North Korea: How a country lives that threatens America
Roman Bochkala visited North Korea as a tourist, but, being a journalist, he could not fix what he saw. Incredibly, he managed to take out all the videos and photos from this closed country.
The desire to go was a long time. With the coming to power of Kim Jong-un, the “great marshal,” as everyone calls him, the foreign policy of North Korea became more aggressive, and this country was in the epicenter of international politics. Now the struggle with the United States has really reached a certain apogee. Ordinary Koreans undisguised hatred of America.
Many are curious about what is there in the DPRK. There is really interesting. I decided to break impressions by day. While I was in North Korea, I kept such a diary.
Flight Beijing-Pyongyang. North Korean Airlines. TU-204. Never seen such empty planes. 7 passengers. Of these, two osobisty. The rest of the flight attendants sat down and followed the whole way with a smile, so that no one took any pictures.
In the migration card, which had to be filled on board, it is indicated: it is forbidden to import any literature about the DPRK and South Korea, porn and, if you are a journalist, you must inform about it. Tensed ...
Have arrived. The check at the airport was not as bad as it was described. Phones were not collected or content checked. They just wrote down the quantity - 2 pieces. Clarified if there are books. He honestly admitted that he had 3. Each one was leafed through, the name was translated and returned. The laptop was not tested.
Ukrainians are rare guests here. We are perceived as part of Russia. Those who are aware of the conflict do not understand why we "quarreled". Some people think that we are still in the Soviet Union. America is a fierce enemy. Demonstration of hatred towards the American imperialists is encouraged in every possible way by higher-ranking comrades.
There is no North Korea. Here they take offense at such a definition. There is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. And there are "factionalists" from the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, captured by the bloody clique of the States. The task of the conscious north is to free the southern brothers.
Laying flowers on the Great Leader Kim Il Sung and his son Great Leader Kim Jong Il is "where the Motherland begins" and a trip to the "great country". When asked how much bronze it took to sculpt the giant statues, the guide answered figuratively: as much as all the hearts of the Korean people weigh.
Three attendants were assigned. A party woman, ideologically grounded ideally. For a man, shoulder straps glow straight from under a civilian jacket. And the driver, who seemed to me to be the "senior of the group." Communicating with a local could only be through them.
There are 4 TV channels in the DPRK. All state. News every evening at 20:00. Sundays - international viewing. The radio is wired. The announcers communicate with the people in the language of slogans and party clichés. Based solely on the official statements of the party. There are several major newspapers. More details about them later.
North Koreans love to squat. Along the roadsides, waiting for transport. Repairing the road. Just meeting a friend on the street, the interlocutors will prefer to sit down and take a drag on their cigarette. There is no truth at the feet - this is definitely about the inhabitants of the DPRK.
Koreans smoke everywhere. In official institutions, shops, hospitals. Tobacco smoke does not bother anyone. In the USSR, judging by the films, this was 70 years ago.
The hotel for foreigners pleased with the presence of a shop for foreigners with overseas goods for foreigners, albeit at unrealistic local prices. It became clear - you can die of hunger only if you run out of money.
There is hot water. Electricity in many areas is cut off from 22: 00 until the morning. But the foci of a foreign presence are not extinguished even at night. They are illuminated with the help of generators and car batteries. Street lamps in some places dim light.
There is no internet. But in hotels for foreigners, it is allowed to send emails from a special computer. Koreans can also use email. But by prior request - two days before the day of dispatch.
Visitors do not plow Sims. Mobile communication is exclusively local. Two operators. Work zoned. In the province where the subscriber is registered. From the "overseas" to Korean numbers can not reach.
At three in the morning, when one of the tourists decided to take a walk, the guide was already waiting for him in the lobby. Change of time zones, the guest says, I want to get some fresh air. Don't - go back to your room and open the window.
About shadowing. There is such a myth that even if you are sitting on a pot in North Korea, there will be a “bug” that is listening to everything. There is a control. I found “bugs” in my room and cameras that are being watched. It is all there. But mostly you are watched by those guides that are attached to you.
At 6 am there is a dial tone. The country wakes up and goes to work. The workers are escorted to the service by women with red flags in green suits. As we were explained, these are the unemployed. They smile and wave in solidarity with the workers - at exactly 07:30.
Coffee is in short supply. Breakfast is always paid and mostly instant. The milk is extremely dry.
There is no milk at all in North Korea. Like practically no meat. Locals categorically do not eat it. With the exception of advanced population. For visiting tourists, too, are.
This is due to the fact that in fact there is no animal husbandry. Mountainous terrain. Every suitable piece of land is sown with rice, corn or wheat.
Dogs are rarely eaten. It is said that there are no farms to grow them for culinary purposes. But then I found out that there are special nurseries. Tourists are not offered dog meat. And the topic is not raised. Local spices taste similar to Chinese restaurants. The existence of the "Korean carrot" is not known in Korea itself. Cabbage - kimchi is pickled here.
