“If we need to undress to attract attention, then we are ready”: Kazan bars rising 'naked' rebellion

Extravagant challenge-strike for the opening of bars and restaurants running by Kazan businessman Artur Galaychuk supported in dozens of cities of Russia

“If we need to undress to attract attention, then we are ready”: Kazan bars rising 'naked' rebellion
Photo: Instagram account of Louis Bidon restaurant in Krasnodar

“Inaction will definitely kill us. Not Tatulova alone should fight," says Kazan entrepreneur, founder of ReLab Family cocktail bar chain Artur Galaychuk. Three days ago, the businessman announced the start of #golygolod campaign, posting a nude photo of himself on Instagram and calling on his colleagues to undress and draw attention to the deplorable state of the bar and restaurant industries after a month and a half of “covidious” quarantine. The campaign has not yet “blown up on the Network”, but more than a hundred have joined. Famous chefs, baristas and bartenders from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi and Krasnodar are joining the challenge. In the photo collection on the hashtag of the campaign, you can find both humorous pictures and photos that are clearly inspired by Titian, with very piercing texts. The most “juicy” pictures and statements of the Russian bar community are in the selection of Realnoe Vremya.

“We ask you to consider the issues of opening establishments with distancing and compliance with security measures”

Naked campaigns are not a Kazan invention. Over the past couple of months, restaurateurs, chefs and even doctors have held similar actions in several European countries under the slogan “You have stripped us!”, speaking about insufficient measures of support from the authorities. The shocking flash mob was a cry of despair and an attempt to somehow draw attention to the disaster of the long-impoverished hospitality industry, and not an advertising campaign, explains the founder of ReLab Famili network, Artur Galaychuk.

“It is no secret that naked bodies attract attention. Scandalous behaviour, hype, shocking trick? Perhaps, but only partially. We do not make demands, do not issue ultimatums, and do not engage in provocations. We ask for help, assistance and support. <...> We ask you to pay attention to small and medium-sized businesses and consider opening establishments with a distance between visitors, with full compliance with safety measures, in regions with a stable epidemiological situation," the entrepreneur explained in response to the request from Realnoe Vremya.

#golygolod, in translation from Russian 'naked hunger' — with the hashtag in the last 3 days the Network there have been published dozens of pictures and posts of solidarity. What's hunger got to do with it? The organizers of the campaign, according to Galaychuk, consider hunger inhree senses. Physical one — a catastrophic drop in revenue, despite the launch of many institutions of delivery and take-away services. Informational one — “complete ignorance” about the approximate timing of the opening of the catering sector, the removal of restrictive measures, the beginning of normal functioning of institutions. Emotional hunger is an elementary lack of human communication.

“We can't sit still because inaction will surely kill us. We see that the state is partially opening the economy, but we do not see any logic. So we have launched the initiative #golygolod. In addition to the fact that naked bodies attract, it is also the visualization of the state of horeca and about horeca, as well as other still closed industries. <...> The more of us there are, the faster we can draw attention to ourselves. Not Tatulova alone should fight (Anastasia Tatulova, the head of the network Anderson, who spoke to Putin with a request to support restaurateurs — editor's note)," founder of the network ReLab Family Arthur Galaychuk signed his post.

“We do not understand why we are worse than fairs, construction stores and beauty salons”

Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sochi, Perm, Krasnodar, Yoshkar-Ola — this is only an incomplete list of cities that have supported the campaign. In their posts, bartenders and chefs write about “the edge” on which many catering establishments are now located and the rapidly “losing weight” safety cushions.

Laconic barista from Kazan Misha Khong:

Cheerful and very relaxed staff of Kommunalka bar in Kazan on Profsoyuznaya Street:

“Friends, we are being on the brink! We are fanatically committed to our business and have not closed our restaurants yet! Unfortunately, we can't get any instructions or even some understanding from the authorities when we can start working! We do not understand why we are worse than fairs, construction stores and beauty salons. We are ready to comply with all necessary restrictive measures and, of course, comply with the necessary standards of disinfection. We are ready to cry out in pain and despair! Understand us, we have been silent for a very long time. The entire hospitality industry is now going through very difficult times!” the official account of Louis Bidon restaurant in Krasnodar.

“Of course, all or almost all establishments are now working for delivery. However, it is no secret that this is not enough, and many cafes can simply close quietly. A closed cafe, contrary to opinion, does not mean just the loss of several millions by a fat-rich oligarch. It means losing jobs for many people. It means that someone will not be able to pay for their studies. And it means that some little boys and girls will not get a toy, and sometimes even — housing or food. Undressing, we want to draw your attention to this. Please support the catering," writes Polina Solovyova, co-owner of the Gatsbys bar in Perm.

