Jollies in Russia


Kit Reviewer
Me and the missus want to do a short twin break in St Petersburg and Helsinki over Christmas. Obviously the latter isn't a problem unless I suddenly become the British National Ice Hockey team coach and the Finnish SUPO want to find out the line out calls or something, but the former most certainly is. Now ideally I don't want to cause any hastle forcing two of Her Majesty's finest Intelligence Corps chappies to interview me at length twice (Before and after) telling me how to avoid the swarms of FSB, in ill fitting suits and shiny leather jackets, coming up to me and saying "Are you Grey Squirrel" and "What does this Angliski "Turn at the Halt One Two Three, One" mean"?

Basically I need to know whether its all too much hastle and I should bin the Russian bit altogether. Oh and bearing in mind the fiance is coming too this Honey Trap is pretty unlikely.
no, it's not too much hassle. i regularly brief and debrief visitors to china. i wouldn't let a necessary formality get in the way of where you want to holiday. as long as you don't do anything stupid, it's really no biggy.
My Mrs and I went to Moscow and then on the Trans-Siberian Express, arriving in Vladivostok. She's RN, I (at the time) was Army.

Int Corps were interested pre- and post- but the conversation was informal. I'm sure that the Sy guys are more than capable of making it unpleasant if they smell a rat but the advice that we got (separately) from our colleagues was:

- keep yours heads down
- don't do anything to attract attention to yourself
- have a good holiday, and bring us back a bottle of Vodka


Kit Reviewer
Thanks for the info guys. I wasn't going to cut around St Petersburg in my Dangerous Brian Hat and Regimental T-shirt. And as I said, with the affianced in tow, the FSB are going to have a hard time luring me into a Honey Trap. Sounds like its no drama so I'll put in the request.


Kit Reviewer
Ruckerwocman said:
Enjoy your hols. We'll be here when you get back. ;) :p

"You're welcome"

Funnily enough I watched that a week ago. Probably where I got the idea (that and the fact that with 76 countries visited I'm running out of places to go within 3 hours flying of London) although I will be avoiding the sauna at the start of the film.
Whatever the length of time that you are advised it would take to obtain a Russian visa, double it, and just to be on the safe side, double it again!

This advice is given after my experiences 1990 to 1996. The Russian Consulate may now operate a little more efficiently - although I can see no reason why it should. :(

When (as a civilian), I was "invited-in" to discuss my numerous visits to Moscow, Minsk, Kiev, Nizhniy Novgorod, Kaliningrad, et al, the interview was conducted over a bottle of wine and platter of sandwiches. Not what I would call particularly arduous !!
Visa - if you're prepared to pay the 'daily' rate you can get a visa within hours - has to be cash though and get there early before the queue starts to form. If the queue has reached the bus stop - no chance. Beware also of travel agent's runners with multiple applications. Good luck

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