In Pyongyang there are several shops with a decent assortment. Especially for foreigners and the secured party stratum. At the local sn they can go on a tour. The direct question to the Koreans, what is your salary, sounded the answer: I did not understand the question.
They took him to the village where Kim Il Sung was born. An important ritual. Here you will be shown a clay hut with a thatched roof. And they will tell you how the Great Leader at the age of 11 began to create a revolution. Childhood "Rising Sun" was replaced by a liberation struggle. The description of the stages of the formation of the Father of the Nation resembles the lives of the saints. The attitude towards Kim Il Sung in the DPRK is like the Messiah.
Concerning the Juche ideas. Many have probably heard of them, but few know the essence. Easy educational program. Juche is an ancient Korean philosophy. Its essence is that man is the creator of his own destiny. The center of the universe, capable of independently controlling fate. Kim Il Sung seasoned the teachings with the sauce of communism. He wanted to get away from the Marxist-Leninist and Chinese doctrines. And I remembered about Juche.
Juche is the nature of Korean atheism. Communist leaders have replaced God. The doctrine says - "it is naive to believe that with such a development of science and technology, someone decides everything, sitting in heaven." Before that, Koreans were Buddhists.
Juche ideas are realized through the Songun policy invented by the great helmsman. The bottom line is that you need to achieve everything, relying on your own strength. Do not wait for help and be ready to endure hardship. Songun is a guide to action in all spheres of life. Regarding military issues, it is said that there is no separate nation and army. There is one - armed - people. The streets of Pyongyang bear this out.
North Korea has one of the largest regular armies: 3 million bayonets, with a population of 28 million.
On the third world and militarism. The masses simply want their leader to press the red button. They are confident that they will win this war and spread Americans along the wall. They almost never ask him to do it. I was very surprised, but it is being promoted. They worship their rockets. They stand in the form of monuments, they are worshiped, like the ancient peoples idols.
At the same time, I did not see the movement of military equipment anywhere. Perhaps it occurs at night or on separate roads. But the infantry is just darkness. Military camps at every turn. The military live in squalid barracks type dwelling. Remove them is prohibited. Mostly built new type of towns, reminiscent of the Soviet.
In the Center for Science and Technology, in the center of the building stands a ballistic missile. Third. Successfully struck an imaginary target on the teachings.
The deadly rod is worshiped like ancient phallus-shaped sculptures. Koreans dream that the rocket finally flew overseas and destroyed the sworn enemy.
For all the Korean atheism, there is an Orthodox church in Pyongyang. Understandably - the Moscow Patriarchate. In what rank Father Fyodor did not ask. Although it is obvious that he serves not only the church.
It was decided to build the temple after the meeting of Putin with the Great Leader Kim Jong Il. On weekends, up to a 100 person comes to the temple. Basically, all from the Russian embassy.
They went to the circus. In North Korea, gorgeous acrobats. Demonstrate the wonders of owning a body. It is a pity that shooting them and taking photographs is strictly prohibited. The world would have admired.
Pyongyang has a subway. 26 kilometers of track, 7 stops, two lines. Deep pompous stations in the style of the Kiev "Golden Gate". In the carriages there are portraits of the Leaders.
People learn news from newspapers. They are on stands at metro stations. North Korean electronic newspaper - photographed the wall newspaper and later read it from the smartphone screen.
Every hour at the central station plays a requiem. Day and night. And it will be forever. The fact is that Comrade Kim Jong Il died on the train. In his special wagon, presented by Stalin. Passing the station during the mournful music, it is desirable to cry.
We stopped at a Buddhist temple. It turned out to be under the protection of UNESCO. There are only a few of these in the DPRK. The leaders were smart enough not to destroy them. North Korea is officially a country of atheists. But people still believe in Buddha. Quietly at home in the kitchen.
There is absolutely no sense here that North Korea is the epicenter of world politics. On TV - movies, on the radio - patriotic music. Newspapers, as I said, are in the subway. They contain only the official position of the authorities on topical issues. There is also a magazine in Russian, English and Chinese. For a foreign audience.
I learned how to prepare dogs. It is advisable to take not the urban home, and the village. They are specially fed. Breed does not matter. The main thing is to fatter.
After slaughter, the carcass of the 12 is soaked. Then the 2 meat is cooked for hours and served along with broth, noodles and eggs. From dog fat is made seasoning with spices and garlic. Koreans are especially fond of dog-meat in hot weather. It is justified by the fact that dog fat does not freeze even in cold water. Especially dogs love men.
The main shrine is the Palace of the Sun. The mausoleum in which the embalmed bodies of the Leaders rest. A visit to this pantheon is the most important event in the life of a North Korean. Like a Hajj for a Muslim. The ashes of the helmsmen are in two identical huge halls on different floors. In the twilight of the red light, two little bodies lie.
In 2013, the first ski resort in North Korea opened. The scale of the building is impressive. Alpine style. Probably should remind Grand Marshal Kim Jong-un of Switzerland, where he studied. Of course, there are no vacationers. The explanation is simple - not the season.
The fact that the Great Marshal studied in Switzerland was never officially reported. But there are rumors in North Korea.
