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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Border guards launch charm offensive
Russian troops
Ever felt you're not welcome?

Churlish Russian border guards have been given strict new orders - smile and be polite to visitors entering the country.

In an effort to put an end to the intimidating scowls and steely glares often suffered by travellers, guards checking passports are now under orders to be nice.

"As individuals and vehicles cross the state border, special attention will be paid to treating passengers very politely and to preventing callous and rude behaviour," spokesman Vadim Shibayev told Interfax news agency.

The orders were issued by Colonel General Vladimir Pronichev, head of the border guard service, after "recent complaints about the tactless treatment of people by border guards crossing the Russian state frontier".

"Some people have objected that our border guards are not very smiley," Mr Shibayev said. "But now we hope that they will be more friendly."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Country profile: Russia
25 May 04  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Russia
12 May 04  |  Country profiles


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