In the aftermath of the twin bombings in Volgograd before the New Year's holiday [GV article], Russia’s Transportation Ministry has revised its rules on what airline passengers can bring on board. The previous rules resembled American regulations, banning any liquid containers over 100ml. The new rules forbid liquids in any volume. Russia’s Transportation Ministry [ru] released on statement on January 8, 2014, asking passengers to understand and cooperate.
Prominent photo-blogger Ilya Varlamov noted:
Это не первое ужесточение правил провоза жидкостей. С 2007 года запретили провозить на борту самолета больше 100 мл, а теперь всю жидкость, то есть нельзя провозить вообще ничего, даже зубную пасту.
This is not the first tightening of the rules for transporting liquids. Since 2007, they've banned bringing more than 100ml onto the aircraft, and now it applies to all liquids, i.e. you cannot bring anything, even toothpaste.
He then warned his readers to be careful and provided details about the regulations at different airports.
Blogger Sergei Anashkevitch found the ban confusing:
Но я одного не могу понять – а в чем вообще проблема жидкостей на борту самолета??? Почему с этим такая истерия? Даже с объемом больше 100 мл?
Так скоро запретят провозить ремни, шнурки, наушники и т.д. Список может быть бесконечным.
Чем мешают жидкости?
But there is one thing that I don’t understand—what is the main problem with liquids on board a plane??? Why is there such hysteria? Even with a volume greater than 100ml?
Soon they will ban belts, shoelaces, headphones, and so on. The list could be endless.
Why are they bothered by liquids?
Anton Buslov joked:
В целях безопасности в РФ с 08.01.14 авиапассажиров будут перевозить исключительно в состоянии медикаментозного сна в смирительных рубашках.
— Антон Буслов (@astroaist) January 8, 2014
For security reasons, starting on January 8, 2014, airline passengers in Russia will be transported only in a state of induced coma, in straitjackets.
In his blog at Echo of Moscow, Matvei Ganapolsky [ru] defended the authorities’ new rules, saying that the inconvenience of security measures is worth the peace of mind he feels when he flies. However, he noted that there are apparently exceptions to the new rule, with authorities granting certain special requests. Given this, he wondered how meaningful the new rules are, if there exceptions are possible
Моя эховская коллега просила провести ушные капли – ей разрешили, но в виде исключения. Вот так и получается, что вообще–то нельзя, но если очень попросишь, то разрешат. Но если разрешают, то значит, нарушают – это к вопросу об осмысленности принятых решений.
My colleague from Echo asked to carry on ear drops, and she was allowed, but as an exception. And so it turns out that it is not allowed, but if you really ask, it is allowed. But if they are allowing it, this means that they are violating [their own policy]. This raises questions about how much sense the authorities’ decisions make.
Maxim Kononenko [ru] reminded his readers that the authorities are just “playing catch–up” again, and cast doubt on the claim that such measures are necessary. He alleged that airline regulators are only acting to protect their careers, if a another terrorist attack does take place.
Max Katz [ru] thought the ban was the result of hysteria in the wake of the twin bombings in Volgograd. Katz also claims that a liquids alone would be insufficient to destroy an airplane, and wrote a public letter to Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev conveying this complaint.
The authorities at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow released a statement [ru] on January 11, 2014, advising passengers that they can still purchase liquid items in Duty Free shops, after they pass through the security checkpoint. The announcement ends:
Просим вас с пониманием относиться к новым правилам досмотра пассажиров сотрудниками служб авиационной безопасности.
We ask you to be sensitive to the new rules of passenger-screening by aviation security personnel.
Time will tell if the new rules will have any impact on safety before or during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, beginning on February 7. For now, it appears that all the regulations have done so far is make the Russian blogosphere even more upset with the authorities.