The British blogger loved to travel in the former USSR. Why now Russia has “canceled” Blogger Benjamin Rich – from vlogs from trips around Russia to interrogation at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and a ban on entry

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48-year-old British blogger Benjamin Rich, on the internet Mr. Bald or Bald and Bankrupt became popular in YouTube video hosting because of its clear view of Russia. He regularly posted videos from his travels to the regions of Russia and the countries of the former USSR.

He uttered that once a teacher at school had instilled in him a love of Russia.

“My journey started 30 years ago thanks to teacher Anna from Tomsk. He instilled in me a love for the Russian language, ”Rich said in one of the videos.

Since then, he has learned Russian, with which he constantly communicates with residents of various regions and cities of Russia. The blogger did not shy away from trips to towns and villages.

He happily traveled on trains, drinking with passengers in dining cars and greeting taxis, asking drivers about the country’s history and local attractions.

Briton also actively showed architectural monuments in his videos. During his journeys by train, he constantly got off the train and spent 5-10 minutes at different stations.

Rich admitted that he liked the Soviet style of the buildings and the way they were decorated. He did not refuse the Soviet residential buildings, which he met in many countries of the former USSR.

A blogger once took a private taxi from the train station to the building in Kiev to find a mosaic panel he had only seen in books and on the internet until then.

The driver assisted the Briton in finding a seemingly insignificant mosaic. He explained that this Soviet panel was valuable to him, as it was dedicated to the history of Ukraine after the end of the Great Patriotic War.

“It has remained the same bright and colorful for years! Much better than looking in a Google search engine. And it didn’t hurt in any way, how beautiful! – noted the blogger enthusiastically. He expressed concern that over time, Ukrainian officials might abandon such panels to distance themselves from the Soviets.

The blogger managed to visit all the country-republics of the former USSR and travel around the most populated region of Russia, as he ran the channel for many years.

Taking the train from St. Petersburg via the Urals and Siberia, he made his dream come true, stopping for just one day in several cities along the way to see the sights and interact with the residents.

Meeting with a police officer

But at the moment, the blogger no longer comes to Russia. Rich claims he was banned from entering the country for three years. According to him, such a decision was made by the Birobidzhansky District Court in the Jewish Autonomous District (JAO).

“As I was walking towards the station, police officer Yekaterina approached me. He asked me to go to the station with him. There I was put in a cell for a few days, and then they immediately took me to court, ”she said.

Presumably, the foreign citizen was detained in the temporary detention center under the Ministry of Interior and remained there until the court session. The blogger did not specify what charges were brought against him, but assured that immediately after that he would have to leave Russia as soon as possible.

“I was found guilty at the meeting. One of the penalties is a ban on visiting Russia. For three years from the date of the sentence, ”the blogger reported.

According to the court’s decision, the blogger, Article 20.3.3 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses. (public acts aimed at discrediting the Russian Armed Forces, not containing signs of criminally punishable action). The article states that if a violation is confirmed, citizens must pay an administrative fine from 30,000 to 50,000 rubles.

Before this event, the blogger was caught on the territory of Baikonur, where access is prohibited.

That’s right, then Rich claimed he finally got away with it and even posted a video on his channel about the Buran spacecraft. It was enough to pay a fine of 50 dollars (3.8 thousand rubles at the current exchange rate) in Baikonur, as the British explained.

The network also posted a video of Rich being questioned by the Home Office. Judging by the content, the blogger’s posts on social networks criticizing the military operation became the reason for his arrest.

When communicating with the security guard, the blogger, on the contrary, speaks in support of Russia, describing the military operation.

“In the West, our media pressures people to oppose Russia and your president. It affected me too,” he said during interrogation, telling a police officer about his previous posts.

At the same time, Rich admitted that “there is no freedom of speech” on YouTube. According to him, the video hosting management sent a letter stating that “it is impossible to show the opinion of Russia or the Donbass” about the military operation, under the threat of disabling monetization of videos.

In the comments, many viewers felt that the blogger was trying to minimize the risk of getting a heavier sentence than being deported in this way. In their view, Rich may actually have a different view of Russia’s actions.

Russian ban

As a result, the blogger announced to the public that, after all, he “can no longer visit Russia”, and in this context, he changed the topic of the channel. Now Rich publishes videos about Asian and Latin American countries.

His avatar still speaks of his admiration for Russia and the Soviet Union. It depicts a sickle and a hammer, and the colors red and gold were chosen for decoration.

The Briton complained that he was one of the few who continued to post positive videos about Russia abroad, even after the start of the military operation. He stated that he tried to persuade his foreign friends to go to Russia for many years.

“My friend James refused to go to Russia during the 2018 World Cup. He was afraid that Russian fans would attack him for an English jersey. Rich reassured him that the Russians would rather ask him for a selfie than attacking him for no reason,” he said.

According to him, it was not possible to convince a friend and remained in England for the duration of the tournament.

“He would certainly read all kinds of newspapers like the Daily Mail. But at the same time, even if a very intelligent man like James had such a view on Russia, God knows how many more people around the world had the same erroneous view,” he said.

According to him, the YouTube channel was created precisely with the aim of changing the view of people around the world about Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union. He also expressed the opinion that the decision to ban entry to Russia was a mistake that would spoil the image of the country for foreign audiences.

“I have a feeling that no country in the world enjoys shooting itself in the foot like Russia does. I was the only one who was not afraid on the Internet and continued to show Russia positively: how cool people are here, how beautiful it is here. And it’s banned! Rich noted.

But the British assured him that he “learned to be a man” during his trips to Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union. “I’m not going to complain and cry about it. I will be fine,” he added.

As a result, he reached Estonian territory, crossing the Russian border on foot. “Thank you Russian people! You are the best)! I think my last words will be: See you soon and in honor of the USSR!” – Rich finished his speech in the land of Narva.

USSR fan Benjamin Rich, a blogger from the UK, posted videos on YouTube about his trips to Russia. A lover of communication in Russia and train travel, the British have always had a positive view of the countries of the former Soviet Union. But due to the decision of the authorities, he had to “cancel” Russia and never come here again. How the blogger got to the isolation ward, he was interrogated in the police department and what he is doing now – in the socialbites.ca material.



Source: Gazeta

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