Justice - The Russian Stylewalking on the Red Square on 8th of February.
Incident with Romy and "Officer X" on Red Square
We had just passed the Resurrection Gates and entered Red Square from the North when we were stopped by two young policemen who asked for our papers. Living in Moscow, where from Soviet times there was always a strict policy towards visitors, I am used to this procedure, but honestly still don't like the process because you don't know how it could all end. . Unfortunately, a lot of Russian cops try not only to "Protect And Serve" but to find any petty irregularity and then give you a "hint" how this "situation" can be solved fast. Because nobody wants to be detained and then escorted to a police department where for the next 3 hours you have to make report and pay fines, the cops know that you will "pay" once they give you the "hint" how much and how to hand over.
After they checked my papers, I was sure there would be no problem with Romy's papers because I helped her to check in at the Hotel Ukraine and saw her leave her passport at Reception for registration. But you cannot believe how I was surprised when she could not find the registration form which is usually enclosed in a passport. During the conversation with Moscow's finest (see below) it turned out, that when Romy picked up her passport 1 hour after checking into the hotel, Reception forgot to inform her that she could pick up the registration form BUT the next morning. We conversed with these "Guardians of Order" for about half an hour. I phoned the manager of Hotel Ukraine who confirmed that my client has registration but "forgot" to take this form in reception. I insisted they release us because we are right (good) persons and it was not my client's first time in Russia and she was very busy with her business meetings. But in response the Moscow's Finest insisted again about the laws and that even if her registration had been made and existed, the problem was that it didn't exist at that very moment with her papers. . In spite of the fact, that the cops mentioned, that they could call a police car to drive us to their office and could detain us for 3 hours, they actually were not in a hurry to do it. After a half hour of "warm" conversation outdoors in the cold (about -14 C), they finally gave us the "hint" how we could solve this situation. It cost Romy 1000 rubles (about $35). When I asked if they could give us any paper in case we were stopped again, one of the cops said that it was possible but unlikely and if it happened to have the next cop radio and ask for "Officer X".
Before this incident, Romy tried to prove to her friends and co-workers in Germany that the problem with corruption here is not as big as they say in the West, but now she told me that she can not protect Russia anymore. Here her expession after this incident: "A thousand rubles is better than being detained within three hours".
Important Conclusions & Recommendations
- Don't forget to pick up your registration in reception (if you are staying in a hotel) the day after your arrival;
- When you go out, don't forget to check that you have your passport and registration card with you. Have it stamped by the Authorities 3 working days after your arrival. From my experience, many people from Europe or America are not used to carrying their passports and consider these laws a little bit weird.
- If you are stopped by the police and asked to show your papers, be calm and friendly - you have a very good chance to solve this problem right on the spot.
- Have a guide who can advise you about important laws in advance and if a problem with the police happened by some circumstances he could be able to help you to solve it in reasonable way communicating with the police in their native language.
Note: Please, don't forget to read useful information about new registration laws in Moscow which came into force from January 15th, 2007.
With BEST Regards,
Your Personal Guide &l Driver in Moscow
About Me in Short
My name's Arthur Lookyanov, I'm a private tour guide, personal driver and photographer in Moscow, Russia. I work in my business and run my website Moscow-Driver.com from 2002. Read more about me and my services, check out testimonials of my former business and travel clients from all over the World, hit me up on Twitter or other social websites. I hope that you will like my photos as well.
See you in Moscow!