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Dodgy dealings in Red Square

We got up at 6.30 this morning for a photo-shoot in Red Square for the Moscow Times (read the story here) – which went very well, apart from me having to pay a “fine” to a militia guy with 500 Roubles (kindly negotiated on our behalf by Martin, the photographer) to persuade him to give Phil his passport back -all for using a tripod to do a panorama of the square!

Red Square corruption

If you’re reading this, my Russian friend, I hope you like this photo of you with Phil.

A dodgy encounter with a dodgy official – we come very close to our first yellow card.

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Written by on Thursday, April 11th, 2002

9 comments on this post

  1. Caught in the act! I take it he didn’t see you take the picture!

  2. 500 roubles, what’s that, about 10 and sixpence?

    Seems fair enough to me, fella’s got to make a living after all.

  3. Ok, ok, it’s only about 12 quid. But as for making a living… is that what you call ‘living’? Can’t say I do… ‘parasite’ is more the word I was thinking of.

    The previous time we tried to film with the ball in Red Square, another militia guy (or possibly the same one, since I guess it’s his patch) came up to us and tried a similar trick. He asked us for our Moscow registration stamps, which I have on good authority don’t exist. He claimed that if we stayed more than three days in Moscow we needed a special stamp on our visas. We managed to ply our passports out of his hands by involving him in our football story, and he went away.

    So this time the militiaman tried the same thing, and I said to him that we had only been in Moscow for two days, which seemed sufficient to thwart that particular blag. It was only when Phil used the tripod that he saw his chance to impose what I can only assume to be his entirely spurious story about the tripod.

    Having just written this, I remembered that the Greenwich Meridian folk also disallow tripods, but I thought they had a better case, inasmuch as it is a pretty tight space there, and if there were a hundred tourists all with their tripods, no-one would be able to move. Red Square on the other hand is huge. You could fit an army in there – some folk once did, as I recall.

    Anyway, reasonable or not, I hate corruption in all its forms.

    Unless you want to bung me a tenner, that is :-P

  4. Well I still reckon it’s fair game – I’ve spent half me life clipping tourists up the West End and some of them even thank me for it, let me tell ya!

  5. Thanks Scrapper – I’ll be expecting my tenner by internet transfer asap then…

  6. Excuz me Scrapper but do you have authorisation to use this web page? Can I see your papers pliz.

  7. Fellas, sorry about your bad experience at the Red Square. The Russian cops are notorious for their extortions, and that’s one of the many soviet legacies that, unfortunately, still exist in our country.

  8. Zank you for the roubles comrade. I have spent zem on some vodka and I will drink it while cheering Brazil tomorrow!

  9. ivan horribbull November 4, 2003 at 6:52 pm

    vonce again comrads zank you for ze roubles its been two yers now and i az finally spent zem.i shall now be looking for zum unsuspecting boyoz from ze vales next veek for my next yers vages…zank you in advance…no cameras pleeeze!!

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