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I may be encroaching on Russian Marketing Blog’s territory here, but this merits some discussion regardless. Foster’s Beer ads are known for their borderline offensive machismo, but I wondered if this one was unique to the Russian market, because I can’t imagine it in any civilized country:

It says: You have to give up your (metro) seat to women/you can put the attractive ones on your lap.


Taking this photo was not cheap. I know that photography in the metro is in theory forbidden, but I’ve never heard of anyone getting in trouble for it. This morning I noticed this ad, and because I didn’t want to freak anyone out by possibly including him/her in the photo, I waited until the train and I had reached our destination, the terminating stop Primorskaya, and everyone had exited the train. I snapped the picture, and when I stepped off the train, a young policeman informed me that photography was illegal and there was a fine. He waved over an older policeman, who told me the fine would be 100 rubles (a little less than $4). I said “Oh, I’m so sorry, I’m a foreigner, I didn’t know.”

I looked in my wallet and saw that I had 80 rubles in 10s and a 1000-ruble note. There was no way I was showing them the thousand, so I pulled out the 80 rubles and made a show of counting it and saying “This is all I have.” They said, “all right, the fine is 50 rubles then”, and gave me a ticket/receipt that had “50 rubles” preprinted on it.

Why they didn’t just pocket the other 30, I don’t know. I guess they fell for my “I’m just a silly foreigner” act. The older policeman gave my my ticket, I apologized one more time, and he said “shastlivo” which is like “have a nice day” but kind of friendlier. Weird.

Anyway, the no photography in the metro rule is just stupid. I think they claim it’s some kind of security/antiterror measure, but it probably mostly provides an excuse for policemen to extract more fines and bribes from people.

About This Blog

I'm an American who started blogging when I moved to Russia in 2004. Eventually I moved to Sweden, where life is pleasant but uneventful, and stopped blogging for lack of interesting things to say. And then I joined Facebook, which further destroyed any motivation for blogging. Maybe someday I'll start blogging again, but for now, this blog is dormant, an archive of The Russia Years: 2004-2008.

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April 2006