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 Post subject: A Russian paradise
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 06 Oct 2010 03:18 
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A Russian paradise


One of the singularities of the Russian soul is its genuine belief in the possibility of heaven on earth. This faith has been passed down from one generation to the next. Even in Russian fairy tales miracles happen not “long long ago” as they do in Western European tales, but in the “thrice-nine kingdom”. The tie to a place is palpable. A place where dreams come true, somewhere nearby, you just have to find it. So let’s look. In tsarist times peasants went in search to the East, to Siberia, thereby expanding Russian territory.

When the free territories ran out, they decided to build a paradise at home — a communist society of general abundance and equal opportunity. In the event, the attempt was unsuccessful, but thanks to it earthly paradise in the minds of Russians assumed a specific location — the United States and countries in Western Europe. From behind the Iron Curtain came half-mythical rumors about 30 different kinds of sausage in the shops and other boons of Western civilization. The rare lucky ones who were able to leave the Soviet Union for good were given going-away parties as if they were going to the next world. Their friends would never see them again; the only consolation was that they would land in paradise.

When the Iron Curtain collapsed, it turned out that Russians were not especially welcome in the West and that people there had plenty of their own problems. It seemed that the dream about a heaven on earth would die with the USSR. But in a completely unexpected twist, that empty place was filled by Turkey. The first Russian tourists to return from there told fantastic tales about an “all-inclusive” system: you pay once then eat all you want. For a Russian, permanently frustrated by the constant shortages of the most indispensable things, a system like this seemed like a miracle. No wonder that at first they tried to eat all they could (and more) on the principle that if they couldn’t finish it, at least they could taste it. In his heart of hearts every Russian firmly believes that anything good is bound to end soon, so you should get all you can while the going’s good. But this rule of Russian life did not apply to Turkey and little by little everyone went there.

Here one should explain one important point: the Russian definition of the ideal vacation. Primarily it is the sea. You would think that in a vast country like Russia there would be plenty of places where one could have a lovely vacation in nature: quantities of rivers, lakes and forests. But anyone can go to places like that, so they aren’t that interesting or prestigious. The nearest beach to Moscow is a two-hour plane ride at least — Russia is, for the most part, a northern country. In Soviet times, to get a permit to go to a guest house on the Black Sea, you had to be a cosmonaut or a famous actor. Everyone else had to rough it: you had to rent whatever room you could find from a local, often without the most basic amenities. The main thing was the sea. Today a vacation in Sochi is still off-limits to most, only now it’s because of the price. Good service on the Black Sea costs more than it does in Turkey. What’s more, Turkey’s famous all-inclusive system means that even a vacationer of modest means can feel almost rich for a week and deny himself nothing. It’s amusing that when Russians went on to explore Europe (after Turkey) their main disappointment was the “continental breakfast” — a croissant with butter, jam and coffee. “Why so little?” they moaned, now used to abundant smorgasbords. Travel agents wore themselves out explaining that Europe is not Turkey and you won’t be able to eat all you want there.

It’s hardly surprising that Russian tourists prefer to put their money into the Turkish economy: statistics show that every year some three million Russians vacation in Turkey, spending a total of $3 billion on average. Russians are the most desirable shoppers in Turkish shops. They buy a lot of everything that’s produced locally — leather, textiles, sweets. The Turks have taken note and are anxious to oblige: now Russian is virtually the official language at many local spas. Antalia has a Russian school; there is a Russian radio station and a Russian television channel. Russians feel at home in Turkey, and Turkish men with Russian wives are a common sight.

This season Turkey has gone even further and abolished visas for Russians. Even before, Turkish visas were a mere formality that involved paying $20 and getting a stamp in your passport at the border. Now Russians won’t have to do even that, although the Turks will lose several tens of millions of dollars as a result. But for the sake of Russian clients who are dear (in all senses of the word), the Turks are willing to forego a few dollars. Especially since those grateful tourists will no doubt compensate them for their generosity.

“It seems that things in Russia are pretty good,” a Dutch tourist remarked to me one day on a Turkish beach. Yes, judging by the number of Russians in five-star hotels, the financial crisis here would seem to be over. Or perhaps it’s just that a vacation by the sea is the last thing Russians are willing to give up? In the end, for the chance to live in paradise one can easily sacrifice.


Svetlana Smetanina is a Moscow journalist and observer of life able to see something good in even the most hopeless situations.

