A reader sent me this comment about foreign registration in Russia:
I realize that private registrations are the cheapest way to be in R BUT a traveler’s time is also money, especially when you are on a tight schedule. For between 125$ and 200$, you can get legal, convenient registration in less than 24 hrs through almost any travel agency. Who cares if it says that you are at the hotel Ukraine? I can testify that it will work against any Moscow cop seeking a bribe at 2pm or hunting drunks at 2am, trust me. This is a simple tourist registration and for a few more $, you can get a ‘business’ visa by the same means. It is more flexible.
On my first trip to R, I had an absolute nightmare experience with a private registration. My friend spent a lot of time and energy to get me the visa and then I had to spend 10 days trying to register it, 10 days without papers on a 65 day trip. 6 days in half a dozen Moscow police stations, all day long. Finally, my buddy got the chief of OVIR for all Moscow (a fucking colonel) to write a letter ordering the local station to register my visa. He was actually pretty understanding of the idiocy of the regs. I quote him: “These people working for me do not understand OUR rules and they never will” Imagine that! They would not even take a bribe to do it. What an education in Soviet-Russian bureaucratic ways!!
You Might also like
By Sean — 12 years ago
The more information that comes out about the Sychyov Case, the more disgusting it becomes. As I wrote the other day, almost all of the prosecution witnesses have recanted their testimony and Sychyov’s mother and sister are claiming that officials from the Defense Ministry has tried to bribe them into submission.
In an opinion piece in the Moscow Times, Alexandr Gol’ts, who is also the editor of ????????? ?????? and writes for several Russian language and English media, provides more information about how unknown officials from the Defense Ministry have intimidated witnesses. During the investigation phase of the trial, the presiding judge moved one of the witnesses to a unit under the command of Alexander Anupriev. Shortly before the trial began, one of the witnesses began recanting his story after meeting with an unknown general. Gol’ts provides a snippet of the exchange between the judge and Anupriev as the former tried to ascertain the general’s identity:
“Did a car come?”
“What kind of car?”
“What kind of license plate?”
Someone wake up Kafka. He’s missing an example of bureaucratic evasion par excellence. Nothing obscures more than one word answers. According to Gol’ts, “Anupriev couldn’t remember the visitor’s rank or name even though the visitor’s confidential talks with the soldiers had taken place in his own office. There was no paper trail. The visitor’s documents were not checked at the gate, supposedly because he arrived in a car with military plates.” It is clear from Anupriev’s testimony, of I should say lack thereof, that the general also gave him a talking to too. And one seriously doubts that he will sacrifice himself for justice for Sychyov and other victims of dedovshchina.
But government intimidation and cover-up wouldn’t be complete without some stage performance. After Anupriev left the stand, the military trotted out its own hazing “victims,” who obsequiously explained their beatings as “for good reasons and not very hard.” So I guess we are also supposed to conclude that the amputation of Sychyov’s legs and genitals was for “good reasons” too. Gol’ts goes on to provide more examples of military interference and malfeasance. These include the aforementioned bribing of Sychyov’s mother, claims by military doctors that there was no evidence that he was beaten or that his injuries were a result of a “congenital blood disorder.” To add insult to injury and clearly revealing where the military brass’ interests lie, Sergeant Alexander Sivyakov, who is on trial for the incident, was immediately provided a team of defense lawyers. His lawyers are basing their defense on claims that Sychyov’s injuries were from improper treatment in a civilian hospital. Next thing we’ll probably hear is that Sychyov really ran into a wall or fell down some stairs.
Some claim that dedovshchina can be solved by eliminating the conscript army, improving the conditions and pay for military personnel, and strictly enforcing rules and harsh punishments to offenders. There is a lot of support that these measures would work. While hazing in the Russian military has Soviet roots (though I wouldn’t doubt that it extends to the Tsarist period, but I don’t have any concrete evidence), it is clear that incidents have substantially increased since 1991. The economic and psychological shock stemming from the collapse of the USSR, the weakness of Russia in the 1990s, and the brutality of the Chechen War has had profound effects on the conditions and morale within the military. Conditions are undoubtedly ripe for such a violent military culture.
But with all this intransigence, it seems that policies that improving life in the military, though absolutely necessary, wouldn’t change the culture in which dedovshchina exists. The problem is that like in many male centered cultural spaces and institutions, hazing is seen as integral for building unity between men. Boys are transformed into men. Those who can take the abuse are not only accepted into the fold of the worthy, they are also given the right to dole it out to their subordinates. The prospects of payback regenerates the process. In addition, the fact that there exists a whole set of terms that indicate a conscripts place within the rank and file hierarchy—dedy (grandfathers), dukhi (ghosts)—and the rituals they are expected to make to senior conscripts, suggests that dedovshchina is more than a material problem. It is also a cultural one.
