August 27, 2012

Prince Harry and The Rules

Writing about web page

What happened in Vegas should have stayed there, but somehow it was allowed out and got away.

Back home, the nation is divided. Some think Prince Harry let us down. Others think he was doing what comes naturally to a healthy twenty-something with more money than sense -- and good luck to him.

The first lot apparently includes the senior members of the royal family. A source told a Mirror journalist:

This situation [the prince's partying in a Vegas hotel] has been embarrassing for the royals and particularly disappointing since they had been successfully building Harry’s image as a serious royal and ambassador for the Queen.

Prince Charles probably wishes he could put the same kind of armlock on his younger son that the Soviet state put onto every Soviet citizen that was send abroad. Recently I looked up the rules that were issued to all Soviet tourists before they were allowed to leave the country. These rules were approved from time to time by the communist party leadership.

I've pasted the version approved in August 1979 below (scroll down to the end). These rules were published a few years ago in a book of Soviet-era documents. It's not my translation. I put the Russian text through Google translate and corrected the preamble. The result is a bit rough but the spirit is clear enough.

There were 25 rules. They covered everything from not leaving government documents in your hotel room to what to do if a strange woman entered your sleeping compartment on the night train.

Here is some context that might help:

  • No Soviet citizen could travel abroad on their own initiative, whether for tourism or for any other purpose. You had to get permission, which meant entering into a multi-stage process of examination and disclosure of all aspects of your life, thoughts, and habits. This examination took weeks or months; you could fail the inspection at any stage and never know why.
  • Only if you passed the process would they trust you with knowledge of the rules. For the rules were a government secret, which you were shown and had to sign for on the eve of departure.
  • On successfully obtaining permission, you did not then "go" abroad; the government was "sending" you. As the rules below conclude (this is my translation):

The state, party, and social organizations of the Soviet Union sending Soviet citizens abroad are showing great trust in them. Soviet people are obligated to justify this trust by fulfilling their administrative duties and by irreproachable behaviour. Failure to comply with the rules of conduct abroad should be considered as a breach of public duty and of state discipline.

  • If you went, you did not go alone. Every Soviet tourist group and delegation included one or more KGB officers and informers, travelling under cover; their job was to keep an eye on the others.
  • If you misbehaved while out of the country, there would be consequences. On your return, you would be reported and interviewed. Most likely, you'd never be allowed out of the country again. There was one escape route: Rule 20 states:

The Soviet citizen who makes an individual mistake in work or conduct must not conceal it and is obligated immediately to report the incident to his supervisor.

In other words, if you made an honest mistake that was not too serious, and you owned up and helped to mitigate its consequences, there was a slim chance you'd be let off the hook.

  • One thing not in the rules: if you tried to escape the consequences of breaking the rules by taking refuge in a foreign country, you became a traitor, so your family would become the family of a traitor. They would have to disown you or share the price of your treason. Either way, you lost them forever.

If Prince Harry had known the rules, and been frightened enough to stick to them, nothing would have happened in Vegas. Specifically:

  • Harry would have known it was not "his" trip; while travelling, it was his job to promote his country's foreign policy (Rule 1).
  • He'd have known that the enemy is always planning to eavesdrop, engage in secret surveillance, and use the results to deceive and discredit (Rule 4).
  • He'd have known that you can't trust "guides and interpreters, doctors, teachers, tailors, vendors, taxi drivers, waiters, hairdressers and other service personnel" (including hotel staff) (Rule 4), any of whom are likely to be working for the enemy (the press in this case).
  • He'd have known that he should match his expenditure with his means, not incur obligations to others by accepting hospitality or gifts from them (Rule 13), and specifically avoid gambling and casinos (Rule 14).

But the history of Soviet tourism tells us that rules alone are not enough to guarantee good behaviour; fear of consequences was the key. Sometimes even fear was not enough, because Soviet tourists did sometimes give in to temptation.

In this case Prince Harry is third in line to the British throne; can we credibly threaten to consign him to oblivion if he misbehaves? Can we sanction his father or brother if he overstays his leave?

To conclude: you can send people far away and still control their conduct by terrifying them with the consequences of misbehaviour. It's hard to do it any other way. The price of living in a free society is that some young men will go abroad and behave badly.

You can criticise the House of Windsor for its privilege and lack of morals, but it looks like Harry will have fun, fun, fun 'till his Daddy takes the T-bird away.

* * *

Here are the rules that were adopted by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union central committee on August 17, 1979, courtesy of Google translate:


Appendix to item 3s [secret], draft resolution № 167

BASIC RULES of conduct of Soviet citizens visiting the capitalist and developing countries

Soviet citizens who migrate to capitalist and developing countries should be guided by:

1. Soviet foreign policy aims to create favorable international conditions for the building of communism, to strengthen the unity and cohesion of the socialist countries, to support the people's struggle for national and social liberation and to fully cooperate with the newly independent states, consistently the principles of peaceful coexistence between countries with different social systems, to deliver humanity of global thermonuclear war. Soviet citizens while abroad, must be an active proponent of the foreign policy of the Soviet Union.