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 Post subject: Re: A Russian paradise
Post Number:#2  PostPosted: 11 Oct 2010 20:57 
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First question,
Was this not posted in the wrong place, should it not have been posted in the Jokes Section?

It has been a long time since I have read anything as funny, well it would be funny if it was not misleading.


Svetlana Smetanina
A demagogue, if I ever came across one.
And we all know about demagogues

As stated by the 20th-century American social critic and humorist H. L. Mencken
A demagogue is one who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.



Admittedly I have not been to Turkey for quite a while now but it would have taken a major change and I mean Inconceivable Major Change to change the attitude of the Turks towards Russians.
I do though know a young Russian girl who has been to Turkey not that long ago and what she describes goes a long way to confirming that the attitude of the average Turkish Male has not changed towards Russian women.

So what is Mz Smetanina saying?
Do not go to Europe because you will not be treated well. Go to Turkey and expect to be treated nicely.
What she is not saying is that if you think paradise for Russians is in Turkey then you will never want to leave Russia again.

On a different note.
This is the same Svetlana Smetanina who's article The Russian wives of foreign husbands an article that was full of part truths, innuendos and misleading conclusions, the tools of a demagogue .

Well I have to give Mz "Cream" the credit, she has just done it again.

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 Post subject: Re: A Russian paradise
Post Number:#3  PostPosted: 12 Oct 2010 17:32 
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Raffi

I am glad that you are around to pick up this subliminal propaganda against the west by this writer!
[clap2.gif]

You may wonder who pays her piper.....LOL

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 Post subject: Re: A Russian paradise
Post Number:#4  PostPosted: 14 Oct 2010 17:11 
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Turkey is not the only Russian Paradise


Back in June 2007, I was on holidays in Kos island, again and I was staying at the 4* Hotel Ramira Hotel at Psalidi in Kos. The hotel was full of Russian visitors and also another hotel opposite, the kirpiotis Panorama was full of Russian holidaymakers and I saw two Gazprom jets sitting on the ground at the airport too.

It was obvious then that the Russian tour operators having established a good presence in the island of Corfu for many years, have moved also to other popular Greek islands, like Kos, Rhodes and Crete and today their numbers increase every year, slowly replacing the traditional large numbers of British tourists who move to more cheaper destinations like Turkey and Egypt.

This year, while holidaying in Kos, I was made aware that there were a lot of Russian tourists around mostly staying in All- inclusive 4-5 * hotels and one day passing near the airport I saw a couple of Transaero planes on the ground.

During a conversation with a local inbound travel agent, friend of mine, I was told that Russia and Greece have signed an agreement making the issue of Schegen Visa to Russian Nationals very easy and cheap!

I have searched to find the agreement but sofar I have not managed to do it but here is what I came across.

This is from an interview of the Greek PM George Papandreou, when he visited Moscow back in February 2010.

Question RIA-NOVOSTI: Russian tourists traditionally consider Greece an nice country for summer vacations, and there are many grounds for this. At the same time, more and more Greeks are looking forward to visiting our country and see its beauty and its attractions with their own eyes. Do you believe that the EU cancellation of a visa regime for Russian citizens could play an important role for tourist exchange?

George A. Papandreou: Greece, as a country with traditional friendly ties with Russia, constantly takes efforts to help Russian citizens who would like to visit our country. As for the easing and accelerating the visa issuing process, we will reach this using clear orders which we give the authorities of our diplomatic and consulate missions in Russia, in particular, to provide all possible support to Russians who want to travel to Greece. We are also expanding and improving the Greek consulate’s presence in Russia.

To achieve this goal, general consulates in Moscow and St. Petersburg were relocated to new buildings, and Greek visa centers were established in four cities (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk) in order to provide more quality services to Russians.

I would like to stress that Greek consulates in Russia issue visas within 48 hours, which puts our country at one of the first places in Russia as regards the speed of considering Schengen visa applications, if compared to other Schengen states. Usually, our consulate bodies issue more and more visas as years pass. For example, 228,793 visas were issued in 2007, a total of 307,796 in 2008, and 252,553 in 2009.

In regard to the additional easing of the visa regime, our country played a major role in the signing of an agreement on easing the visa regime between the EU and Russia, which has been in force since June 1, 2007.

