A hunched figure in darn clothes with a bottle of cheap beer in his hand – a common picture one can often see in Moscow. But this man isn’t an ordinary drunkard. He has his own story to tell.

This guy’s name is Miguel and he is a Cuban. In spite of a slight accent, his Russian is almost ideal. Besides, he masterly speaks Russian swear words and use them quite a lot in his speech.

When he was young, he studied well at school. That’s why after graduation he decided to go to Russia and enter the prestigious Moscow State University. He graduated from it 11 years ago having got a diploma with distinction. Now he has neither a job, nor money. And all he can do is drinking with his “mates”.

Sometimes he makes some money on the side though. For example, during the holidays he sells flowers and gets about 1000 rubles ($33) a day. But the rest of the time he spends drinking.

He doesn’t miss his native country. He likes everything in Russia except for cold… and police officers. He says, they are the same in all countries. All of them like cavilling too much. And the government is also the same here. Its members are busy with the only thing – they think about how to earn more money for themselves.

Miguel once lost his Cuban passport and wanted to restore it. But having known the price of this operation ($300) refused the idea at once. To earn such money he must work really hard.

After the graduation he got married and even had a child. But now he rarely sees them.

Now he lives in a flat with his Peruvian mate who rents it. Miguel himself doesn’t have money. And when it happens that he earns at least something, he spends it on drinks certainly, and “everything becomes fine again”. Sometimes he finds a chick for himself but it doesn’t last too long as no girl can bear him for a long time. He admits he’s a goof and very different from his mate who works from morning to evening.

Though Miguel is black himself he doesn’t like Caucasian guests of the capital like true Russians. He thinks they behave impudently and always ask for trouble. Moreover, he has some skinhead friends with whom he drinks sometimes. Of course, a group of skinheads and a black man drinking together attract attention of the police who come and ask if everything’s fine here. And when the skinheads reply that he’s their friend, Miguel is especially proud.

He used to go to Cuba but now can’t afford it. He promises to come back there when communists are thrown off. Otherwise, he won’t be able to live a happy life there.

Before Castro his mother’s family owned a huge store but when the communists came, they lost everything.

Miguel dreams about visiting Europe again. He likes travelling and has been there many times.  Sadly, things are not going quite well now… He can’t even buy a pair of shoes.

Actually, there are many blackmen like Miguel in Moscow who hole up somewhere till the morning and then get on the first train in the subway and drive the Moscow ring during the whole day.

But what makes such people change their poor but carefree life in warm countries at the sea for poverty in a big but very unfriendly and cold city? It seems nobody can adequately answer this question…


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