Russia's foreign ministry has told its citizens how to behave abroad, and it's utterly bizarre

Jessica Brown@Jessica_E_Brown
Friday 24 March 2017 10:00
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Picture:(ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia’s foreign ministry has appeared to have published a document listing recommendations for its citizens when travelling abroad.

And it’s a bit strange.

Its advice in any country includes:

  • Do not abuse alcohol (so whoever wrote this obviously hasn’t been to the UK before)
  • When speaking to people, “observe a minimum distance of 50-60 cm”
  • Do not take pictures of infrastructure, such as railway stations, air and sea ports

In its advice for visiting the UK, it states to not do the following:

  • Raising the eyebrows as it is "perceived as an expression of skepticism"
  • It also says: "A gesture of “rotation of a finger to his temple” (a proposal to decide for himself - as opposed to the meaning of this gesture in other countries)"

In Denmark:

When dealing with the Danes, the guidance states, it is "recommended to keep your distance, avoid questions of a personal nature, the level of income, employment and religion. Also, do not touch on the theme of racial and ethnic origin, sexual orientation".

In Canada:

Canada, it states, “has long legalised same-sex marriage and there is a serious "fixation" on gender equality”.

And it advises:

Refrain from showing emotions when dealing with the opposite sex in order to avoid accusations of attempts of sexual harassment

And don’t compare Canada with the US, as you might insult people.

In Mongolia:

Try, if you can, to avoid criticising the local lifestyle, the guidance advises, and avoid disrespecting the customs and traditions.

In the Netherlands:

Don’t ask about the Dutch royal family, or insult them. Don’t be anti-Semitic, and don’t compare the Dutch with Germans.

In Austria:

Try not to insult people based on their sexual orientation, the guidance helpfully offers, or their gender, religion or ethnicity. Words to live by.

In Spain:

“To avoid embarrassing situations when dealing with Spaniards,” it states, “keep in mind their likes and dislikes to one or another of the local football club.”

And in Norway:

Particular attention is important to the strict legal prohibition of all forms of violence against children, including spanking, cuffs, increasing voice and so forth. Such actions may provoke the complaints of citizens to the guardianship and the police with all the consequences.

The website where the guide resides is kdmid.ru, which identifies itself as being part of the Consular Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry. The site itself can be found immediately in Google and also features Visa application options for visiting Russia.

indy100 has contacted the Russian embassy in London enquiring as to the authenticity of both kdmid.ru and the page of travel advice. This page will be updated when we receive a response.

As with anything found on the internet, a hefty pinch of salt and common sense is always recommended.

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