This agreement, on the one hand, eases the process of visa issuance for several groups of citizens (for example, businessmen, company representatives, journalists, scientists, researchers, members of government and parliament, participants of scientific, cultural events, cultural figures, participants of international sports competitions). On the other hand, the cost of a visa remains at the level of 35 euros, and not 60, while visas are free for some categories of applicants.

Moreover, our country uses every opportunity to support Russia’s request to the EU concerning the cancellation of obligatory visas for Russians. We are strongly convinced that it would significantly help the further strengthening of ties between citizens of EU member states and Russia.


http://www.primeminister.gr/english/201 ... a-novosti/

It is pretty obvious that the Greeks will do everything possible, short of breaking the Schegen visa rules to bring as many as possible Russian tourists in the country.

Take a look at this link to see how many flights from Russia were bound to the island of Rhodes last year.

http://forum.scramble.nl/viewtopic.php?p=339136

Of course Turkey this year has dropped the visa requirement for Russian citizens but from what I am aware most of the big and expensive hotels in Bodrum and Antalya is run by German companies!

So the Greeks are not doing badly under the current Financial circumstances and for sure the Russian Tourists like visiting Greece in 1000's.

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 Post subject: Re: A Russian paradise
Post Number:#5  PostPosted: 15 Oct 2010 19:30 
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EU and Visa for Russian tourists


Here is a letter send by Chris from Real Russia to the Chairman of Transport & Tourist Committee, European Parliament, which I post with his permission for your information, regarding Visas for Russians.

With regards to visas, I will be at a meeting next week where the Chairman of Transport & Tourist Committee, European Parliament. In repsonse to to a call for questions I provided the following:

"Dear Mr Simpson

The BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China represent a combined market of 3 Billion people, which is over 40% of the world’s total population.

The EU sponsored document “Study on the Competitiveness of the EU tourism industry” boasts that the EU is “the number one destination for tourists” in the world citing the fact that more than 370 million arrivals or 40% of all international arrivals occurred in the EU in 2009, however it is important to note that 70% of those arrivals are by EU residents.

Of the 30% non-EU resident arrivals (122 million) only 7.2 million were from BRIC countries; that is just 0.06% of non EU resident arrivals to the EU.

In the UK it is even more disappointing with 650,000 BRIC arrivals from 29.9 million total overseas visitors, or 0.02% of total arrivals to the UK.

In 2009 Russia sent over 3.6 million tourists to Turkey and Egypt alone. To put it into context 50% of total visitors from all BRICs together to visit all EU countries (the world’s number one destination) in the same period visited to just two non-EU countries from the smallest BRIC nation.

Russia is recognised as the world’s fastest growing outbound tourist market, and in the first half of 2010 official figures show it sent 44% more tourists to Turkey and 65% more to Egypt than the corresponding period in 2009. If these figures could be replicated in the BRICS visiting the EU then the decline in traditional overseas visitors, for example from the USA, would be more than offset.

Russians do not visit the EU because it is too expensive; quite the contrary they are generally “premium travellers” and value high quality products and services. Russia’s economy, like other BRIC nations is rapidly expending with double digit growth year after year, more and more Russians have money to spend and want to spend it seeing the world that has been denied them for so long.

Nor is it a lack of understanding of the EU market; quite the contrary, Russia is on the doorstep of Europe and has been intimately involved in its history (for good or bad) for centuries, Russians have a fascination with Europe and would readily visit the EU and UK.

So what is holding them back? Why do they choose to go elsewhere?

In a word, the primary reason is “visas”.

It is important to note that both Turkey and Egypt are visa free for Russian nationals and countries such as Israel and Thailand which abolished short term visas for Russian nationals last year experienced an increase of 50% and 118% of tourists respectively.

For Russians, getting a visa to visit the EU and especially the UK is for the majority an expensive, time consuming, humiliating and generally uncertain process.

To make things worse, there is no consistency between the Schengen consulates of application or process, for example some demand a personal interview with each applicant, some don’t. Most consulates pick and choose which agencies and companies they will deal with and make it difficult or impossible for those they don’t prefer.

Are things getting better?

The EU document “Study on the Competitiveness of the EU tourism industry” also highlights as an action to “Support tourism on demand”:

“Action 1.2 - Improve convenience of travelling: The overall tourist experience is partly influenced by the quality of the services related to travelling. In Europe, special attention should go to improving the convenience of travelling: visa restrictions, waiting times at airports, accessibility of attractions, interconnectivity of different modes of transport etc.”

