Putin’s spokesman compares British embassies and Russian dry cleaners

UK embassy in Moscow
Vladimir Putin’s Press Secretary said in a letter to the Guardian newspaper that Russian authorities would work to cut red tape in the country but the UK must also pay attention to the excessive bureaucracy practiced by its embassy in Moscow.

Dmitry Peskov's letter was a reply to the recent article by the Guardian’s reporter Miriam Elder, entitled “The hell of Russian bureaucracy”, in which the journalist complained that Russian life is still overwhelmed by red tape and illustrated her point with personal story of a 40-minutes of form filling at a dry cleaners.

Peskov replied in his letter that the Russian government understood the problem and had listed cutting red tape as a high priority. The official added that there is already some progress and some foreign businessmen who work in Russia can testify to it.

Peskov went on to give another example of excessive bureaucracy claiming that thousands of hours are "stolen" from Russian citizens when they complete the UK's 10-page visa application forms. “The time, money, effort and inconvenience that Russians face in obtaining UK visas put Ms Elder's ordeal into perspective,” the press secretary wrote.

This was not the first time Putin’s Press Secretary wrote a letter to foreign media to protect the country’s reputation. In 2010 Peskov addressed the Times correspondent Richard Beeston saying his fear of a return of the USSR were absurd and wondered if the author really believed that “Russia questions the sovereignty of the Baltic states.”