Travel vlogger Bald and Bankrupt claims he was kicked out of Russia
A British travel blogger whose unvarnished videos of Russia captivated millions on YouTube says he has been kicked out of the country - and abruptly ended his video series.
Benjamin Rich, who runs the Bald and Bankrupt channel, hadn't posted a video for four weeks - then, four days ago, announced that he had been "thrown in a Russian prison" before being found guilty of unspecified charges.
What were those charges? Well, a video shared on YouTube by several other channels appears to show him being interrogated by unseen Russian officials, who quiz him on why he called Putin "crazy", why he posted a link to fundraise for Ukraine, and whether he was instructed on how to portray the conflict by YouTube itself.
In Rich's most recent video, he says: "Since I was a teenager I’ve dreamt of crossing Russia from the baltic sea to the pacific ocean. Well it's taken me somewhat longer than I ever expected but today we'll begin the final leg of this journey.
"I’ll tell you the crazy story of what just happened to me when I was heading to the railway station I was approached on the stream by a Russian female police officer, called Katerina. I know she's watching. She said Benjamin would you mind accompanying me to the police station you want to clear up a few things.
"I was like yeah what choice have I got? Let's go. I was thrown in a Russian prison for a few days and then sent to court to defend myself against the charge where I was found guilty.
"The punishment one of the punishments is I'm being kicked out of Russia with immediate effect banned from coming back."
The latest drama comes just months after he had a run-in with Russian law-enforcement officials.
Back in May, he was detained at a Russian-controlled space centre in Kazakhstan, according to the head of the Russian space agency.
The blogger said he was later released by authorities and given a fine.
He seemed frustrated by the most recent incident - after years of showing off his passion for Russia, he's been banished from the nation, effectively ending his series on the complex nation.
"Well, as we wait for our taxi to come it just reminds me once again that there is no country in the world that likes to shoot itself in its own foot like Russia. The one person, the one person online that had the bollocks to stand up and represent Russia in a good light and to show how great it is and it's people and the government bans me. It’s unreal.
"I didn't realize this would be the last video, I didn't know I’d be thrown in a bloody prison and kicked out the country so i don't have a big speech planned i should say something wise and emotional but i don't know i'm not very good at that."
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