Do you have any specialized skills, training or experience related to firearms and explosives, or to nuclear, biological or chemical activities? If <Yes>, please explain.
~ Question # 32 on the visa application for US Citizens to the Russian Federation.
Here is another holiday, Like Day of the HR Managers, where I do not see us breaking out the Veuve Cliquot and the cobalt blue champagne flutes with the Imperial Seal. Today is Workers of the Federal Migration Service Day. See, I can’t even work up enthusiasm for my customary exclamation mark.
This is the crowd, as I have written before, who are making us run around Moscow trying to find a certified Latin- Russian translator, so we can have our college diplomas translated and apostiled, and have us combing the post-Armageddon landscape of southern Moscow to find the one rump-sprung clinic that is still testing for leprosy. These are the clowns who change the rules about where and how to register your visa (once you actually get one and successfully enter the country) every single solitary time. And, I have to assume that these are the Sadists who came up with that PDF version of the visa application, which is quite simply impossible to fill out on the computer. Go ahead, try to do it…click here and try and fill in one line without having to move your mouse and click on every single box. See?
These people drive me to drink...and I can crawl there on my own, thank you very much.
People are always offering me back doors to Russian citizenship, and I just decline politely on behalf of myself and Velvet. For one thing, Russia doesn’t have a dual citizenship agreement with America, or a number of other desirable first world locales like the EU...and all those Russians who think they are so clever (a number of HRH’s female relatives fall in to this category) in keeping their red passports once they get the new blue or burgundy ones should, I believe, be made to choose one and not the other, in tense circumstances by someone as unpleasant as Officer Noble, after a 26-hour flight. Citizenship, Comrades, is not a travel document. You can’t have a propiska (a residency permit) in a Moscow apartment, and vote for Barack Obama. One or the other. Not both. Apart from anything else, you are depriving the poor Workers of the Federal Migration Service income, and driving the price of a one-year, multi-entry visa (for which you could get an entire new outfit at Eileen Fisher) for the rest of us!
The Federal Migration Workers are in charge of surveillance of labor migration, which is everyone from the Head of Proctor & Gamble in Russia to the Tadzhik street sweepers, and I always smile at the Tadzhiks and say “Good Day” politely since I feel we are essentially in the same boat. It seems the Russians also think so, because the Moscow Times had a hysterical report on Friday about a little volume being created by Moscow City Hall. This quite over-shadowed the other news of the day which I must just mention: about the 65 meter penis painted on the underside of one of Saint Petersburg’s drawbridges on the eve of the Petersburg Economic Forum. When raised, the drawbridge faced the Saint Petersburg HQ of the FSB, and that, to me, is genius on a scale you rarely see these days.
But to get back to the other story: it seems the authorities at City Hall are coming up with an etiquette book for foreign workers visiting the capital. This is A Bit Much, if you ask me, from a crowd who clear their nostrils of phlegm by pinching one side and blowing out the contents of the other. Like on the main street, in broad daylight.
Is this woman getting ready to slaughter a lamb?
Is this man wearing his national costume on Tverskaya Street?
The latter-day Emily Posts at City Hall, if you ask me (and no one ever ever does) could spend a little more time on re-working traffic patterns to ease the gridlock than telling me how to behave, but there they are, putting out this silly thing and issuing press releases about it all over the place. The volume gets specific about some taboo behavior including wearing one’s national costume in public, which rules out jeans I guess, and LL Bean boots, as well as my North Face parka. We are also supposed to refrain from slaughtering sheep in the courtyard, which wasn’t high up on my to-do list, but then my blood ran cold when I saw that we were also forbidden to barbecue on our balconies.
Congratulations to all of the Workers of the Federal Migration Service.
This post is part of The Stunt
Photos by the author. All Rights Reserved
Have you ever applied for a visa to Russia? Did you have to be medicated after you completed the application? Did you try that PDF, and if so, do you agree it was created by a modern day Torquemada? Do you know why I am so concerned about the barbecue rule??? (HINT: you’ll find the answer in one of the posts listed below!) Leave me a message of support below, or stick around and enjoy a few more posts like this one.