Drunk Driving as a Tourist Attraction in Abkhazia

Here’s a little story we picked up on the RIA Novosti tourism news website. A significant part of the income of Russia’s new client statelet, Abkhazia, comes from the Russian tourists who visit the balmy shores of the Black Sea. Since they are considerably wealthier than their hosts, they are easy marks for the local traffic police, who stop them with their white batons at every turn to shake them down for a few hundred rubles – payable on the spot – for various petty traffic infractions, real or imagined. Well, no more. Russian motorists will now enjoy the same sort of immunity drivers of diplomatic vehicles do – they will be able to speed, ignore traffic signals, and drive drunk in Abkhazia with complete impunity. Abkazia’s president revealed that this is all part of some exotic and previously unheard-of police mandate to “help people”. We predict a sharp rise in traffic deaths this summer.

Bagapsh prohibits Abkhazian police from stopping cars with RF license plates

SUKHUMI, 29 apr – RIA Novosti. President of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh has given an instruction to the head of the Ministry of internal affairs of the republic not to stop cars with Russian license plates without weighty grounds for this.

“I did not give the command to the minister of the MVD for noparticular reason – the command not to stop cars with Russian licenseplates. Not one car. If I see or I catch [any policeman doing this] -I’ll kick [him] out from work right away”, – reported he in aconversation with Russian journalists.

Bagapsh explained his decision by saying that Russia puts very muchinto the development of Abkhazia and the republic must do all it can topromote the development of tourism and to attract Russian citizens.

“People come here to rest and they leave their money here. Thismoney goes into the budget and for salary for employees of the MVD. Oneneeds to help (citizens) – in this is the sense of the work of anemployee of the MVD, and not in squeezing 200-300 rubles because of [amotorist not using] a turn signal; this must be fought against”, – he isconvinced. In the words of the head of the republic, if a person hascommitted some kind of serious violation “or has killed”, then he,naturally, must answer for his deeds.