You live in a country for 12 years and you think you know a place! I mentioned that in my post about relevance. One thing I know about Russia, or any country for that matter, but especially Russia is that the bureaucracy is a monster.
I can tell many a story of waiting in lines for days to report a crime. No surprise that they didn’t run right out and catch the thief! The police spent most of their time arguing about which precinct should make the report…. that’s when they weren’t avoiding eye-contact with those in line to avoid doing any paperwork whatsoever!
There was also the time that my friend, Lena, and I spent about a week trying to pay my taxes. No one wanted to take my money! Oh, wait! That was EVERY YEAR! Eventually the tax office finally relented, took my taxes, and one year thanked me by dropping a brick from their building through my windshield. Yes, I do believe that the bureaucrats conspired with the bricks on the building to pull that one off. Or maybe the building is just old.
That same friend was trying to get some paperwork to get her American visa. She reached a dead end when she couldn’t get an important paper because she didn’t have a husband or children.
No categories for Americans paying taxes or single, adult women. Of course, we are still responsible for paying those taxes and getting those papers! ARGH!
None of that leaves me speechless. Quite the contrary. I can wax eloquent about the absurdity! The thing that leaves me speechless is that this time was different!
Any foreigner arriving in Russia for more than ___ number of days needs to register with the government (the number of days seems to vary quite often, but currently, it is 7). This time, I submitted documents, received documents and even paid via the internet! No waiting in lines. No meeting with ‘middle men’ who would process documents for me. No return trips to pick up the final documents! All of these steps are familiar to me. The fact that I didn’t have to leave my cell phone to do any of this….. well….. um……. I don’t know what to say!