I never thought I would be able say something good about the Russian bureaucracy one day. Since Gogol’s times Russia’s bureaucrats are the model for the whole of our good old globe. Now I see that the joke about the EUSSR is starting to come true.
A PhD student now doing his research in Finland (non-EU citizen) decided to visit me in Saint Petersburg.
— valid passport;
— henkilökortti issued by the local police in Finland;
— student card.
But. His residence permit expired in September 2017 or around, so, pretty much in time and before the deadline, he applied for extension. Somewhat in July 2017. Now (after half a year) he is still holding an absolutely invalid sheet of paper called roughly “a certificate of documents being processed” and which would be referred to in colloquial Russian as “filkina gramota”.
Because priority is given to refugees. OK. Refugees is an important issue, given the fact that it is Russia who partially provoked the crisis. But what do students have to do with that? Why that trouble checking their documents on the same level as refugees’?
And now the tastiest piece of the pie.
He shows up in the Russian visa center to ask whether he can apply for a Russian visa to come to Saint Petersburg.
-It’s a tricky question, – answers the lady in the center looking at the documents he has, – will send a question to our consulate in Lappeenranta.
The answer arrived today. After only two working days (absolutely not Russian approach; why not three months?):
-No trouble on the Russian side.
What? “No trouble on the Russian side”? Since when?
-If a non-EU citizen can prove he has aready stayed for at least 90 days in Finland, welcome. What he needs is his passport, henkilökortti, student card + application fee. Will get his visa in 7 working days.
What? Seven days? Not half a year?
The trouble, however, is the “filkina gramota” certificate: he will not be able to get back.
Academic ambassador of the free intellectual world contributing to spreading and multiplying the knowledge?
Syrian refugee waiting for approval and confirmation he is no terrorist?
Same thing, you know.
7 Novembris 2017. — Petropolis (Rusthenia)