Un fragmento del libro de David Remnick La tumba de Lenin, los últimos días del imperio soviético:
“It wasn’t as if this swamp of corruption were a secret to the Soviet people any more than the existence of the mafia is a secret to the New York storekeeper forced to pay protection money. The mafia made itself known every turn. You literally could not leave this earth without feeling its heaving hand come on your shoulder. One afternoon, the nanny who take care of our son came to work exhausted and depressed. Her mother had died, but what had run her down most was the enormous effort and expense of getting the woman buried -a process that drained her as much as it enriched the “cemetery mafia” and its Party patrons.
«I knew immediately this was going to run into big money for us», Irina said. «We were supposed to get a free funeral and burial. But that is a joke. The first stop was the bank. First, Mother’s body had to be taken to the morgue. We were told that the morgues were all filled up, and the y wouldn’t take her. But when we paid two hundred rubles to the attendants, they took her. Then there was the fifty rubles for her shroud.
«Then the funeral agent said he had no coffins my mother’s size and that we could buy something eight feet long. My mother was five feet tall. For eighty rubles he came up With the right size. Then the gravediggers say they could not dig the grave until two p.m., even though the funeral was set for ten a.m. So that took two bottles of vodka each and twenty-five rubles each. the driver of the funeral bus said he had another funeral that day and couldn’t take care of us. But for thirty rubles and a bottle of vodka we could solve the problem. We did. And so on with the gravesite and the flowers and all the rest. In the end, it took two thousand rubles to bury my mother. Three months’ income for the family. Is that what ordinary life is supposed to be? To me, it’s like living but the law of the jungle».