A friend of mine was selling his car a few months ago, and one of the potential buyers wanted to check the underneath of the vehicle for rust… or bombs or something like that, I don’t know.
So he drove them out of town to a service spot with a ramp and they performed the necessary inspection. Thus satisfied they headed back, but missed a one way sign and took the wrong direction down a slip road back to the main carriageway. My friend noticed before he rejoined the road and turned around, but it was too late. They’d been spotted by the cops, who stopped them and demanded 20,000 roubles (about £200 in those glorious halcyon pre-Brexit times). [slight pause with a (not purely) nostalgic tear in my eye]
This was clearly a stupidly high price to pay, and eventually the cop relented and asked for 5,000 rub (roubles, not 5,000 massages). My friend only had 2,000 on him at the time, but the cop said that it wasn’t possible to take less than 3,000 for such a crime, so he had to go cap-in-hand to ask the people buying the car if they had 1,000 roubles, which he promised to knock off the price.
He tried to hand the money to the policeman who flatly refused it, explaining that they were being filmed on the police car dash-cam. Instead he handed my friend an old copy of the Russian equivalent of the highway code, and told him to slip the money in there.
Bribe Transaction completed they were allowed to go on about their business.
Apparently this kind of corruption is still such a problem here in Russia (despite high profile campaigns to stamp it out), that drivers can subscribe to a service for just such an eventuality. If asked for a ‘donation’, the driver says that he has no money, but will call his (or her) uncle who will bring it. When the ‘uncle’ arrives, they record the whole thing and the cops get busted. Retribution, yay!
Anyway, more recently I was on a road trip with some other friends and we got pulled over by the cops for overtaking. Not a crime, but when it was clear that the driver wasn’t going to give them money, the cops said they would give him a ticket and he would have to go to court and lose his licence.
This friend said that he would happily go to court as his mother was a judge, which apparently made the cops very polite, and after 20 minutes by the roadside we were allowed to go on our way without paying them off.
A little later though, the driver was acting a little strange, and refused to stop until we had left the district/county/state/whatever. We asked why and he said that he’d told the police that we were only going to the next town… and if we got stopped again having passed it the cops might start to question a bit deeper.
“Why did you tell them that? We didn’t do anything wrong, and we’re perfectly within our rights to drive wherever we want.”
“Oh, when I start to lie I can’t stop.”
He’d also lied about where he worked, and I’m still not sure if his mum really is a judge… I mean, why not tell them about the immigrants you are transporting and the dead hooker in the boot (or trunk if you can only speak American and not English)…
Although if a judge’s son has more power than the cops then he’d probably have gotten away with that too… And of course the bit about the hooker was a joke. She wasn’t quite dead.
So absolute power must… Well at least there isn’t anyone in Russia with tha… Oh, hang on.