The State Duma adopted a law that jeopardized the author’s excursions

In a little over a year – from July 1, 2022 – Russian citizenship and special certification will be required to conduct excursions in Russia. Tour guides and guides-translators will have to confirm their qualifications every five years – in fact, take an exam for the right to work in a specific region. The new rules jeopardize the whole sector of author’s local history excursions and trips, many spoke about this even at the stage of discussion of the bill – and yet the law was adopted.

Special commissions, which have yet to be created in each constituent entity of the Russian Federation, will have the right to certify guides-translators and tour guides. Those who have received the “rights” will be entered into the Unified Federal Register of Tour Guides and Guides-Translators (a separate register will be created for instructors-guides in the field of sports tourism). The registers will be kept by Rosturizm, and replenished by regional government bodies.

At the moment, nothing is known about how the certification of the guides will be monitored, what are the criteria for the excursion (for example, is a walk with friends through architectural monuments considered such?), What will threaten uncertified guides. An employee of Rostourism explained to MK that the law is of a framework nature, and the details of its implementation will be determined by bylaws. Which, presumably, will have to be developed and approved by the end of this year. It is here – as in the case of the law on the regulation of educational activities, recently signed by the president – that the real regulatory work unfolds, where there is room for discussion (already non-public) and even bargaining.

One of the parties to this discussion has already expressed directly and unequivocally about the dangers of such regulation of excursion activities. Local historians, art historians, experts in a number of other areas, conducting author’s trips and excursions, from the very beginning insisted, at least, on the possibility of federal certification of guides and tour guides – otherwise, the time and money spent on preparing complex tours in several regions is beyond reason. Simply put, such author’s tours should be taken into account in the draft law as another type of excursions – but this was not done.

“They don’t hear us and don’t want to hear us,” says art critic, member of the Society for the Study of the Russian Estate Andrei Chekmarev. – Looks like we are showing the wrong country … The task of a properly motivated trip around Russia is to buy Khokhloma, get drunk mead and sacredly believe that, for example, Vyatskoye is indeed the most beautiful village, since nothing is more beautiful in life. …. Get ready, lovers of domestic tourism, for an exceptionally pleasant and positive perception of the Motherland – in the spirit: “Hello, dear guests, the blessed land of Kaluga / Tambov / Tverskaya / Orlovskaya … greets you with jokes and jokes, cabbage soup, bast shoes yes kokoshniks “…

– Now I will not be able to go with a member of the Union of Russian Guides, a specialist in railways Yuri Yegorov, to explore these very railways, and with art scholars Chekmarev and Slezkin to look at the ruined estates of the Voronezh region, writes the historian and specialist in French culture Inna Dulkina. – But now, with a high probability, I am both in Torzhok and in Rybinsk, and further everywhere will be met by a guide who will happily read out a bravura text about how many fishermen, barge haulers and gold seamstresses they have, spiers, columns and domes. This optimistic perspective makes me cry …

Several local lore scholars conducting their own excursions told the MK correspondent that they did not plan to undergo certification even in their “native” region – including Moscow – because they consider this procedure humiliating. The main reason is that the subject of highly specialized author’s excursions is almost always familiar to the author better than any possible composition of “examiners”. And the guides-authors consider it an unreasonable waste of time to teach for the sake of obtaining certification a corpus of general information necessary for a sightseeing tour: after all, they do not deal with sightseeing tours.

“We will look for loopholes and hope that no mass repressions are planned along this line,” one of the organizers of the author’s excursions around Moscow told MK. – In general, if obtaining certification for Moscow is really mandatory, local historians, of course, will be able to get it. But we hope that it will not come to this.

The second side to this discussion is the part of the tourism industry that is interested in the new rules. First of all, we are talking about guides and tour guides from the regions, hoping to intercept the powerful flow of tourists from the capital. And the question here is not only economic, but also ideological: very often residents of a particular region and Muscovites have very different views on what should be considered attractions, and what, on the contrary, should be ashamed of.

“I have been on excursions of Moscow groups several times without introducing myself to my colleagues,” Tatiana V., a tour guide from Yaroslavl, told MK. – Sometimes it was just a shame, to be honest. I am ashamed in front of the tourists for the dismissive attitude of the guide to our region. I studied the history of art, I understand the guides’ striving for authenticity, but in practice it turns out that tourists “look for fleas”, with cameras stuck around the most abandoned, emergency buildings. The image of the city is created completely perverse. The glory of some bloggers who create videos like “What’s wrong with Yaroslavl” clearly haunts many. And this, I think, really needs to be somehow controlled, because now we are talking about building a tourist brand of cities, regions, and we are all in a sense competing with each other here.

Attempts to establish a dialogue in the community of guides without the mediation of the authorities have been made – recently, for example, the Union of Russian Guides was created – but it seems that they were late. Taking advantage of the disagreement that arose for natural reasons in the environment, the state entered the excursion “clearing” as an arbitrator. And there is nothing to be surprised that it judges the way it is convenient for itself.

Published in the newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomolets” No. 28514 of April 8, 2021

Newspaper headline:
Strangers don’t drive here

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