“We were stripped, have been stripped and will be stripped if we do not get a handle on this. <...> Almost a hundred years ago, we were forcibly deprived of our cultural, technological and gastronomic heritage, erasing the centuries-old, cosmopolitan layer of traditions of hospitality and the production of alcoholic beverages. It seems that they got up from their knees, but today what is happening is that, alas, you can't do without Russian-swear, it would seem. It is obvious that not only restaurants and bars have found themselves in a Steep Peak, but the inadequate reaction of those in power leads to the thought: 'Why do we need you at all?" says bartender, senior bartender of If You Know from Yoshkar-Ola, Mikhail Lebedev.

“I am hungry, despite the fact that I gained a few kilos during the quarantine. I'm eager to work! <…> I do not understand why my profession (read — passion and main source of income) has been sharply restricted and is not going to restore my rights yet? Why should I report my movements? Why can't I come to my apartment without being quarantined, or go to my favourite places without a pass? No one knows what will happen next or when it will all end. In the meantime, I am sharpening knives and skills, planting plants and cooking them to continue doing what I love and live a normal life," writes Moscow chef, one of the three best young chefs in Russia in 2016, Oleg Kusov, joining the campaign.

“The post-recognition of fear. All over the world, restaurant workers are trying to draw the attention of the state to the fact that we are actually being 'stripped' — that's why we appear before you naked, to show how much we are left with nothing. Our business has been left without support during the quarantine, and after — no one promises to provide it to us! Today is May 16, and we still do not know when we will open the doors of our restaurant for guests. We want to get back to work, give our employees a chance to work and provide for their families! Sochi is a resort city! Having deprived the restaurant segment of the opportunity to work, 90 per cent of the people living here are left destitute! The introduction of “stages and divisions” of business is unfair... Does anyone believe that we can't keep the distance between people better than they do in stores, beauty salons or buses," this statement was published in the restaurant Trattoria in Sochi on Instagram.

Moscow sommelier, bar manager of the capital's Magnum wine bar:

Director of KidSpace and blue-haired blogger Vitalina Musina supported the bartenders

In recent days, not only Russian bars, coffee shops and restaurants have taken up the baton but also representatives of the beauty and entertainment industry, not only owners and management, but also line staff. And in Kazan, even the blogger community and representatives of more “conservative” businesses, such as the director of the Children's city Kidspace, Elena Tikhonova, have joined the initiative.

“I'm FOR ANY ACTIVITY," I always say to my team. And if you say it, you should do it. So I support #golygolod. The aim: to attract attention to entrepreneurs, small companies that are created by people with love for people. Our employees have been left destitute for three months. Yes, it is easier for us to close everything, disband the team and go to work for hire or freelance. With our skills, experience, brains, and energy.. It couldn't be simpler! But no — we move our legs like those frogs to survive, to resurrect, to be preserved. HOW LONG ARE WE NOT GOING TO WORK? It is unclear! Someone opened the door and is not dangerous, but we are dangerous)) I don't see the logic. So, I'm for activity. It is better to try and regret than not to try and regret," this emotional caption accompanied the Kazan businesswoman's photo (the author's spelling and punctuation are kept).

“Yes, I don't work in the restaurant business, but the beauty industry is suffering just as much! And it is important for me to convey to my audience that thousands of people from the service sector are now without jobs and money. Hundreds of businesses will be forced to close. We do not receive any support from the state, but at least moral support for small entrepreneurs will not hurt now," says Mambet Khaybullaev, the Kazan stylist and barber, owner of Atom barbershop.

Vitalina Musina, a blogger from Kazan, the owner of a beauty salon, a couple of days ago thundered throughout Kazan with a video, where she walks around the city in underwear instead of a mask:

Let's finish our photo review of the campaign with an emotional post by the capital's DJ Dmitry Efimov: “Well. If we need to undress to attract attention, then we are ready to do it. We, apparently, need to be photographed naked, as #golygolod is a serious matter, you know... Many of us in the catering industry did not have savings, many have families, loans, mortgages. Many of us are not given or have not been given loan repayment holidays and, moreover, do not want to apply for unemployment benefits, < ... > but this all pales in comparison with the fact that there is no work now. It's just not enough for all of us. It is just physically absent, but we all want to eat, we need money not only to eat, but also to look for a job, buy masks and gloves.”

By Olga Golyzhlybina
Tatarstan