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  #16  
Old 13 Jan 2009
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I was stopped by police for trafic offences 4 times in Russia in June/July 2008. Twice on one day and twice on another day.

1. Vladivostok to Khabarovsk. My fault I overtook a car coming in to town and saw the traffic policeman at the side of the road 100 metres ahed. He saw me and started to move out into the road so I immediately accelerated up behind the truck in front of me and sat a metre behind it. The policeman couldn't do anything until the truck had passed and when it did he immediately blew his whistle. I just kept riding but for the next 1/2 an hour I was expecting a police car to give chase.

2. Two hours later and I'm entering a town, police pulled me over and showed me the radar - 75km in city limits. They asked for money, I explained I couldn't speak Russian (it was my 3rd day in Russia) and they let me go.

3. A month later just before Elitsa (on the from Astrakhan to Pyatigorsk) the road takes a detour around the city centre and goes into a deep gorge. The road is straight, there is minimal traffic, vision is good and there was a truck in front of me. I prepared to cross the single white line to overtake. As I pulled out the truck driver waved at me to go back in, I figured I would soon be past him anyway so continued my overtaking manoeuvre. At the top of the hill, of course, sat Ilya and Yuri Plod, eager to throw the book at me (little did I realise that this road was a set up - quite safe to overtake and tempting for most drivers). They took my passport, licence and vehicle rego papers and offered to return them in exchange for Russian roubles. I was not going to play this game and instead I insisted they issue me a ticket which had to be paid by deposit at the nearest Sberbank (government bank). Now your average Russian just pays up as it is easier and cheaper to pay Mr Plod directly (which is exactly what Mr Plod wants as the cash goes into his own pocket). After 45 minutes of stalemate and Mr Plod getting increasingly frustrated, he uttered some loud words in Russian (probably to the effect that I was stupid), gave me back my documents and told me never to darken his doorstep again.

4. One hour later! This time I had been video-cameraed leaving the next town at 78kmh in what was still a 60kmh zone (the police had set up a camera 50 metres before the end of city limits marker in an unmarked Lada parked at the side of the road). I went through a repeat procedure only this time with the head of the traffic squad who took me into his office, locked the door, demanded 3 times as much as the previous Mr Plod and threatened to lock me up and confiscate the Burgie. I told him to either issue me a formal ticket or let me go - one hour later and I was on my way, muttering under my breath that I'd love to play poker with Russian police one day - I'd make a fortune! :-)

Garry from Oz.
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  #17  
Old 13 Jan 2009
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language

You’re probably right motoreiter... the way it’s written...
To clarify: If you just about mumble a few words or speak just a little of a foreign language, getting into an argument in it its getting into the discussion in their terms. Don’t try reasoning with a 250 word vocabulary, you are likely to lose the argument.
I also want to add that I hope the tips I posted are helpful to deprive crooked policemen from praying on innocent people and not to break the local laws just because there is not going to be any consequences.
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Last edited by Dodgydago; 13 Jan 2009 at 14:48. Reason: Co's I'm a dumbo and misspell everything!
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  #18  
Old 13 Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodgydago View Post
To clarify: If you just about mumble a few words or speak just a little of a foreign language, getting into an argument in it its getting into the discussion in their terms. Don’t try reasoning with a 250 word vocabulary, you are likely to lose the argument.
Agree with you there, although it would help if you speak just enough to get them laughing...
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  #19  
Old 3 Feb 2009
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Hi all
It's a shame about the hassles some people experienced.
I gotta say in all the time Colleen and I travelled across Russia last year; we never got hassled by anyone.
Never had to pay a fine or bribe.
Border crossings were a breeze once they saw we were Aussies.
Had a few coffees with some friendly cops and quite a few vodkas with some mafia types - show friendship and you get it in return with a great big Russian smile.

Can't praise the Russians enough - fabulous country and fantastic people.
Can't wait to get back there.
Mick and Colleen
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  #20  
Old 3 Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltharme View Post

Can't praise the Russians enough - fabulous country and fantastic people.
Can't wait to get back there.
I QUITE AGREE.
But the anomoly of this to the thread is well put in a quote from 'DG' in a local English language publication, "Russians are so quick to invite you into their homes for some tea, but into their country... well, thats another story."

