24 June 2019, Monday, 19:44
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Russians Detained In Minsk For Photo With Tsar Policeman Sculpture

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The police disliked the jacket on the tourists was wearing.

A Russian girl has shared the story at the Pikabu resourse.

We are offering the full story of the Russian girl for your attention:

"Such an absurd thing happened to me this weekend, that I feel the need to share this story with the people. It seems unlikely something similar would happen to anyone else, but, as they say, “forewarned, forearmed”.

My boyfriend Kirill and I took a trip to Minsk on the weekend. This was our first visit, an acquaintance with the city and the country. We are law-abiding people, we have had no problems with the law either in Russia or in many of our foreign trips, so we expected no troubles in Belarus (where there is no language barrier or major cultural differences). We were wrong, though.

We were walking peacefully, planned to check in a hotel. Literally in three blocks away from the hotel, in the Haradzki Val Street, we came across the sculpture of the Tsar Policeman.

This was just now that I googled it and realized it is prohibited to do anything with this monument. But we are ordinary tourists, there are soooo many sculptures in Minsk, one cannot read about all of them. Herein, I’d like to stress that, there is no warning sign near the Tsar Policeman, and no fence around it either. So we see a handsome bronze man with a dog, and we go to take photos with it. And it was then when the jacket came onstage. This one.

I took two pictures and we continued walking.

However, hardly we have managed to walk by one single building, two police officers approached us from two directions. It was a short conversation. They asked us what we did with the monument, made sure we just took pictures, that it was not a mask, but a hood, and that we are not hooligans. They asked us to delete the photos though. Okay, if it’s a problem, we didn’t argue, deleted the pics. The police let us go.

It was too early to rejoice though. As a policeman told us later, we should have run away from there quickly. But we are not experienced in such things, we thought everything was normal, since they let us go. Hah!

We have reached the crossroads, when a policeman caught up with us. And then suddenly there were four of them. It was kinda too many. They demanded to show our passports, and said we must go somewhere with them, “for clarifying the circumstances”. It turned out we were “detainees” already. To our requests to explain what was going on, why we were detained, the officers kept silence or said that “everything’s gonna be okay”, or tried to get away with us by saying something about an “administrative offense”. I mean, what did we violate?! Is it prohibited to take pictures? - They say no. And it seems it is really not a mask, but such a jacket – this is not forbidden either…What then? "Oh! - they say, - You have stood on the pedestal from behind the Tsar Policeman, this was vandalism!” The shit is, there is no pedestal there.

They took us to the territory of the MIA Museum, and ordered to wait while they were making a report. The time passed by, while the mood and the impression of the city were sinking lower and lower. They were writing a report for half an hour. And then – guess what? They took us to the Internal Affairs Directorate in other city district. One officer kept on repeating that everything would be ok, and we only need to spend some time in their company. The other was swearing, like, everyone was so stupid, they could not write a report quickly. To our justified claims, both denied having something to do with it: “We didn’t detain you, we are only drivers!”

It was fun in the Internal Affairs Directorate. We had a company of six detainees, including a stinky homeless in a cage. Everyone was running around, bustling, shouting at each other. Phrases were said like “You’ve got political detainees, but you are dealing with some bullshit with the Tsar Policeman instead!” However, they seemed in no hurry to let us go. Moreover, they took other detainees away and put us in a cage, because they were expecting a general to come to see us and figure everything out. They said that under the law they could detain us for three days. The feeling of delirium has crossed all the limits. Seriously? For a photo, moreover, for a deleted photo, is it really so necessary to make such a fuss, especially with foreign citizens? We are in the country for only two days, and we are spending a quarter of our stay in the police, like some criminals.

What to do in such a situation, in general? Contact the Embassy? But they don’t work on weekends. Anyone knows?

They released us in the end. They said we should not take offense but think of it as a hilarious adventure, and come to visit Minsk more often. I’ll be honest – I have taken a deep offense. All of my journeys are thoroughly planned, and here we wasted a half of the day, suffered from stress, nerves, heard various threats, sat in a cage smelling with a homeless – nice vacation, isn’t it? And then we had to walk back to the city center for half an hour. “Why walking? - says the policeman. Take a trolley! No cash? Never mind, just run away from ticket collectors fast enough.” Hmm, getting detained again, and paying a fine?

I read about this sculpture at home. Several peaceful Minskers had problems because of it. Everything is considered a crime: a hug, a kiss, putting on a scarf. There would have been no claims if they had fenced the sculpture. However, new scandals keep happening for the two years in a row, and the Tsar Policeman is standing there as unprotected as always, guarded only by surveillance cameras and vigilant MIA officers.

So, be aware! If you happen to be in Minsk, be careful with the Tsar Policeman. It is probably allowed to take pictures with him, but this is not for sure. Touching him seems more trouble than it is worth,” the Russian girl summarized.