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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Petersburg to Enforce Strict Rules for Visitors

St. Petersburg is to enforce registration laws for visitors similar to the measures implemented in Moscow, Mayor Anatoly Sobchak's office announced Wednesday.

Alexander Vinogradov, deputy head of the passport department of the St. Petersburg police, said the regulations affect all citizens of the former Soviet Union except for Latvians and Estonians, who need visas to enter Russia.

Russians arriving in St. Petersburg will have to register, but it is not clear whether they will have to pay a registration fee levied on non-Russians.

The new law gives visitors three days to register after their arrival.

The system is scheduled to be implemented by Dec. 1, but Vinogradov said the service will probably not be ready by then and that the registration procedure will be implemented in stages.

As in Moscow, the official reason given for the introduction of the bureaucratic registration procedure was crime committed by non-locals.

"The order for visitors to St. Petersburg to register", said Vinogradov, "is linked to rising crime, and is an indirect result of measures taken in Moscow".

He said that when the laws were introduced in the capital, "the criminals left Moscow, went and had a look around elsewhere, and decided to come to St. Petersburg".

Registration fees are much lower in St. Petersburg than in Moscow - non-residents will have to pay 5 percent of the minimum salary for each month they stay. In the capital visitors are supposed to pay 10 percent of the minimum wage for each day they stay in Moscow.

A Ukrainian coming to St. Petersburg for fewer than 45 days to stay with his sister, for example, will have to register with police; pay a fee at the bank; and then take an approval form from the police to the maintenance committee of the building where he is staying and register. Anyone refused registration faces deportation from the city.