I would like to believe that the recent improvement in police conduct is a welcome feeling to tourist and people who makes short business trips to Russia.
I always travel to Khabarovsk, Nakhodka, Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Ulan Ude, Chita, Krasnoyarsk, Abakan, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Omsk, and many other beautiful cities on purchasing purposes.
Our Group does a sizeable amount of procurement in Russian annually.
My worst experience were encountered in Abakan, Chita, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Novosibirsk and I practically need to hold my passport in my hand as I am subjected to checks by uniformed and ununiformed policemen alike almost every 100 metre between taxi alighting point to my train.
Once in Irkutsk Central Market with a friend, I was weighed down with foodstuff which obviously was visible but I was subjected to passport check.
Is this the norm? Moreover, they asked for all sorts of paperwork although I possess a valid passport inclusive of Russian Visa with OVIR endorsement.
I was hassled when OVIR endorsed in a reverse manner - how would I know or could I have told their own colleagues they did something not proper.
In Krasnoyarsk, I was checked by a uniformed policeman on a date with his girlfriend. Is this proper code of conduct for uniformed policemen?.
I've been hitted and slapped for being asleep during routine police checks on board trains.
In our country, we've learned to respect policemen but I cannot under above circumstances as we are tax paying and law abiding people who deserve some courtesy and respect.
During check-in for my flight from Irkutsk to Chita, I was told to wait while other Russians were being processed although I possess a valid airline ticket for that particular flight and was ahead in the queue.
At Irkutsk Airport, after queueing for almost forty minutes when I was second in line, I was told to vacate my position. When I protests like any law abiding citizen, my passport was taken away and only allowed to pass through immigration after everyone else were cleared.
Is this a proper manner to treat tourists to your country?
Why would many Russian civil servants not accept and respect the simple fact that not all Orientals are Chinese and pass remarks that we all looked the same.
Without prejudice, I once asked some friends of mine how was their trip to Lake Baikal which we all heard so much about and yearn to enjoy the beauty and serenity of nature's wonder, the feedback I received from all of them were that it was their first and last trip to Russia after being subjected to three and a half hours of queue at Customs formalities and Immigration.
Does Russia encourage tourists into this beautiful country? I would think all countries welcome and attach some degree of importance to the tourist industry for the amount of revenue it contributes to Government coffers not to mention the employment it generates.
Who has the authority to check passports? I've travelled the world from less developed to highly developed countries but ONLY IN RUSSIA have I been subjected to such checks and treatment.
All law abiding tourists to our country including Russians are welcome to our country and never subject to such harrassment.
We do not require Entry Visas from Russians visiting Malaysia. This is not reciprocated.
We just ask to be treated in the same respectful manner.
With best regards,