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Dealing with Russian (and other) Police and other hints
6 replies [Last post]
Mon, 31/05/2010 - 4:46pm
This has been covered piecemeal over various blogs and forums. I thought I would condense it down to one place for reference. This is from our personal experience and from this and the MR forums and blogs.
All of our police incidents were in Russia near Stavropol. Once you are stopped they get on their cell phones and let their buddies know you are comming.
We later found out when the cops say Banque! Banque! they mean you are to take the slip of paper to a certain bank and pay the fine there. That is only good if the fine is real, which only happened once.
They will also point at the book of traffic infractions and shout Protocol! Protocol! Anything you do will be a "serious" violation.
Hints for not being stopped:
Go the speed limits, even if 25 KM/HR is slower than molasses.
Have your headlights on when you drive.
Don't change lanes near a cop. The non-solid lines where you can change lanes are almost impossible to see and are only 2 feet longer than your car.
Smile and wave, it always surprises them.
Watch out for blue signs that say ANC. That means cops ahead.
Make a color copy of the title or the V5 form for the car for every country you pass through. They come in handy. Some rallyers I know had to backtrack 50 miles to find a copy machine.
Don't speed in Kazakhstan unless you take a radar detector. The policecars have a photo-radar unit mounted on them that shows your license plate and speed. We got stopped for 75 in a 65 zone, but he didn't speak English and we didn't speak Russian or Kazakh so he just let us go.
Get several International Drivers Licenses and give one of them to the cop if stopped. Hide your real drivers licence. One cop tried the "confiscate your license for 3 months unless we paid him $1,000" scam with us.
Take both Euros and dollars. They will claim the fee is one amount in one currency, and if you don't have it they will ask for a lot more in the other currency.
Decide in advance your strategy for dealing with police. You can pay what they ask, argue them down, or wait. A MR team last year was stopped over 21 times in the Ukraine and Russia and never paid a dime. Their longest wait until the cops got tired of wasting their time and let them go was 5 hours. Time vs money.
Don't carry more than around $50-$75 on you. If you absolutely need more go back to the car and get more from your partners.
Pretend you don't understand what the word dollar means.
Don't fill in the part of the Russian/Kazakhstan entry form that asks how much money you are taking into the country. It is intended for amounts over $3,500. Cops will look at that and see how much money you are carrying.
Copy your proof of insurance form onto green paper. Not legally necessary, but will make it easier at smaller border entrys.
No problem with GPS at the Russian borders or while driving.
The Garmin World Map was good to have everywhere.
If going through the 'stans, the best map available is
Gizi Kazakhstan map, ISBN 9789630083157
It is worth its' weight in platinum and covers all of the 'stans and part of Iran in great detail, with mileage (in KM).