Rumors about border closing in the nearest time were getting unbearable, @oss
and me canceled all our plans about escaping safely in October to go the most obvious and mainstream plan: Vladikavkaz -> Verkhnii Lars -> Tbilisi
through land border control checkpoint.
**Spoilers: mainstream options are always the worst, I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT SOONER.**
We panicked and bought the last remaining tickets to the Vladikavkaz on the evening of 26th, in two days from there!! fucking hell
**18:35; 57km to the border.**
We landed in Vladikavkaz and caught a taxi driver asap, someone from the natives, he immediately suggested to drive us to the first traffic police point on the way to the great escape. The town is quite small but even so the traffic was quite overloaded. Guess why :')
**19:30; 27km to the border.**
We started walking on our own until we reached the first group of locals selling seats in cars to the beginning of the insane traffic jam on the border (it was about 18km long at that time), we bought 2 ofc, it's not like we had time to walk all the way.
**20:10; 18km to the border.**
The beginning of the traffic jam. A lot of locals were selling secondhand bicycles. We met a guy walking alone and he looked like a programmer. Yes, turned out he was a programmer. We decided to group up and walk together. The spirit was high, we joked around and talked about stuff, were walking mildly, not in hurry. The jam was dead locked. Machines seemed to move 1 place per 30 minutes. Poor drivers... they had to stay like that for days, almost a whole week. Just imagine the absurd of the situation.
**22:00; 9.8km to the border.**
We reached Chmi and the first inspection point. Some cops asked for passports to identify illegal or 'extremist' people. Also they were intimidating people. Like "haaa you running away too, fucking scumbags, weaklings. what would you do if we drafted you all right now? you want that? pissed your pants kids?" Guess they are just bored so they let off steam on tired and scared people like us. Disgusting. They said a lot of horrible things but in the end they let us go. The third guy was forced to bribe the official to get his passport back. Literally. It's as bad there right now. The mood immediately got dark and we decided to hurry and do the marching throw to the border to at least get to there at midnight.
**00:30; Ru-border control checkpoint**
Verkhnii Lars. We couldn't feel our legs, our whole bodies hurt from feet to shoulders and neck. The scenery was infernal. Crowds, thousands of people, cars, police sirens, the atmosphere screams in panic. Locals suggested to drive you to the border control in the line for 100k rubles per one person. Some suggested that for 200k. The more desperate the situation the higher the prices. People agreed and still do as I am typing it. We decided to get in the line of 'walkers', people trying to cross the border without wheels.
We realized we were not to make it alive. The line was about 900m long at that moment, we moved in only like, 1/6 of it. We were cold, we were super tired both mentally and physically, in the middle of nowhere surrounded by crowds of people in despair and fear. I decided that losing some money is acceptable to end this hell sooner. I started to knock in car windows close to the border control and ask whether they had a place for 3 almost dead bodies with semi-light luggage.
Found. A man and woman agreed to escort us through all border controls and deliver to Tblisi for 30k (per person ofc), it was incompatibly smaller, so we agreed. And we were almost to able to even simply stand and we started to freeze. A good deal.
**08:30; Ru passport control**
The car line was moving faster than the 'walkers' line. Made it in 3 hours! There we were at the most critical point. At that moment any of us could easily get actual draft invitation and get forbid from leaving the country at all due to military service requirements. Gotta admit I thought I was gonna die from panic. Imagine going so far to get DRAFTED in the very end (spoiler, it was not the very end).
A lot of intimidation, humiliation and mocking, again. "Do you know that running away from the country is such times is betrayal?! Do you know we could get you in jail for that?! Have you thought about that? have you thought about your family?!" etc etc. They let everyone go nevertheless, no matter what. It's just to cast on you even more despair after all these hours in the line. They know people are tired. They know they the people had to walk for hours and then stand in the line on cold in mountains for a dozen of hours to get there. And they fucking enjoyed it. Pieces of shit, I am sorry, but I let myself be emotional here. But I am kinda grateful, because it's the **hatred** for these people was the thing that kept us on in the first place. **Hatred** is the will to live. Remember that.
**09:30; Neutral zone from Russia to Georgia**
We immediately stuck in a jam. Nerves were going insane, I wanted to sleep but couldn't because the previous passport control section got on me deep and I couldn't stop panicking even though the Russia was far behind. @oss
managed to finally take a nap in the car, I was just sitting there, playing the events over and over in my head. Also the image of thousands of cold and as scared people behind, piling on and on in the 900m line to the border control we just passed... check out the pic of the night line. sorry for bad quality it's midnight and my camera is shit
Took the first and the last nap during the whole trip, just for about 40 minutes. Talked a lot with the people escorting us. Even though they took quite a lot of money from us (though in comparison to what was happening on the border it was almost nothing), the turned out to be a lot nicer as people, they shared breakfast and snacks with us and it was nice to chat about this and that. It's not like we had a lot to do in the jam. The atmosphere outside was scary. People were nervous after spending a week in the jam from Vladikavkaz, a lot of arguing, shouting... fights. But hey, the mounstains were hella beautiful!!! check out the pics
The end of neutral zone jam. The beginning of another 'walkers' line. 5 times bigger than the previous one. You can't imagine how many people were there, you CAN'T IMAGINE. It was about a whole kilometer in length and about 20-to-40 people in width. But overall it was chaos. People were awake on their legs for 2 and more days, it's... just horrid. And there they were to stay another day in that line. Literally another whole fucking day. No way you could get past a thousands people line to passport border control in less that 20 hours (optimistically). At least there they were receiving basic humanitarian help like water and stuff. Check out the day line pic. It's 1/10 of the whole amount of people
**17:00; Georgia passport control**
They didn't ask anything at all: they silently give practically anyone a stamp and let you in the country.
I am sure for all these thousands and thousands and THOUSANDS of people the Verkhnii Lars became one of the most horrid memories, I am sure a lot of them spent at 2 whole days on their legs, waiting for the infinite lines to passport controls on mountain cold. Jesus fucking christ.
Anyway, I just thought it's a story to tell you guys, you decide what you gotta feel about it.