An insane demonstration of police state took place in Russia’s suburbs. Amateur photographer of Kolomna was walking around his town. While he was taking pictures of Christmas trees in front of the local government building, police squad arrived, shoved him into a car and took him to the local police department.
“When I got the camera out”- says Valentin, “A person in civilian clothing approached me and warned me that I was not suppose to take pictures there. I asked him who he was and based on what I couldn’t take pictures. The man told me to wait and left. A few minutes later a police car drove up. Four policemen with machine guns came out. They took my passport and escorted me to the police station.
There I had to wait for some time, while being uncertain what going to happen next. The questions I’ve asked were unanswered.”
Later, from the conversation with a police officer, it became clear that:
1. The government administration building is a specially protected site and photographing it is prohibited. When asked if there are any laws stating that, I received no answer.
2. It turned out that I had to get an advance permission for taking pictures. From who? I didn’t get an answer.
3. Also, there are multiple sites in Kolomna, that are prohibited to take pictures of, however, the list of the sites is classified. Apparently, the only way to find out where you can take photos is, after the fact of taking photos without permission, followed by an arrest of course.
I was kept in the local precinct for some time. They recorded my explanation of the incident, made a copy of my passport and released me. The policeman were polite though, while saying nonsense. I think that everyone should be concerned after my experience, especially tourists.
The video of the incident is available on YouTube.