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Russians discover the ultimate lifehack: solve any problem by stamping it with Alexey Navalny's surname

17:31, 20 february 2018

Having played a decisive role in turning back both Napoleon and Hitler, the Russian winter is a fearsome adversary. Invading armies know it. Communal services crews in Moscow know it, too. This winter has dumped an unusually large amount of snow on the capital, overwhelming cleanup workers and forcing Muscovites to get creative, if they want to make their local roads and street corners a priority for the plows and snow shovelers.

Earlier this month, on February 10, Muscovite Tatyana Grigoryeva discovered a particularly inventive way to expedite the snow removal in her neighborhood: she wrote the name of politician Alexey Navalny in the snowdrift. Within a couple of hours, someone simply tossed extra snow onto her graffiti, covering up Navalny’s name. “Looks like I’ll have to write it again,” she wrote on Facebook. The second time, it worked. Within a few hours, Grigoryeva says a cleanup crew showed up and started shoveling the walkway outside her home.

In cities around the country, Russians say they’ve repeated Grigoryeva’s experiment — generally with the same success. “Navalny graffiti” has appeared on snow in Yaroslavl, Saratov, and Angarsk. The politician’s surname apparently didn’t do any good when written on snow in Kurchatov, but it motivated communal workers in Tomsk, where activists also painted the address of the local police station.

Navalny himself says he's tempted to use Tatyana Grigoryeva’s “lifehack,” tweeting on February 20 that the snow piled outside his apartment building hasn't been removed in three weeks.

“I should try this myself. The snow outside my home has been there for three weeks already.”
Alexey Navalny

For some Russians, however, using Navalny's surname to clear snow is only the beginning. On Twitter, Internet users have been brainstorming the myriad other solutions this scheme might offer.

“If you write ‘Navalny’ on a bad road, will they pave it with new asphalt?”
“If I write ‘Navalny’ on an old bridge, what are the chances that they'll build a new, half-decent bridge?”
“Alright, the trick with writing ‘Navalny’ in the snow works. But what do you do if they haven't painted the walls of your entrance way in 30 years? What if you write ‘Navalny’ on the walls? Has anyone tried?”
“If I write ‘Navalny’ on the floor in my room, will they also please clean it up?”
“I want to write ‘Navalny’ on the people who annoy me, on my potbelly, and on all my unhealthy addictions. They'll come and clean it all up.”
“If you write ‘Navalny’ on Navalny, they'll come wipe him out, too.”
“If I write ‘Navalny’ on my term paper, I wonder if they'll finish it [for me]?”
Oh now I want to write ‘Navalny’ on all my credit card debt.