Documental 06: Krokodil Tears

Posted on November 13, 2012


Krokodil Tears (2011)

Well, the last documentary I reviewed on here was all about Eastern Europe and drugs, so why not carry on the theme? This one is based in Novokusnetsk, a Russian town near the border with Kazakhstan that could definitely be the Desolationgrad that English Teacher X worked in at the end of ‘To Travel Hopelessly’. A town of full of people with nothing to do and no one to do it with, the young population spends its days either drinking themselves into a stupor, drugging themselves into a stupor, or selling their bodies in order to get themselves the drink or drugs to put themselves into a stupor. You know things are bad when heroin is no longer of any real use for people, who have begun to look for new ways to get high. The most dangerous of these, it seems, is a drug known medically as Desomorphine, but known colloquially as ‘Krokodil’. Why Krokodil? Well, Krokodil is the Russian word for Crocodile (obviously), and the drug tends to turn the skin of its user scaly, much like the aforementioned reptile. It supposedly is a sedative that is around 8 times more potent than Morphine, and is relatively easy to make. It’s popularity stems from the fact is it super cheap, and can be cooked using over the counter drugs from the 24 hour pharmacies dotted around Russia. However, the amount of tissue damage that the drug causes leaves its user with an almost non existent life expectancy.It literally rots people to death. Drugs are for mugs, kids.

This documentary was put together by Vice, and involved them going out to Novokusnetsk and interviewing some of the locals on the subject. It is pretty darn grim,to say the least. It is completely impossible for me to fathom the day to day existence of these people, and I don’t mean that in a patronising way. It definitely rams home the mentality of ‘Bloomin ‘eck, we’re pretty lucky here in Middle Class Wales’. This is half an hour or so of lives being completely destroyed, with a little aside to those who are actually trying to help. That is one of the downsides of this documentary, you know, as well as the utter misery of the entire thing. The complete dismissal of the Christian centres put together to help people, based purely because of the religious connotations, is ridiculous. I’m as far from a religious chap as you can get, but don’t dismiss help purely because there is a bible involved. The other downside, as usual with Vice documentaries, is the presenter. This is very judgmental of me, and I’m cringing as I write it, but walking around nowheresville, Siberia in a mini skirt/leather jacket/hoody combo picking syringes up off the floor? Vice make some great documentaries, but it definitely reminds me why I don’t live in London yet.

But again, this documentary isn’t about the fashion mistakes of the presenter, it’s about the miserable day to day lives of the people in this Siberian town, and the new moonshine drug that is making their atrocious lives even more unbearable. Crikey.