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email from Russia begging for help

(22 Posts)
ernest Wed 22-Dec-04 08:46:28

I got an email from some russian guy basically begging for help - no money, no heating, trying to support elderly mum etc. Dunno how he got my address. Has anyone else had this?
I hate to be a mug, but I have always had a very soft spot for Russia & all things russian. I know life over there can be incredibly hard. If it's true I feel very sorry for him & want to help. It is very cold over there now

Am I being a mug? Would you respond?

EbenyZebraScrooge Wed 22-Dec-04 08:49:01

Sounds like spam to me. Sorry

jingleballs Wed 22-Dec-04 09:05:34

i'd go with the spam, would u mind copy and pasting it onto here for us to give u a better view?

wobblystarryknicks Wed 22-Dec-04 09:08:10

Definitely sounds like spam. I wouldn't respond to it. If you really feel badly about it, there must be charities that work in Russia that you could give to.

ernest Wed 22-Dec-04 09:14:06

ok jingleballs. Deep down I know you're all right. It's just i used to live there for a bit & I was truly shocked to see the miserable conditions these people have to live in, esp the elderly. such hard lives


here it is.

21 December, 2004.

Dear Friend,

Please excuse me for any inconvience caused by this message. I sent you this message from a library of our small city and I pray for your help.

My name is Valentin. I'm a student and I live with my mother in the city of Kaluga, Russia, that is 200km south from Moscow. My mother is invalid. She cannot see and she receives pension from the government very rare which is not enough even for medications.

I work very hard to be able to buy the necessary medications for my mother, but my salary is very small, because my studies still not finished.

Due to the crisis our authorities stoped gas in our district and now we cannot heat our home. I don't know what to do, because the weather is very cold here already and the temperature in the street can be lower than minus 30 degrees Celsius in the next weeks. I'm very afraid that the temperature inside our home can be very cold and we will not be able to survive.

Thanks to the internet access at our library I was able to find several e-mail addresses and I decided to appeal to you with a prayer in my heart for a small help.

If you have any old electric heater, warm clothes, electric water-boiler, high-calories canned food, vitamins, medicines from cold weather, any hygiene-products, I will be very grateful to you if you could send it to our postal address which is:

Valentin Mihailyn,
Ryleeva Ulitsa, 6-45.
Kaluga. 248030,
Russia.

If you think that it would be better or easier for you to help with some money, please write me back and I will give you details for sending it safely if you agree. This way to help is very good because in this case I will be able to buy a portable stove and heat our home during the winter.

I hope to hear from you very soon and I pray that you will be able to help us to survive this winter. I also hope very much that this hard situation will get better very soon in our country.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2005. I'm sending to you many thanks in advance for your kind understanding. Please excuse me, once more, for any inconvience I could cause you by sending this message.

God Bless You,

Valentin and my mother Elena.
Kaluga. Russia.

alexsmum Wed 22-Dec-04 09:14:43

it's spam! don't be sucked in!!

wobblystarryknicks Wed 22-Dec-04 09:17:21

It's spam - they know you'd send money rather than items as the postage would be huge. Don't get pulled in by it, give to charity if you want to do something.

jingleballs Wed 22-Dec-04 09:21:22

spam i'd say as well, now reading it, If u really wanted to help them thou, and do actually have some blankets etc.. you want to give away, then give them to a charity out in russia - does the red cross go out there? or oxfam poss? (at least then u know someone will benifit from it / give to a homless person a blanket or something? def don't sent money, if u respond they'll prob keep contacting you for more)

ernest Wed 22-Dec-04 09:25:40

it's deleted.

alexsmum Wed 22-Dec-04 09:26:37

imagine what your response would be if a stranger came up to you on the street and told you a similar story.what would your reaction be?

Kif Wed 22-Dec-04 09:43:54

I'm a Russian refugee, and we still have family over there.

My unhelpful answer to your dilemma is: yes it is true that conditions can be appalling especially outside of the main cities. But, no, you shouldn't send money to this person. People who have the resources and savvy to pull off this kind of stunt are unlikely to be the neediest.

Charity I would recomend is St. Gregory's foundation. St. Gregory's foundation

I know many people involved in the organisation, and can vouch for their knowledge of the region and professionalism.

Kif Wed 22-Dec-04 09:51:30

Had to run to tend to babe for a moment.

As I was saying, this charity (i think ) send both money and things (blankets clothes etc.) in containers.

Any donations would be appreciated, and I'm sure they would make a difference to the neediest people's lives

JanH Wed 22-Dec-04 10:37:43

Kif, would you be able to translate a letter into Russian for me? We have a child from Chernobyl come to stay every summer and we need to send him and his grandma a letter with a few euros. Can I CAT you please?

ChristmasCracker Wed 22-Dec-04 10:45:07

I have had loads of these emails recently, from all differnt people and places.
Some are like the one on here and some are from people asking me to help them transfer money, for which i will be given cash.

I just delete them starightaway.

littledonkeyrach Wed 22-Dec-04 11:01:46

I had a similar one from a man in South Africa asking me to help with legal fees. Deleted it!!

ernest Wed 22-Dec-04 11:02:53

Thanks Kif

IwigitcouldbeXmaseveryday Wed 22-Dec-04 12:27:06

Message deleted

MariNativityPlay Wed 22-Dec-04 12:29:51

JanH, if Kif can't help for whatever reason I can probably do a very simple one (A Level Russian years ago and like ernest a very big soft spot for the miserable existence lived by so many former Soviet citizens).
CAT me as I am outta here in 29 mins after a hectic morning mumsnetting

NameChangingMancMidlander Wed 22-Dec-04 12:35:23

Spam, but of the worst emotional blackmail 'tug on the heartstrings' sort. I get quite a few Nigerean ones that are about money laundering for some diamond mine, how stupid do they think I am ?!

JanH Wed 22-Dec-04 13:09:11

Ohhhh, Marina, I have just come back on, have I missed you? My address is holden_jan at hotmail dot com, if you are still around...???!!!

Kif Wed 22-Dec-04 15:53:13

Sure, CAT is fine - would be glad to help

JanH Wed 22-Dec-04 16:17:34

Thanks, Kif - have sent one!

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