That was in reference to the Visa/Registration regime but it applies to all officialdom including ÄÏÑ, Roads Police.
(Another stop/documents check today, despite driving our locally registered car!)
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  #21  
Old 29 Apr 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony P View Post
I QUITE AGREE.
But the anomoly of this to the thread is well put in a quote from 'DG' in a local English language publication, "Russians are so quick to invite you into their homes for some tea, but into their country... well, thats another story."

That was in reference to the Visa/Registration regime but it applies to all officialdom including ÄÏÑ, Roads Police.
(Another stop/documents check today, despite driving our locally registered car!)
Yes, Can you imagine so many English, New Zealandor Ozzies, inviting someone to their houses so readily?, Same In Africa true Moslem tradition, we would go to a tea house drink tea algeria Mali etc, the bill might be us$1 go to pay, no no!!! this man has paid for you as you area guest and they would point to an old man in the corner who would just smile, true hospitalitly
with Checkpoints Same tactic in Africa, stopped at checkpoint , In french "GIve ma a present" or problems, just wait, do not get annoyed and carmly make a cup of tea and the more they saw you did not care and could wait the less interested in you they are.
Heard of "breath tests" in Moscow where everybody turns it red, sober or not!!, one man said he had a cough mixture which had 14% alcohol and this is what caused it, they had to let him go, another tectic is to refuse aqnd demand a new mouthpeice (they may not have them!!) and one man got his childof 6 years age to blow in it, it turned red!!!, they were embrassed and let him go!!Usually want 1000 roubles or more
Usually once they know you are foreign,demand to see the top man and talk friendly and be prepared to wait they will let you go, easier pickings elsewhere!!!
Its just part of the territory and you must adapt to it, Year ago there was a move to sack all the traffic police in the UKraine because they were sooo bad!!!
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  #22  
Old 29 Apr 2009
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The roads in Russia (and Kazakhstan) are infested with rapacious traffic police, seeking to extort money from drivers. I was caught breaking the law 6 times (speeding or overtaking) and twice they just wanted to give me words of advice, but 4 times they wanted to bust me and couldn't because I couldn't speak Russian - HA!

Re the hospitality stories - I agree. Just been reading this quote about Algeria from someone I met in the UK -

Algeria

"When I was done for speeding, the policeman explained to me that this was a very serious offence and that the next time I would be locked up. A long pause, then - 'And now perhaps you would do me the honour of coming to my house for dinner'."

you couldn't make it up
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  #23  
Old 29 Apr 2009
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I too feel strongly that people who offer bribes too quickly are doing the rest of us a disservice. I am not however automatically criticising anyone who has bribed - I wasn't there, I can't say whether it was 100% necessary. One thing I didn't like about the book Investment Biker was that billionnaire Jim Rogers was forever pulling his wallet out while complaining about corruption. He found bribe situations everywhere he looked. It did not seem to occur to him that he was half the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony P View Post
Produce documents pointing at address, or point at registration plate, saying "Anglia"
Pause for it to sink in. Point again saying "London"
Pause for it to sink in. Point again saying "Chelsea"
Pause and await reply of "Ah! Abramovitch".
After hand shaking, go on your way.

(Often works, particularly away from Moscow)
Great story. And daft enough to be entirely plausible. I found to my surprise that the police and customs in Albania were universally charmed by the fact that I was riding around in an Albania t-shirt (red with a black two-headed eagle).

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltharme View Post
Border crossings were a breeze once they saw we were Aussies.
I'm intrigued. Why do you think that your particular nationality might have made such a difference?
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  #24  
Old 30 Apr 2009
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Re the quote by Tony P -
Produce documents pointing at address, or point at registration plate, saying "Anglia"
Pause for it to sink in. Point again saying "London"
Pause for it to sink in. Point again saying "Chelsea"
Pause and await reply of "Ah! Abramovitch".
After hand shaking, go on your way.


