In India we often hear that people fall off roofs due to irresistible addiction of flying or chasing after kites. Youth, especially children are advised to stay alert whenever they roam around on roofs. But far away in Russia, things are different – they actually knowingly jump off roofs. These young men in Moscow have dropped all fears to scale skyscrapers in the Russian capital. Only motivation behind taking such huge risks that can lead to injury and even death plus arrest is to, according to them, feel more ‘alive’.
The group consists of four Russians and one Frenchman who visits Moscow regularly – they call themselves ‘Rudex’. The Rudex stands for “roof and decay exploration.” Their passion has taken them to the top of some of the city’s best-known landmarks and also, on occasion, to detention by police. None has been injured since the group was founded in 2008. According to a Reuters report, the movement is non-political and they have no ideology. But in a show of concern for urban renewal, they sometimes take pictures of buildings that are decaying, unkempt or lacking security and post them on social media.
“Some are parachute jumpers. Some go to church. Some love skiing. But I walk on roofs,” one of the members Georgy Lanchevskiy told Reuters. “I like the atmosphere on the roof. It’s unusual. It’s romantic.”
Some of the Rudex group said they fear that authorities will introduce legislation to ban their pastime outright, perhaps out of concern that it could induce teenagers to commit suicide. The reality, they said, is that Rubex is life enhancing. “Let’s ban everything and the atmosphere for youths will really get dull,” Shukhov said. “What will we do? Sit and booze on the porch of our homes? Or maybe look for drugs?”