Russian "shuttle traders," for whom the Polish authorities changed the border-crossing procedure, starting from the new year, held on Thursday an unsanctioned protest action at the border check point in the city of Bagrationovsk, Kaliningrad Region. Several dozens Russians took part in it. They learned about the changes when they already reached the border, and for that reason they had to cancel their trips to Poland. The emotional rebellion of the "shuttle traders", brought about by their irritation over the poorly coordinated actions of Russian and Polish frontier guards, developed into the spontaneous picketing of the highway. They blocked the way to Russia for Polish citizens, who had passed the border-crossing and customs control.
Tension on the Russian-Polish border is connected with a new procedure for crossing the border by Russian tourists. Prior to 1998, it was enough for those, who wished to go to Poland, to buy at one of the tourist firms on the territory of the Kaliningrad Region a so-called voucher, which was rather cheap. Starting from January 1, another voucher will be needed, which confirms the payment for a hotel and for tourist services made to Polish tourist firms, Tass learned at the press centre of the Kaliningrad frontier guard force. According to the information of the press centre, 313,000 Russian citizens cross the Russian-Polish border every three months. 89,000 of them go to Poland as tourists. At the same time, only 3 per cent of them are real tourists. The rest are "shuttle traders." The blocking of a comparatively free entrance to Poland for the purpose of buying goods means for the traders the undermining of the way to make their living, formed during the past several years. This is the reason for their spontaneous protest actions outside the border check point, which are on the verge of violating the law.
Along with the unsanctioned picketing, a consultative meeting of representatives of the frontier guard services of the two count ... Read more