The same document later states:

“The very recent changes in the rules to obtain a Schengen visa also have an influence on the attractiveness of the EU (the Schengen area) as tourism destination. Not only has the cost to obtain a Schengen visa increased, also the administrative burden has increased due to stricter controls (application on issuance of visa, passport, photography and documents certifying the aim of the trip, solvency and medical insurance, give fingerprints).”

I am sure you are aware of the contradiction present in these two statements.

My questions are:

1. Do you recognise the negative influence that the current visa application process has on potential visitors from the BRIC nations and the development of valuable inbound tourism to the EU from emerging markets at a time when traditional visitors (such as those from the USA) are declining?

2. What is the EU and your committee practically doing to facilities the simplification and easing of the visa process for non EU visitors from BRIC nations?

3. Considering Russia only, will your committee lobby the Schengen countries to consider simplifying and implementing a common application process across all consulates for tourist visas?

4. In Moscow, my company is refused to lodge visa applications on behalf of clients at many consulates because we are not “accredited” – but there is no accreditation process in place at these consulates. What can be done to stop consulates arbitrarily choosing which commercial organisations they will accept visa applications from and which they don’t and thus damaging the development of not only mainstream agencies wishing to develop EU based product but also the niche and specialist tourist companies so vital to the future development and health of the industry?

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 Post subject: Re: A Russian paradise
Post Number:#6  PostPosted: 16 Oct 2010 06:47 
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A very interesting Read [hi.gif]

Now as many of you know i have just come back from a 2 week holiday in Belek Turkey approximately 35 Km East of Antalya.

The first observation on your post above are with regards to the Visa entry system. On arrival with my Russian wife I pay my £10 Visa cost in English pounds all is well until my Wife gives them her Russian international passport, they then tell her it is $20 for Visa at this point i tell them i have only Euro's or Sterling now the look of confusion on the poor guys face was a picture, so after a couple of minutes of arguing about this he tells me that 10 Euros is fine we get the stamp and off we go, so as you see we had to pay for a Visa :roll:

Now having Read the above item somewhere else about no Visa for Russians to get into Turkey this had intrigued me to the point i wanted some clarification as to what really was happening, maybe my experience was just because we entered together and from England?

Well we waited in the Airport for 1 hour this was because my step daughter and her friend were flying in from Rostov on Don in Russia to join us on our holiday

Well i asked them after we had got the normal hello's out of the way if they had to buy a Visa, "yes of Course $20" so there you go then :roll: the whole of the plane brought Visa's

In my Various conversations with other Russians in the Hotel it is obvious that the Visa system is still well in place so do not believe all that is written :roll:

Next Item on the list is how the Turkish people treat our ladies or in fact Russian people in general

So after a few days of relaxation we are lying on the beach and the usual touts that float by are are starting to get annoying ( you know the ones come to my spa/shop/restaurant stand by my camel!!!!!) so my wife tells me that they would like to go look at the leather/fur coats for our daughter!! well this had been pre discussed before holidays that she did need a new coat for winter and my wife had worked and had a quite reasonable amount of money so she said she could afford to buy this for her daughter :)

So off we go on one of these tours to a leather factory!!! we are picked up in a very nice Merc and driven to the shop, on arrival it is all i imagined it to be a very swanky marble clad gold and black foyer with people there so happy to see you (the next Victims lol) so we are given visitor badges and led though a door into a lift and down to the basement level. well we are shown to an area in this shop where there are nice big comfortable leather chairs and sofa's i am given a beer and the girls have tea and cake is also brought in [drinks.gif]

Well after some 30 mins of me drinking beer and eating cake they were still trying to decide what coat the daughter liked the best, then i am asked to get involved till this point i have only spoken a yes/no/please / thank you in Russian so they start jabbering away at a grand pace in Russian to me, at this juncture i inform them that they are mistaken in thinking that i am Russian when infact i am 100% Anglo Saxon (English) the look was a picture [sarcastic_blum.gif] ( now for most of you that have travelled well you will realise that we are mistaken all the time as being rich, some maybe are but average Jo is not Rich) so they then ask me if i want another Beer, and of course i said yes who wouldn't [aferim.gif] they then said how there quality is so good and it will be a fine coat for my Daughter and how beautiful she will look :roll: so at this point i ask my daughter if she has decided on which one she likes? she tells me there are 2 and asks me for my opinion, i give this and we decide which one :)

