isn’t everyday that you meet a real American hero, especially a Black American in Russia, but there is always a first time for everything and yesterday was the first.

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Kefir child

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