Federal Migration Service (FMS) and its offices (UFMS) in Russia were created to make imigrants life harder. Honestly – I think this was made on purpose. It has to be difficult. ot everyone is welcome. Well … only few are welcome. Thoughest ones will survive, weak – will go to Europe. and this strategy is quite successful – there are not many foreigners here.

The first reason to visit mystery called UFMS was small mistake in registration form – one that You have to fill when entering country. Actually not You – Your host. So apart from migration card (small piece of paper that is probablythe first thing You will lose somewhere, and apparently – needed when leaving country) someone who is hosting You have to fill double sided a4 form without any mistakes and stamp it in UFMS or in post office (which I reccomend). I had mistake in registration form and as I wanted to get permision for living here I had to correct it. So – I was a bit afraid but also wanted to take part in this adventure, it should be fun!

Entrance to UFMS in common house. This is an office serving Nevsky District with population around 0,5 milion people

Situation 1

Citizen is coming to office. He has no slightest idea what to do, which queue should he stand in, at which door should he knock. He is trying to ask clercks from different rooms but they have their own important things, they don’t answer. Well, this wil be not so easy – he thought – but I will manage. He is taking best tactical position near the door that are opened by many clercks to increase his chances. Suddenly he sees his chance – long row of clerks is moving down the corridor right in his and his chosen doors direction. He is waving, asking – being suggestive and polite at one time but nothing happens – column is absorbed by closed territory of UFMS. Citizens sees his last chance in young girl – about 23 let’s say. Her eyes suggets that she would like to help, but! she have to stick to the herd, she cannot lean out. So she is dissapearing behind doors as well. Hope has gone. Unexpectadly doors are opening just for the width of head and she says: room number five! He is saved. My faith in humanity is saved as well.

Door – portal dividing humans and clercks.

Situation 2

Queue is shaped already. Today they invite from 2 pm, so when we came at 1:40 pm we got poor starting position. Queue is formed in classical way: You have to ask “who is last?”and when You rmember who is in front of You You can find Your place in tiny corridor.
Lady is coming. And going to door. Door that everyone is waiting for. Someone is gently telling her: excuse me, we’re all waiting.
– But there is my inspector there!
– It is our inspector as well, everyone is waiting.
– I am only for a minute.
– Everyone is for a minute.
Her eyes tells she is not going to give up. So the queue is giving up. Well, we will just stay for 105 minutes instead of 100.

Waiting room


Sytuacja 3

The Captain of the Queue. One women is sitting at the desk. Captain (large man with Caucasian look, one of this that will not let You go for 2 days feeding with lamb, wine and eggplant when You suddenly visit him) says to her:

– Give him Your place.

Her face became white – how come? I am now going to lose my place in queue? Why Captain? – her eyes are asking and she knows that she cannot say no to such kind and suggestive voice.

– Give him place at desk, he is writing, it is not comfortable without desk.

So it is only about place at desk! Thanks God!

– Sure, no problem.

Information on board – everything clear, isn’t it?

Situation 4

Women came.

– Who is last for room 5?

Someone is raisning hand.

– And all the others – You are going where?

Captain of the Queue asks:

– You’re prosecutor or what?

– No I have my own investigation.

– All right, that’s fine.

And queue is laughing.

Requirements for becoming Russian Federation Citizen

That is how it works on corridors of Nevsky UFMS. Seems like it is not funny – You have to stay in soviet queues, there’s n lace to sit, noone knows nothing, and if have even small mistake in docs they are sending You away. But everyone is supporting others. If there’s mother with child they are letting her go, boy or girl? oh, how preety he is and so on. They are sitting, discussing nails, sports, life, office adventures. They don’t know each other but here they start to make relationships. When someone has something hard to do they say good luck! and cheer him on as coach before match. When someone is leaving building they say good bye, it’s a pity, Your’e leaving. Time is running fast, althought it is count in hours not minutes.

When I wrote it first time in polish I thought – well I like it! I like that You can always be suported by someone here. It is better than bright, clean european office with well designed boards and information given with nice fonts, but without crowd willing to help You, with everyone just watching his back. Now, after spending tens of hours there I am not so enthusiastic but still – it is definately an adventure that can’t be replaced. But if You don’t have to enjoy it find some other interesting activities.

Cover photo: Rinat Voligamsi from “Snow” exhibition

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