Now for the closing sell on their part, i ask how much this coat is......3000 Euro!!!!! :roll: at this point i just laugh and tell them did this include a free holiday in the Bahamas? they look at me with some disdain in their eyes, and i tell them they will have to sharpen their pencil if they think they can sell me that :lol:

Well after about 20 mins of arguing the price down we are down to about 800 euros......still to much for me so i take the very normal attitude of i have finished my beer so i am off.......lets go......bye

At this point the head seller takes me to one side and asks me so please tell me how much you really want to pay and i tell her that the bottom line needs to come down to 400 pounds max

Off she goes and gets the Manager, who then takes me into his little office for a chat, we sit there and he gets a bottle of Vodka out and proceeds to pour me and him a shot [thumbs.gif] well the day is getting better in my book (how i love shopping [bad.gif] ) and being a hardened Vodka drinker this was going to be fun :lol: well we start by him saying 700 euro and me telling him no 400 pounds (he did not understand pounds so he say we only talk Euro or dollar) so i tell him Euro / Pound all the same :lol: we drink more , more and more and talk English football drink more he says he can not go below 600 Euro and i tell him well thank you for the Vodka and get up to leave when he suddenly puts the Vodka away and says 500 hundred your pounds OK, well we are now at the point i think we will not pass so i shake on it and the deal is done [wink.gif]

Well i am taken back to my Wife and Daughter who ask where the hell i have been for so long but i tell her it is all good and the coat is ours :D Daughter is over the moon and Wifey is happy too [clap2.gif] but before you know it i am whisked away to pay, i am taken to the cash desk and the lady says you agree 500 with boss yes? yes i say so she tells the girl to make the paper work i look at it and see that they have written 500 Euro so i keep quiet and get the card out and punch the pin and the job is done [clap2.gif]

We leave the shop and get outside for our taxi back to the hotel, obviously the girls are very happy and ask if i am too, yes is my answer they ask me if all is ok and i feel ok after i have drank so much Vodka but i am fine ( Vodka never seems to have much effect on me) so i then ask my wife if she is happy with the deal she thinks that £500 is very good for a real leather and fur lined full length coat :D

Now for my Trump card i tell her £500 i paid 500 Euro so the cost of the coat is about 440 pound when you do the exchange rate [rolf.gif]

Well as per the comment above yes they are very interested in the Russian trade and they do not seem to be able to get the deals that we managed , because after we had done this trip several of the Russians we became friends with tried but failed to get coats for the same money :roll:

But then again it could be that the manager happened to be a Man Utd fan and that we drank Vodka well together [rolf.gif]


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 Post subject: Re: A Russian paradise
Post Number:#7  PostPosted: 17 Oct 2010 07:02 
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Window browsing and shopping in Greece.....


Excellent post Sparky and made me laugh.... alot...as I was reading........and knew where is going to end!

Hanna couldn't understand what Vodka and Man United had to do with you buying her fur coat!
[clap2.gif] :lol: :lol: :lol:

I am sure your wife, Lena, must be very happy with the deal for her daughter.....that you achieved, having to endure such a trechurus road filled with Vodka. :lol:

Actually I am more lucky than you when it comes to shopping in Greece, as people there quickly recognise me......when wife is looking around (window shopping) and they don't bother me offering the top prices... and go to the bottom line... to make sure I buy it, whatever my wife finds for me or for herself! :D

One of the things that I have avoided doing is to go in one of those daily trips to Turkey, which it's just less than an hour boat trip from kos port. Bodrum, the Turkish holiday resort, is right opposite the kos port.....



and frankly I don't fancy going on there for the day, following around the town my wife..... who as typical (Russian) woman will visit every single shop and check every little item for sale, remembering all our friends and relatives..... on the way! [biggrin.gif]

To be honest she is very good and not spent a lot of money..... but following or waiting for her around the shops is not my cuppa.

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Browsing in Zea- Kos village

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These Greeks have no shame......... :shock:

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Never mind the Aegean Art of work.... shopping has to go on :lol:

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Next stop Tingaki Holiday resort.... more shops.......

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Of course you can find all the tourist books published in Russian Language too...... [biggrin.gif]

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