Blogs: Arrested for taking pictures of Christmas trees (video)


An egregious case of “domestic tourism development” took place in Moscow suburbs. An amateur photographer was walking around Kolomna, and taking pictures of Christmas trees. Police arrived, shoved him into a police vehicle, and took him to the police station.

And there it began.

Valentin Sokolov, a resident of Kolomna, was walking around his town in the evening on January 4. He came to the downtown, to the main square to take pictures of Christmas trees: a big one – an artificial one at the square itself, and two live ones near “The White House” – the administration building.

Right after I got my camera – says Valentin – a person in civilian clothes who didn’t introduce himself came up to me, and warned that one can not take pictures here. I asked him who he was, and why exactly I can not take pictures. The man asked me to wait, and then left. A few minutes later a police car drove up, and four polite policemen with machine guns took my passport and escorted me to the police station.

In the police department I had to wait for some time, being in ignorance and uncertainty. Nobody was answering my questions. I only managed to talk to an officer Tutin (if I’m not mistaken) who was passing by. He responded with a question to my request to read his name on the badge: “What’s the purpose of your interest in it?”

The rest is in the video below (in Russian).

From the conversation, it became clear:

  1. That is the administration building is “a specially protected object”, and taking pictures is prohibited nearby. Where is the border line, and based on what such a ban exists? I received no answer.
  2. It turned out that I had to get a permit for taking pictures in advance. From who? I received no answer.
  3. It became clear that there are many “banned” facilities in Kolomna, but the list is classified. Apparently, you have to put this list together by yourself, after each arrest for taking pictures without a permit.

I was held there for some more time. They got my explanation, copied my passport, and then released. The policemen were polite and correct, but speaking nonsense. I think my experience would be useful to others. Especially for tourists.

The fact that in Russia a person with a camera is a spy, and must be detained – this is not news. Unfortunately, nothing has changed here.

What kind of “tourism development” we can talk about if any “non-local” person is perceived as a threat?