A postcard from the Soviet past came to life before my eyes. I saw a bus from the 50s. With sloping roof at the rear and round headlights. They still run around here. Along with modern Chinese ones - simple as doors, but new.
The information that the DPRK is allowed to wear a certain number of hairstyles is a myth. But there are still certain limitations. Men don't wear long hair.
Schoolgirls and students - only a square. Older girls have a ponytail. Already women - short hair, like men.
Most go to work on foot. Perhaps this is due to the almost complete lack of personal vehicles. Grand Marshal Kim Jong-un introduces a "sport atmosphere". The day is told to take 10 thousands of steps.
A private car is a privilege to be earned. Most of the cars are Soviet and Chinese. But there are also new versions of top brands. Q7, Range Rover, Land Cruiser 300, Volvo CX90. Listed only those that saw in the new bodies. Judging by the black numbers, security forces move on them.
There is something to see in the mountains. They are wooded here, with many rivers and beautiful waterfalls. Given the almost complete absence of tourists, the feeling is as if you were on a desert island.
We passed the Eastern Sea. On the opposite bank is Japan. The coastline is fenced with barbed wire under electricity. And then you realize that you are not just on an island, but on a prison island ...
About cafes and restaurants. There are not many of them, and I have never seen locals in these cafes. Several times intersected with foreigners who lived in my hotel. I suspect that all the cafes work for foreigners and for some party elite. And so, to a person just walked down the street and went into a cafe, this is not. This is simply unaffordable, because the salaries are beggarly, only a few dollars, and the prices in the cafes are aimed at foreigners.
In the center of Pyongyang is a huge military museum. Probably like the Pentagon. It will take several days to get around its halls. North Koreans are proud that the museum was built in less than a year. And either in jest or in earnest, a million hands were thrown at its construction.
What the Koreans cannot refuse is the ability to exalt their national heroes. Naturally knocks out a tear when you look at the invaders of the American reconnaissance ship Pueblo. On the fighters for "liberation from the Japanese yoke." On the revolutionaries, on the liberators of the "enslaved" by the imperialists of the south.
Let's go to Wonsan city. Looking ahead - all the tracks are concrete. Like a runway. Only of poor quality. The joints between the slabs are such that they throw up. An extremely small amount of transport was striking. Trucks don't drive at all.
Entry into the capital only by special permission. If you are not a resident of Pyongyang, please inform your local government about your desire to visit the city of the Sun and get permission.
North Koreans do not have passports. Only a birth certificate and a certificate indicating the place of registration. A foreign passport is issued for a specific trip. An extremely small percentage of the population leaves the country. I asked why? The answer is: why, North Korea has everything.
Sea of Korea North Koreans called the East. For Japan, the attitude is about the same terrible as for the United States. Japanese authorities claim that North Korea stole at least 15 Japanese. Someone during a vacation in Europe, someone during a business trip. They publicly condemned the policy of North Korea. Pyongyang confirmed the five and eventually returned to Japan. The fate of ten more Japanese is unknown.
According to coupons: soap - 6 pieces per month (somehow a bit too much, but they said so ...), washing powder, rice (600 grams per day). Vegetable oil, meat and sugar are in short supply. But that's not what really stands out. This is a valid limit. The coupon needs to be backed up with money.
With North Korea, there is no fat. That is simple. Overweight, like the capitalists, is missing. All fit and one growth.
As for the fatness of the Great Marshal, Comrade Kim Jong-un, it is explained by the incredible amount of thoughts that fill his body.
The masses of the people do not see. On sale it is somewhere there, but can not afford. At best, workers can rely on soy sausages.
Here love Soviet songs. Tolkunova, early Pugacheva, Piekha (the one that the woman) sing from transistors. Sometimes there are CD players. Here is the last word in the development of digital technology. Flash drives and other modern means of recording information are not in nature.
Girls in national costumes sang songs at dinner. It is customary to entertain foreigners. Introduce local folklore. When they delayed about the game, we naturally burst into tears. The Labor Party of Korea is like the CPSU. And even more. There is a sacred attitude to the ruling political class here. Leaders are out there somewhere - on Olympus. Kim Il Sung - Zeus. Kim Jong Il - well, let's say, Hephaestus. Kim Jong-un is a real Ares.
We visited the pioneer camp. The largest and most revealing. North Korean Artek. In the 90s, Ukrainian communists even sent children here to rest. Children in ties walk in formation. However, they march everywhere, not only in the camps. Counselors - like in films from childhood. You must earn a badge to get here. It is given for exemplary behavior and excellent study.
In Wonsan, he witnessed how people went to the anti-American demonstration. Express indignation at Trump's "ugly statements". The president of the United States is here called the "terrible old man." In orderly rows and whole groups, people flocked from everywhere, like rainwater into a collector. Noted for facial expressions. To put it mildly, very proletarian.
Without emotions and almost without smiles. Comrade guide did not allow to approach the demonstrators. He cited the fact that comrades demonstrators do not need to interfere.
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