Submitted by Adham Devenny on 22 May 2015 - 1:20pm
I hadn’t taken my month long trip to Russia very seriously until I found my way into the Russian Visa Centre on Gee Street, London. At first I was going on a trip to meet my girlfriend’s family, who will most certainly like me. Now I am going on a trip to the ‘Mafia State’.
It was only when I was sat wearing a flowery shirt and a pair of espadrilles between two broad shouldered Russian men that I thought; I should have worn my Vladimir Putin top because I might as well have been waving an LGBT flag and playing songs by Russian activist band, Pussy Riot, through a boom box.
This apprehension did not surpass. As I handed in my documents, the demeanour of Russian lady at the desk was cold. The sort of cold that you expect from a mother-in-law that wants you to fill in a document detailing your life along with finger prints before you are allowed you to step foot in her home.
If the recent bill passed by the Kremlin banning ‘undesirable’ international organisations didn’t tell me that Mr Putin doesn’t want me in his country, then the fact that a tourist visa costs £150 really should have been an obvious sign.
And quite frankly I don’t want to be going to Russia. This is a country where people exercising freedom of speech are shot outside the Kremlin, where people are sent to prison for twerking, and where chocolate is made from cow’s blood! How can I feel safe in a country like that? If the American film industry can be trusted, I’m not going to last a day in Russian prison!
Then there is the knowledge that according to an SIS memo leaked to The Times, there are more Russian spies in London than there were during the cold war. I’m no James Bond, but being a British citizen in the middle of Moscow is like being a lamb amongst wolves.
Fortunately I’m going to be travelling to some pleasant rural areas of Russia. So as long as the Federal Intelligence Service is not reading this, I should be fine.