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Moscow’s Daredevil Urban Roofers Fall Under a System’s Watch

We make the approach down a narrow alleyway. A four-digit formula opens the heavy immature doorway of the complex, though once inside, shaft cutters are the keys of choice. We pass several forced gates, scale a fragile wooden ladder, span retrograde by a small hole, and exit onto the rooftop. From there, the imposing and bustling capital of Moscow opens adult below.

Leading the urban goal is Kirill Vselensky, 23, a prominent member of the city’s death-defying “roofer” community. Operating in a authorised gray area and without reserve equipment, roofers like Vselensky have grown a cult following in Russia, and have desirous identical movements opposite the world. Footage of their feats has captivated millions of web views, and some even struck sponsorship deals with multinational companies.

Defiance of authority and the order of law is in the roofers’ blood. To a poignant degree, it is partial of their appeal. But while the movement was at one indicate authorised to operate freely, a brush with politics final year led to unwanted courtesy from authorities. Surveillance, arrests and prison sentences followed; Vselensky was among the most high-profile of casualties.

In the days heading adult to his detain in August 2014, Vselensky had hosted Pavlo Ushivets, a Ukrainian roofer crony improved famous as “Mustang Wanted.” Mustang is maybe the biggest name in the civic path-finder village opposite all of Eastern Europe, eminent for gravity-defying acrobatic antics on bridges, towers and moving trains. But in those boiling summer days, that coincided with the hottest proviso of the fight in eastern Ukraine, it was Mustang’s nationality and roll call of Ukrainian nationalistic stunts that brought him the most courtesy in Russia.

As the roofers’ assembly grows, many tender viewers are penetrating to get involved. Many roofers make income by arranging regretful rooftop dates for couples.

It is misleading what purpose Vselensky played in Mustang’s many famous stunt, in which the roofer led a group adult one of Moscow’s Seven Sisters skyscrapers and repainted the Soviet star in the Ukrainian colors of blue and yellow. Vselensky denies holding part. “I told him it was a bad thought and that it would be foolish to do something like that in Russia at that time. we suggested him though he didn’t listen,” he says. But his organisation with the Ukrainian did him no favors, and after a raid by the Federal Security Service (FSB) on his home, Vselensky was condemned to two years imprisonment.

One year and seven months later, Vselensky walks a free man. The word freedom, indeed, is emblazoned in bold lettering opposite the front and back of the T-shirt he is wearing. But he looks utterly opposite from the amicable media photos of his younger self. His brownish-red hair now contains the occasional startle of gray. His sleepy eyes are puffy, sunken.

Vselensky, too, has returned to a opposite Russia. Following the general crackdown on his roofer subculture, it is also now most some-more formidable to make a living. Before, he could get income from marketing stunts and his print agency, Off-Limits. Nike and Chupa Chups had even created him checks. Today, such sponsorship is unfit to find. “People know the hobby is bootleg and is being targeted, so they stay away,” Vselensky said. However, he has skeleton to resurrect his amicable media profile, which, notwithstanding laying asleep for nearly dual years, still boasts hundreds of thousands of followers.

“I get so many messages from people seeking me to take them roofing,” Kirill Vselensky says.

Vselensky says that the roofing transformation had already begun to change even before his arrest. “We had a closed organisation and you had to be invited, though later, some-more and more people became meddlesome in what we were doing, generally after reporters started to write about us.”

There are now noted differences within the sub-culture in Russia. The original roofers — the “Old School” — are the romantics of the movement. They are the photographers and the artists, selecting buildings formed on aesthetic values alone. “For us, it’s all about a connection with the urban landscape,” Vselensky says. The newer roofers have reduction elegant ambitions, and are some-more endangered with racking adult as many climbs as possible, and the taller the better.

Increased courtesy from authorities also means that gaining entrance to the civic jungle has turn some-more complicated. Police now frequently guard CCTV, are some-more prepared to hand out fines, and guards have turn some-more consummate with their patrols. As the crackdown spread, posts emerged display roofers smashed and bloodied following clumsy diagnosis by security officers. Now privately targeted by the law, roofers mostly find themselves confronting a night in a jail dungeon before being given a simple fine.

Kirill Vselensky says that new roofers don’t need special equipment — customarily a smartphone and a clarity of daring to join. Photo taken at 374 meters above Central Plaza in Hong Kong.

Ivan Kuznetsov, an elite roofer who has scaled 6 of the city’s iconic Seven Sisters, says the new courtesy is not customarily down to politics. “I consider the main reason is due to children saying the photos taken at a good height, perplexing to recreate them and falling,” he said.

Despite the disclaimers that customarily convey YouTube roofer videos, Russia has witnessed several incidents of inexperienced amateurs trying, and failing, to recreate stunts. In 2014, Russian ride military expelled a gruesome video display a 14-year-old child balancing atop a railway bridge. As he loses his footing, the boy instinctively grabs reason of a 30,000-volt electricity wire before being knocked comatose and falling 30 meters to his death.

Over the next dual years, thatch claimed the lives of two some-more victims. In 2014, a schoolgirl fell from a roof in Moscow’s suburbs. A year later, a young lady fell from a overpass while holding a “selfie” sketch in the Moscow City financial district.

Kirill Vselensky believes determined roofers should ‘”show respect” to established climbers.

The second reason for the increasing courtesy was, undoubtedly, politics. “It’s obvious, the supervision doesn’t wish a repeat of what happened when Mustang embellished the star,” Kuznetsov said. As the other roofers, Kuznetsov was neutral when it came to the doubt of whether Russian thatch was at all domestic in essence.

On his part, Vselensky says Mustang Wanted has given apologized for implicating him in the Stalin Sister stunt. He claims not to be generally angry, though has resolved to avoid politics. “Politics are dangerous — that’s my categorical doctrine from prison,” he said. “I only bewail the loss of such a long partial of my life.”

Despite the obvious troubles, Vselensky maintains that the fallout from the Mustang event was not quite significant. He told The Moscow Times that thatch was simply fast a “complicated” stage.

Other members of the movement, however, are not so sure, and blame Mustang Wanted privately for ending a golden duration for the movement. “After the incident, many roofers stopped climbing as the laws became distant stricter,” Kuznetsov said. “It’s satisfactory to say many Russian roofers unequivocally don’t like Mustang. They can see how the police started to pay attention. He altered everything.” 

Contact the author at newsreporter@imedia.ru

Article source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/569846.html