Soviet man, remember that high moral and political qualities, great love for the Soviet motherland, faithful to the principles of proletarian internationalism, the constant vigilance during their stay abroad will contribute to the successful implementation of its objectives, to protect it from enemy provocations and intrigues.

2. While abroad in any part of the work entrusted to him, a Soviet citizen must uphold the honor and dignity of citizens of the USSR, in strict moral code of the builder of communism, faithfully perform their duties and assignments to be un-blameworthy in their personal behavior, consistently defend the political, economic and other interests of the Soviet Union, strictly to keep state secrets.

3. During his stay abroad Soviet nationals, using the opportunities and explain the peaceful foreign policy of the Soviet state to the Soviet-achieving people in the development of economy, science, culture and other areas of building communism.

Soviet citizens should actively use their facilities for the study of international experience, and all that could be useful for the development of the economy of the Soviet Union.

4. While abroad, constant political vigilance, remember that the intelligence agencies of the capitalist countries and their agents seeking from Soviet citizens interested in their information, compromise the Soviet man, when it suits them, up to the inducement to treason. For this purpose, intelligence imperialist countries, using modern techniques, methods of eavesdropping, secret surveillance and photography, as well as methods of deception, blackmail, fraud and intimidation. Capitalist intelligence agents are often under the guise of guides and interpreters, doctors, teachers, tailors, vendors, taxi drivers, waiters, hairdressers and other service personnel.

Intelligence agencies in capitalist countries tend to exploit such weaknesses and individuals, as a tendency to alcohol, for easy communication with women, gambling, purchase of various things, and the inability to live within our means, and carelessness, indiscretion, carelessness and negligence in the storage official and personal documents.

To avoid possible provocations in the case of attempts on the part of anyone else to offer information, supposedly of interest to the Soviet Union, or attempting to engage in obtaining such information to exercise due restraint, not to accept any proposals and report to the head of the Soviet establishment.

In order to protect the citizens of the Soviet secret service possible provocations in a number of capitalist countries have sovposolstv Assistant Ambassador for safety. Must promptly inform the Assistant Ambassador on his contacts with foreigners, whose actions are unfriendly toward our country in nature, as well as other facts hostility to the Soviet Union and the case for action to ensure the safety of overseas Soviet people.

Given all this, the Soviet citizens should behave in such a way as not to give occasion to use foreign intelligence itself in its interests. At the same time, Soviet citizens who are abroad, do not have to stay closed and arrogant towards the citizens of the country. Reasonable sociability of the Soviet people, combined with high political vigilance is necessary for the proper conduct of Soviet citizens abroad.

5. Before the departure of the Soviet Union abroad should:

well understand the goals and objectives of the mission and get the necessary instructions to the sending organization on issues of the work;

acquainted with the basic facts about the country: its political and state system, domestic and foreign policy, relations with the Soviet Union;

more familiar with the route to the place of destination;

get a passport, see for yourself, there is sufficient period of validity, whether it entry and transit visas to remember their validity;

receive payment-certificate, permission to currency export and, where necessary medical certification standard pattern stamped on vaccinations.

When going abroad for a period of three months to hand over to the appropriate organization of the Party, Komsomol and trade union fees. Get the adhesive stamps and on arrival in the country to stand up to the party, Komsomol and trade union in the Soviet foreign office records. Not to bring personal documents, except those required to travel to your destination. All private and non-public documents and materials required to work abroad, to surrender to the sending organization to send them to the destination. Unclassified documents, office supplies and other materials needed to work abroad, you can take it only with permission of the sending organization.

Should have with addresses and phone numbers of embassies and consulates of the Soviet Union, along the way, so that, if necessary, you can refer to these institutions for advice, and if necessary - for assistance and adequate protection. If seconded sent to a country where there is no embassy, consulate or other representative of the USSR, he should have the address and phone numbers of the embassy, mission or consulate of a State representing the interests of the Soviet Union in the country.

6. Before traveling abroad should be familiar to the ministry, department or central office, through which the trips abroad, the customs regulations of the USSR, and strictly abide by them.

When you move the boundaries of foreign countries, as well as in transit through their territory to the destination comply with relevant laws and regulations of the border control, health and customs authorities. At the request of representatives of the border to bring your passport for verification. Before leaving the checkpoint does not forget to get your passport back.

At the request of the representatives of Customs show things, baggage, without giving a reason for the charge of concealing anything in particular to bring foreign currency. If the inspection of luggage will be asked to pay customs duty, it must be paid, and for this currency priotsutstvii take a receipt for the items left in the customs, without entering into a dispute.

In the case of personal search border or customs authorities, without conflict, to declare verbal protest. During the search to make sure that does not have thrown any documents or materials in the provocation. In all cases, the seizure of objects when viewed from demand of act or issue a receipt showing where, when and by whom were made inspection and seizure of objects.

If verification of documents and examination of things and luggage representatives of border and customs authorities will allow offensive, politically hostile attacks and other actions should be required to immediately stop them, drawing attention to the inadmissibility of such behavior by the authorities.

