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Ofis Space June 1, 2007
 
Getting Your Russian Work Permit
By Nancy Deal Browse author
 
 

You've already been through so much just getting your Russian corporate job, trying to fit in and figuring it all out. You may have thought the worst was over, but now that your three-month probation time is up and they haven't given you the boot, it's time for a new challenge: It's time to get legal. Time to get your work permit.

Or as we say in English, "Time to drop your pants!"

As you may have noticed, there has been a bit of an upswing in nationalistic sentiment in Russia lately, which means some Russians are hard at work to ensure strict compliance with laws that make things infinitely more complicated for foreigners. This means foreigners in general. It doesn't matter where you're from: You will be mercilessly swept into the same category as all of the illiterate gastarbeiters from the South.

This is when you find out what Russians really think about foreigners: that they are essentially a mass of bacterium and pose a threat to Russia's pure soul. Foreigners are, at best, all sex-addicted deviant junky lepers up to their short-hairs in venereal diseases. While this may hold true for roughly 43% of the British male expat community, this is certainly no reason to punish the rest of us.

Nevertheless, you're a Westerner, and in the West, sex has always existed. Not so in Russia. The topic of sex was taboo for ages, conveyed only by a series of dots in novels or a subtle cough-coughing in speech. Special tactics were used in order to ensure the continuation of the Russian people without sexual intercourse. For more than 50 years, Russian babies emerged magically from soulful, spiritual Russians seeking the meaning of life. Meanwhile, all of those hedonists in evil capitalist societies were popping pills and porking like there was no tomorrow. And in their infinite sin they developed The Six Signs: HIV, Chlamydia, Tuberculosis, Syphilis, the Clap, and, of course, Leprosy. The same six diseases we all have to get checked for if we want to be legal in Russia.

Come here, you migrant worker, and pee in this jar! You must be tested for these Six Signs and prove that you are Pure enough, worthy enough to work in Russia. You must also undergo a drug test. This may seem somewhat hypocritical, since drug addiction is rife and the HIV infection rate in Russia is accelerating at such a furious pace it makes Africa look like a great place to have unprotected sex (with super beaches, too!). But you see, it was not Russians that brought the plagues of drug addiction or sexually transmitted diseases upon themselves. Oh, no. It all happened when the Westerners came, flooding the land with the Clap, HIV, drug addiction and... leprosy? Say what?

Yes, leprosy. While most international experts agree that leprosy is no longer a threat to civilization, Russian folk science has demonstrated that some Russians may contract leprosy as a result of contact with foreigners. Russians are experts on the diagnosis of leprosy despite the noticeable lack of armadillos. Armadillos, you see, are the only other animal susceptible to leprosy, and so are used by those wacky scientists in far-away lands to perform leprosy testing, which is practically never done these days due to the outright dearth of leprosy in far-away lands. But Russians don't need all that newfangled science to diagnose leprosy. They'll just ask you to drop your pants and raise your shirt, and they'll know. Kinda like Santa Claus, they always know.

Now, if you are lucky enough to be an expat high roller, do yourself a favor and dish out the cash for the whole work permit package at a Western clinic. After all, isn't your dignity worth 400 euros? Having had a taste of both ends of the spectrum, I can say that while it may bruise the wallet, the price tag at Western clinics is nothing compared to the emotional and psychological scarring you will receive for considerably less money at Russian work-permit-oriented Meditsinskie Kliniki.


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