Just got a story from a friend of a friend of Anne Nivat, a French journalist specializing in hot zones, about her eviction from Russia on February 12 2012. The cited reason was that her type of visa (business) did not match what she was actually doing (work). At the moment the story is all over Russian news but not a mentioning of the incident in response to a Google search in English.
Another uncomfortable report, received earlier today, was from a client, a journalist from the US, who sent me an e-mail saying that her registration slip was subjected to previously unseen scrutiny.
The moral I guest is (a) to do your registration despite the hassle and cost and (b) not to stay where you are registered so that the authorities will not come to you unexpectedly in the middle of the night.
If the trend continues soon you’ll be able to visit this place only as a member of an Intourist group. Red Square, Diamond Chamber, Novodevichy, Bolshoi, and the Golden Ring for the adventurous. This sort of tourism. Two KGB officers per group led by an Inyaz guide. Use your chance to travel to Russia now, while the police state hasn’t yet asserted its full influence.
What’s this famous registration?
Every traveller is supposed to be registered to an address within seven days of arrival. There are stories on how you can register yourself but no, this is not doable. A hotel can register you but it will often do that for an extra fee if it is a cheap one and/or for the duration of your stay. A private person can also do that at any migration office or by filling out a form at the post office. However, once you are registered, you are free to travel all you like within the country. There are nuances but for an average tourist registering once for the entire trip is enough. But those who belong to the undesirable category (journalists, humanitarians, members of NGOs) should take extra care..