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Don't expect any help from our man, or woman, in Moscow

The Moscow Times has an item about the fairly stiff penalties that the Russian authorities inflict for taking medals and the like out of the country:

"...medals granted for personal merits should not be sold, because the state has the sole right to hand them out. "They must not be traded or taken out of the country. Even if found in a roadside ditch, they must be returned [to the original owner or to the state]"... The wrongful acquisition of state awards can result in a fine of up to 80,000 roubles ($3,100), while smuggling carries a potential prison sentence of up to seven years".

So, should one be tempted to 'become' a Hero of the Soviet Union, resist the temptation. The Russians argue that ignorance of the law is no defence, with that a standard piece of jurisprudence the world over, but it is the boneheaded complacency of the heroically anonymous bod at the British Embassy - which publishes no warnings about this law - that takes not just the biscuit, but the packet, the shelf in the supermarket and quite possibly the wheat field:

"Of course, travellers should be aware of the laws wherever and whenever they go".

So that's all right then.

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Anonymous Anonymous said... 12:50 pm

You are being a little hard on the British Embassy - the Russians have all sorts of export exclusions e.g. works of arts, caviar, printed material older than 1945(?). In fact there is a state agency where you can take items for export clearance - I once was told to do this for a mechanical calculating machine (c1970) and possibly the worst painting you have ever seen (given by a relative).

You have to remember that Russian law (even dating back to pre Soviet times)is generally written for the benefit of the bureaucracy and the starting position is that you will almost certainly be in breach of it if the bureaucrat wants you to be in that position.  



Anonymous d. spencer said... 4:05 pm

I've often wondered - what do diplomats do all day long? Seems unlikely M. l'Ambassadeur has to visit the Foreign Min. every day to avoid a war. As for his deputies....?  



Blogger Croydonian said... 4:11 pm

Apart from dishing out the Ferrero Rochers?  



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