This is true! When I crossed from Russia to Kazahkstan, it was just a day or 2 after the Chelsea-Manchester match in Moscow. All the Russians reacted just as Tony says.....then as soon as I crossed the border to Kaz it abruptly changed. Something along the lines of
Produce documents pointing at address, or point at registration plate, saying "Anglia"
Pause for it to sink in. Point again saying "Manchester"
After hand shaking, go on your way.
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  #25  
Old 1 May 2009
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Russian police will always demand bribes, play their game, if you have 10 riders at the border and negotiating a bribe ... have 5 of your riders turn back and ride 10 miles as if they refuse.. and go home, then tell the "****er" if he wants to make money he can make $200 or BASTA, always have a native speaker with you who can say " **** off" in russian

all Russians appreciate a good swear !!!
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  #26  
Old 5 Jul 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rurider View Post
I'm sure, cops and customs are one of few factors that make people like or dislike country, but here, in Russia you mast forget about that! Here you mast remember - ACAB! You choosed the wrong route, road to Sochy is not the best way to see Russia, next time, please ask someone local for advice, in that region I can suggest you lots of interesting distinations.
Hi Rurider,

I'm heading from Ukraine through Russia to Kazakhstan and Central Asia next month. Any suggestions about route?

Thanks.
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  #27  
Old 5 Jul 2009
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Hı´travelled from Kerch ınto Russıa and through Russıa wıth no problems last week. there are lots of polıce and check poınts and we got stopped twıce but showed them our passports and we got waved on. Andy
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  #28  
Old 8 Jul 2009
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In my personal experience many Eastern European countries are just like that. The only ones I haven't had any border trouble with were Poland, Czech Republic (nice cops, too; got stopped several times and all they did was ask questions about our trip, wanted to see photos, etc.), Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia. The rest - Belarus, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Russia have been responsible for a serious amount of anger, despair, and attempted bribery on several levels at one point or another. Back in 2006 when trying to cross the Polish-Russian border coming from Gdansk going to Kaliningrad actually resulted in us turning around. Paperwork was fine, visas were valid but we strictly refused to pay the alleged 'admission fee' they were trying to charge us (100 Euros per person first, then all of a sudden we qualified for a 'rebate' and only had to pay 50 Euros per person.... yeah, right). After hours of playing the waiting game and endless negotiations we demanded our paperwork back and simply turned around, secretly giving them the finger. It's a shame, really, because I also have to agree with what has been said before: once we passed the border hassles we've met some of the nicest people in Eastern Europe you could possibly imagine.

As far as police check points and alleged traffic violations goes I was able to escape all attempts at bribery. In my experience the South American amigo-tactic works best: ask the first local you meet how to translate amigo and whenever cops stop you and demand a bribe just smile, pat their shoulder, and go "amigo...." in local tongue. Eventually they'll figure out you're not going to pay them and let you go. That obviously only works tho if you're 100% innocent and have not commited any crimes or traffic violations.
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  #29  
Old 13 Jul 2009
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Smile Russia 2008

Travelling from Murmansk (far North) down to Astrakhan by the Caspian then across into Ukraine, we had a lot of Police stops but didn't pay any bribes at all. You were asked for money and refused, stayed polite and relaxed. A letter of introduction in Cyrillic explaining our trip was useful. Getting your lunch out and looking like you were prepared to wait for ever seemed to work too. Hold out your hand to try for a hand shake. Too much smiling seems to make the Russians think you might be a bit crazy.
The ferry/customs police at the Kerch, delayed us trying to extract money, and in hind-sight it might have been sensible to pay the few bucks rather than wait another couple of hours in the hot sun.
Russian motor-cyclists were great
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  #30  
Old 13 Jul 2009
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I don't have as much Eastern European experience as many here (maybe a couple of months total), but I was stopped only once--in the Ukraine, and I was definitely speeding and they definitely caught me on radar. In that case, they let me go after an hour or so, and wouldn't even accept a bribe--not the money I hinted at, not even a chocolate bar. So I'm left wondering....what am I doing differently from other posters? Never a bit of trouble in Albania, Serbia, B&H, Bulgaria, Romania. Only minor issues at borders, all of them basically legit (if sometimes annoying). No bribes. No fines. No bogus stops.

Any ideas? Pure luck of the draw? A special karma which accrues only to KLR riders?

Mark
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