I left Russia a year ago to an African country for holiday for 3 months, but then the pandemic struck and I was stuck there for one year. However, later travel restrictions were lifted and I could go back. so when I arrived back at the airport in Russia, they held me up because I did not have my domestic passport with me, which I didn’t know was necessary. So they took me to a room, started searching my backpack and my pockets, asking me many stupid questions, and they even took all my fingerprints and palm print, and took photos of my face both on front and side, They were rude, sarcastic and treated me like a criminal. In the end they let me go. And yet, they picked me and let other passengers pass? I think it’s not fair. So now I want to sue them for this. So tell me, do they have any right to do this, when I obviously didn’t do anything? I have never encountered such hostile reception. Back in the country of visit, My father is a very powerful man, so I enjoyed VIP status at the departure country but unfortunately he could not do anything about the way they treated me on arrival in Russia.
Are you a Russian citizen?
What do you mean by “domestic passport”?
Yes, I am a citizen by birthright, but I do not yet speak the language well because I grew up elsewhere. Domestic passport means that each citizen carries a second passport to be used separately inside the country, and there is a separate one for travel.
They let you into the country, therefore I suspect the issue of the second passport was not a reason to keep you out but just a reason to hold you for a little while so they could maybe test your statements and catch you out lying to them.
Do you think you can sue government officials for being rude?
Oh man the amount of lawsuits all the governments will get!
So sorry about this experience though. Sounds traumatic being treated like that.
What charges exactly are you planning on bringing? At which court?
First I am going to file a complaint on grounds of discrimination and violation of my rights to privacy. They picked me, and let other passengers pass. They strip searched, took all biometrics, criminal style just because I did not have an optional document.
They let women, children and older males pass, yet detain young males because of automatic assumption that they are criminals or terrorists, especially ‘Arab looking’ young males, with black hair and eyes.
You’re right on all these points. Customs and Immigration officers pick people out who look unusual or who have unusual paperwork or unusual trip details. That is how they perform their job well. They cannot check everyone in detail so they pick out the more likely targets.
For example, someone who has made multiple long-haul flights, or who flew to Australia but only for one night, or who bought their ticket cash the day before they departed, or who looks nervous, or who doesn’t have enough luggage, or who has too much luggage, or who appears ill or in abdominal pain, or who arrives on holiday for a month with only ten dollars, or who has made a cash detection dog alert to them, or whose luggage was X-rayed and contains unusual items. There are a hundred reasons.
Where you say its discrimination, they will say its professionalism.
So are they fine to assume that women and middle aged to old white males are not criminals or terrorists? This is Russia which is known as an oppressive authoritarian nation. They obviously have sinister reasons. I suspect they did this because I look like one of these Muslims from the south former soviet states, which they hate.
Nowhere else in the world have I experienced such savage hostile welcome.
You arrived at their border. They detained you, questioned you and searched your bags. They then let you go physically unharmed and with no charges against your name. The fact that they found no legal infractions does not mean their search and questioning was unlawful - or unjustified.
I know many travellers of all cultures and nationalities experience similar things when they too cross an international border.
I start to think you have an extraordinarily high opinion of yourself. But maybe I am wrong - maybe there was something unusual about your trip or your history with Russian border control or your belongings or about you - can you think of anything?
Your father is a very ‘powerful man’ - and you expect VIP status.
Good on them for **not ** giving you VIP status
It’s almost like they don’t respect civil rights in Russia…
Russia does have some discrimination laws, so you probably have a chance. Good luck.