And with all of that and the politics behind it, Gol’ts concludes that the message to the public is clear:
Don’t you dare fight for soldiers’ rights. No matter what you do, you’ll never be able to prove anything. That’s why Sychyov’s mother was offered money, why the witnesses are being intimidated, and why officers are made to behave like idiots.
And people wonder why many Russians fight tooth and nail to get their sons out of military service. In many ways it’s like a prison or worse a death sentence.Post Views: 282
By Sean — 11 years ago
Talk about a script writing itself! Sony and Warner Bros. who are both developing films about the Alexander Litvinenko murder might just get their third act after all. Johnny Depp won’t need to look too deep to get inspiration for his role as Sasha the Spy. The shooting, ahem . . . carjacking, or is it mugging, no wait, shooting of Paul Joyal has revived a case that by all appearances seemed all but closed. Last week, Paul JoyalLitvinenko acquaintance, security expert and “a longtime critic of the Putin regime,” was shot in his DC suburban neighborhood shortly after he uttered these words on Dateline NBC: “A message has been communicated to anyone who wants to speak out against the Kremlin: ‘If you do, no matter who you are, where you are, we will find you and we will silence you — in the most horrible way possible.’” Talk about prescience!
Of course speculation immediately turned to the Kremlin, whose fabled long reach is not just about ice picks and radioactive substances anymore. However, that assumption was quickly questioned when police told the Washington Post that “Joyal was driving a Chrysler 300, a vehicle sought by carjackers, suggesting that the assailants might have followed Joyal home rather than waited there to attack him. Police have described the suspects as two black males.” The police officers claimed that Joyal was robbed of his wallet and briefcase.
Hey, I’ve seen that episode of the Sopranos! You know the one from the first season where Uncle June learns that Tony is going to a shrink and moves to whack him. He also hires “two black males” to make Tony’s murder seem like a “carjacking.” And I thought this all sounded too Hollywood before! Can we expect Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin™ to get writing credit?
But now Joyal’s wife claims that her husband was neither robbed nor carjacked. Though, “She did not say what happened to the items or how she knew they were not taken.” Okay . . . Well, at least it appears that Joyal is in good condition from the bullet in his belly. We can expect his version of events any day now. I suspect that Berezovsky’s public relations people are on a plane right now to coach Joyal into giving us the necessary hyperbolic twists this unfolding script needs.Post Views: 200
By Sean — 11 years ago
Questions about Russia’s new law “On the Migration Registration of Forgein Citizens and Persons without Citizenship in the Russian Federation” continue after almost a month after its introduction on January 15. The Moscow Times has an editorial and an article addressing some of the hopes, worries, and problems with the law. Unsurprisingly, the main complaint is that migration officials don’t have a clue what to enforce, when to enforce it, and how to enforce it. We can only hope that Vyacheslav Postavnin, Deputy Director of the Migration Service, will keep his word and that all this mess will be sorted out “shortly.” As the Times states, hopefully one day Russia will dump domestic registration altogether.
Only time will tell.
In the meantime, I point you to the articles in the Moscow Times:
Any law designed to simplify the country’s unwieldy registration process for foreigners should be welcome news. But something is wrong when no one — including law enforcement officials — seems to understand a law more than three weeks after it comes into force.
At issue are new rules to introduce a “one-window” process allowing foreigners to register their place of residence much more easily. The inviting party — the foreigner’s employer, landlord, hotel or other host — can simply take the necessary information to the local migration or post office and receive the necessary documentation. It sounds simple enough.
But the rules, outlined in a Jan. 15 law, are steeped in vagaries. Local and federal migration officials are contradicting one another in explaining the rules. Lawyers who specialize in labor issues are scratching their heads, and at least one hotel in St. Petersburg has stopped admitting foreigners altogether for fear of being slapped with a hefty fine.
Foreigners registered in Moscow must inform migration officials of their whereabouts if they take a trip to another Russian city that lasts more than 10 days, a senior Federal Migration Service official said Thursday.
The change comes under a new law that also requires foreigners to alert migration authorities every time they enter or leave the country. The rules are sowing confusion in the foreign community, and Vyacheslav Postavnin, deputy head of the Federal Migration Service, tried to clarify them to a bewildered group of businesspeople Thursday.
A foreigner must hand over his registration papers to migration officials if he travels to St. Petersburg, for example, and stays there for more than 10 days, Postavnin told a briefing organized by the American Chamber of Commerce.
The foreigner’s “inviting party” — an employer, landlord, hotel or other Russian host — must then register him with local migration officials and deregister him after he leaves for Moscow, he said.
“If he says in a hotel, then it will all be done automatically for him,” Postavnin said. “He won’t experience any problems.”
Back in Moscow, the foreigner must re-register within three days of his return, he said.
The Jan. 15 law — which requires foreigners to hand over their registration papers via their inviting party — has been touted by migration officials as a simplification of the registration process. The inviting party is merely required to submit information about the foreigner’s passport, visa and migration card to the local branch of the migration service or send it by registered mail.Post Views: 260