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Commonwealth of St. Petersburg Guides: New Law on Tour Guides Hinders Russians and Breeds Impunity

The law on guides aimed to provide employment for Russians in the excursion market, but as a result, through amendments, it interferes with citizens and ensures impunity for employees from the “gray zones”. This opinion was expressed in a conversation with a Rosbalt correspondent by a member of the board of the Commonwealth of Professional Guides, Translators and Tour Guides of St. Petersburg Alexandra Mayak.

According to her, the organization actively proposed changes during the discussion of the document, which ideally should have prohibited foreigners from conducting excursions in Russia. However, all proposals were rejected, and the deputies were not even embarrassed by an independent legal examination, which revealed weaknesses in the text, the expert noted, adding that the reason for this was the lobby of commercial structures.

“Today the law allows fully, being in the legal field, to provide excursion services to persons who do not have citizenship and certification,” Mayak said.

In her opinion, this happened because of the wording that allows an exception to the rule “a guide – only a citizen of the Russian Federation with certification”, namely: “unless otherwise provided in international treaties” and “with the exception of representatives of religious organizations” – without specifying registration those on the territory of the Russian Federation.

“In the end, any of us can say that we are a member of the Order of the Witnesses of the Sun Bunnies and therefore does not fall under the law,” – ironically Mayak.

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She added that the original idea of ​​the law was to provide employment for Russian excursionists, which was also in line with international practice.

“Unfortunately, this document has grown to 42 pages, and as a result, for the citizens of the Russian Federation, it creates administrative barriers to access to the profession, and for those who worked in the black and gray zones, on the contrary, it leaves all opportunities to continue their activities with impunity,” she summed up expert.

Recall that the law was adopted in the third reading on April 7. The introduction of a unified federal register of tour guides and guide-translators is envisaged. According to the original idea, the positions were to be occupied only by citizens of the Russian Federation who passed certification.

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