Every day, specialists from city services take on a number of complex tasks to help citizens and keep the city alive and well. There is no doubt that their work is vital to the city, but we still know very little about them.
For our 'People of the City' section, we have asked these professionals about their unique experiences and interesting stories from the job. The interview with Andrey Alexandrov was prepared in partnership with the Moscow city utilities authority.
How long have you been working in your profession and what made you choose it?
I've been in industrial climbing for about 18 years now, and I've been with the AO United Energy Company for three years. Rope access jobs are unique because they're extremely complex and it's not enough to just know how to industrial climb. You have to be qualified in something else, like an electrician, a construction worker, a painter, etc. For example, I'm a trained electrician.
I got into this occupation by accident. As a child, I was curious about who repaired and painted the big amusement rides in parks, like a ferris wheel. And when some climbers I knew needed an assistant, I immediately volunteered. So, now I know the answer to that question I had as a kid.
When I was just starting out, there weren't any special training centres for industrial climbing, so I had to learn on the job. Five years later, I completed my on-site training and got an industrial climbing certificate. But I don't think that's the right way to go about it. If someone wants to learn industrial climbing for a rope access job, it's best to receive basic training from a specialised training centre first and learn from experienced professional instructors.
What does your work involve? Why is it important for the city and its residents? What are some of the most interesting parts of your job?
My job is to monitor the condition and operation of architectural lighting for buildings and structures, as well as renovation, replacement, and installation of architectural lighting elements. In addition, we've also been replacing old lamps in outdoor lighting systems with new and more efficient light diode lamps.
I'm proud to work for AO OEK. After all, we're the ones that create the image of Moscow, or the face of our country, if you will. I enjoy knowing I've had a hand in creating the beauty of the nighttime city streets.
In our work, we have to be responsible for our partners as well as for the people on the streets. The team is the most important thing for us. We need to be able to understand each other using only gestures.
I hope that other rope access workers take care of themselves and always abide by the health and safety rules!
What do you like about your job? Is there anything about it that inspires you?
When you look at things from up high, it feels like you're flying. I guess that's what attracts rope access workers to the job. The city from above is truly something to be seen. Things are different up there. No one is rushing, everything is peaceful.
Could you share a funny/interesting/gripping story that happened to you at work?
Well, my job is interesting because everything is constantly changing and memorable things happen all the time.
For example, before I came to work for AO OEK, I got to take part in a very romantic event. A friend of mine had a falling out with his girlfriend and decided to make it up to her by surprising her. So, very early in the morning, before she woke up, we helped him repel down the wall to her window with a bunch of flowers. Naturally, we made sure both he and the passers-by below were perfectly safe.
What are some of your favourite places in Moscow? Do you have any favourite spots related to the job?
A view of Moscow from up high is really impressive: from the high rises in Moscow City and the book buildings on New Arbat to the history museum on Red Square. From up there, it's easy to see how Moscow is changing and growing. I like to watch it.
Name three places you'd recommend in Moscow. What are the must-see places for someone who's here for the first time?
First and foremost, of course, is Red Square. When I first saw it with my own eyes, I was blown away by the buildings and the architecture.
Bolotnaya Square isn't far from there. The first time I found myself there, it was in the evening and I was really impressed by Mikhail Shemyakin's Sculptures 'Children Are the Victims of Adult Vices'. But I think that was mainly because of the night lighting, because the sculptures don't really have the same effect in the daylight. I brought all my friends and relatives there. I highly recommend visiting this place when it's dark and the lighting is on.
I also really like Tsaritsyno. I remember how the palace looked before the renovation, and now that it's been restored, I think it's really beautiful. And of course, I like the park there and the surrounding nature.
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