26 March 2009

Wrap-Up and a recent encounter with Ukrainian State

Unfortunately the ever rising business load, painful aerospace delays and non-virtual socializing habits have deterred me from posting; but let me summarize what has happened since I have last posted something on this blog. 

After almost 2 years, I have been asked for documents and eventually taken to a police station in a post-soviet country. Actually, I am frequently asked for documents because of my "Southern Caucasus" looks but this time I have forgotten to take my passport with me (which can make you eligible for summary execution inversely proportional to the amount of money in your wallet). I have been giving solid advices to travellers and fellow invaders about the importance of carrying a passport preferrably with a neat amount of money for "donation to the police force" but there is always an error in human factors (or this is what we have been taught in university). 

So I have taken the liberty of this error to go out on a friday night in Kiev with my colleague for a dinner without a passport or any identity document that is acceptable in soviet standards. On our way back, a bunch of crack police toorps crammed in a semi-armored troop carrier stationed on a pavement on Kreschatyk Street (the very center of Kiev) hurled out fully armed and asked for our documents while showing a fake salute. My colleague with his more European looks, asking "What's going on here?" and a passport in his hand was not a good prey for these underpaid securty personnel but I with Southern Caucasian looks (aka Black Hair), accented Russian and no passport, was a perfect candidate. Implying that we were coming back from a dinner (on Kreschatyk) was also a clear indication that we had some spare money for a "donation". Every sensible attempt to make them understand that I had a legitimate passport with a year-long business visa and the document in question laid in our apartment just a block away was no cure for their unquenched desire for hosting me in a nearby police station to show me about the unsurpassed quality of Ukrainian security system.

Eventually, my colleague was dismissed and ran to the flat to fetch the documents but I was already tucked in the troop carrier with almost half of the Kievan police (militsiya) at 2am, driving to the station surprisingly just a block away in a familiar direction (actually making it adjacent to our apartment). I was ordered out and treated somehow like a normal citizen would be in a normal civilized country (I admit that I was not expecting a Guantanamo though). As they understood that I am not an Armenian immigrant-cum-trader that is looking for some drug-addict Ukrainian teenage girl to force to prostitution in a far away European country, one of them asked me what we have been eating and drinking that night and even tried to smell my breath to check the amount of vodka I have consumed (I didn't drink that day and if i did, vodka would not be my choice). His colleagues jokingly agreed that I had downed a half-bottle (palu-butilichki) vodka with the testing guy's facial expression when he came near my face (I guess it was rather my new Armani perfume, which also keeps Ukrainian girls away from me). The one who seemed like a sergeant or an officer was busy scribbling on a brownish dirty piece of paper (which had the same texture as an american toilet paper) was asking my name, what it meant in Turkish, my sexual orientation and how many girlfriends I have in Kiev, wrote down these essential details in his makeshift report and handed out to me to sign just as my colleague entered the station with my passport with him. I tried to read the handed report (consisting of a hieroglyphic ukrainian handwriting stating that "I have forgotten my passport at home, went out and committed a shameful crime. I am sorry deeply and will not do that again". 

I signed with a fake signature and gathered the contents of my wallet which had been a funny material for the rest of the crew for some time (they enjoyed my driving licence and tried to read the latin scripts or making funny noises while trying). As we walked away to the exit, the sergeant yelled " Hey Turk, you have been dining today, drinking today. What about us? Why don't we dine and drink too?" which can be translated as "Hey filthy Turk! Give us some money so that we can but cheap vodka (industrial defreezing agent) and salo (pork fat) or I can make sure that I can devise a thousand more crimes that you have committed in the last 15 minutes of your existence". I gave a covert signal to my colleague to stay away a bit, since he was carrying a well packed 100 US dollar notes on him and moved forward to show my already well combed wallet with just 32 hryvnas (4$) in it. "This is all I have , officer" and left the money on a nearby desk without trying to look on  their disappointed figures. All we needed to do was just to take 15 steps to go to our flat. If I was alone with noone to bring back my passport and just 32 hryvnas on me, I would be locked down in a flea infested cell just 15 steps out of my flat and my passport. Sometimes I am lucky indeed.

So never NEVER step out without a passport in Ukraine and Russia (or any post-soviet state)

Note: Turklish Invasion denounces any attempt to bribe the glorious and couregous servicemen of the Ukrainian and Russian security personnel. All money given by Dinc are willing and voluntary donations to make the already perfect system a perfect example for their European counterparts.

3 comments:

Ulas Ergin said...

we all do voluntary donations to soviet police force, don't worry :)

Conrad Barwa said...

donation to the police force


PMSL - we have all been there. I am always stubborn and tend to argue which upsets my friends who would rather pay and get on with enjoying themselves.

Internation Musing said...

haha...its nice to live there..)))
Kindest
hans