At the first opportunity of the facts the search, seizure of objects, abusive behavior on the part of foreign border and customs authorities should inform the nearest embassy, consulate or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, just stating the time and place of the facts occurred, and, if possible, the names, positions, or what , or other signs of the perpetrators of such acts.

Currency exchanges are made only in Soviet organizations or with the assistance of Soviet foreign institutions in the banking institutions of the host country.

Note. According to paragraph 6 of the rights of Soviet citizens traveling abroad with a diplomatic passport, are guided by specific instructions, the Soviet Foreign Ministry.

7. In route to the destination on the train, by boat or plane with strangers satellites should stay politely and correctly, showing to them the necessary vigilance. If the sleeping compartment (cabin) will be one outside person of the opposite sex, you need to request a transfer to another compartment.

Do not be distracted towards his things and do not rely on strangers satellites. Money, passport and other documents to keep always with you in a safe place. Do not leave your passport and other documents in the hotel rooms, cabins, compartments and other places even for a short time.

Do not give a casual acquaintance of his address, phone number, etc.

For every kind of trip ticket inquiries and seek advice to officials.

In the case of an unexpected delay in the way, resulting in the visa may be overdue, the passport shall be left at the nearest embassy or consulate of the Soviet Union to extend the visa.

In transit through the countries with which the USSR has no diplomatic relations, it is forbidden to go to stop the train, ship or go to the airport.

8. Upon arrival to your destination seconded required to register at the Soviet embassy or consulate, and on leaving the country home - struck off the register. If it is not possible to appear in person at the embassy or consulate, you must inform them of their arrival in the country and out of it over the phone or by letter.

The embassy or consulate should be familiar with the established in this country by the laws and rules governing the rights and duties of foreigners, and strictly comply with them. With respect to the customs and traditions of the peoples of the national of the host country, so as not to give rise to local authorities and hostile to the Soviet Union of the Soviet citizen accused elements in "hostile acts", in the "interference in internal affairs" or "indecent acts" in relation to a given country or its citizens.

It is also necessary to obtain clarification on the situation in the country, the Council on the device in the hotel, on the order of registration of residence in respect of medical care, food and all other emerging issues.

Seconded must keep in mind that staying permit in private homes and take in hiring foreigners for personal services shall be permitted only in exceptional circumstances with the permission of the Embassy or Consulate of the USSR.

9. At a hotel or a private apartment is prohibited:

a) to arrange official meetings on matters not subject to disclosure, and make telephone calls on these issues, discuss the characteristics and behavior of Soviet people. Production meetings should be held at the embassy, consulate or trade mission to other devices for these purposes;

b) maintain official documents or notes;

c) to keep foreign communist literature and newspapers (in those countries where there is no free sale of literature and newspapers).

If the country of residence of Soviet literature and newspapers in the free market are not available, these publications can be sent to local citizens on request only with the permission of the head of the Soviet establishment.

10. All correspondence with the ministries and departments of the USSR, as well as letters to relatives and friends should be sent through the embassy or consulate of the USSR. Since all correspondence is usually seen bodies-eign intelligence and data of these letters can be used to the detriment of our country and the very sender, sending telegrams and letters through the postal agency of the host country is not recommended and can be made only in exceptional cases.

11. Remembering that the intelligence agencies of the capitalist countries often use international conferences and meetings, conferences and scientific symposia, talks on issues of trade, economic, scientific, cultural and other ties to scouting secret information, Soviet citizens should exercise caution and report with the permission of the head of delegation (tour group), only the data that the circumstances of the case or provide guidance.

12. Soviet citizens who are abroad on business, need to continue to work on improving their ideological and political level, and business skills, be aware of the events and the life of our country, to participate actively in the social life of the Soviet team, learn a foreign language. You must also be aware of the internal and foreign policy of the government of the host country and its relations with the Soviet Union.

13. Soviet citizens during the stay abroad must be carefully and continuously monitor their appearance, always be neat and tidy, keep good clean accommodation.

In everyday life, and culturally Soviet citizens abroad must be exemplary and modest. Should strictly match their costs with get paid to avoid debt, not to buy anything on credit or in installments. At the same time, do not be excessive savings worsening living conditions, food, etc.

Should avoid accepting gifts, no matter under what pretext they were presented either. If circumstances force to accept the gift, then report this to his superiors.

14. Soviet citizens abroad categorically prohibits:

to talk on the phone in public places, hotels, places of residence, in cars with other Soviet citizens on the nature of the work, the personnel of the Soviet institutions abroad, departmental affiliation of employees, their personal and professional qualities, the internal order, location and security of missions ;

used cars for trips and other vehicles (except taxis) owned by unfamiliar individuals;

visit night clubs, cinemas, that demonstrate the anti-Soviet or pornographic films, and other places of questionable entertainment, as well as participate in games of chance;

visit areas inhabited by immigrants or other groups hostile to the Soviet Union, cafes or restaurants that are going to members of any immigrant, reactionary and other organizations, and to participate in demonstrations, rallies and meetings, including the [ organized] Communist Party, if it is not the task of travel;

visit areas of the host country, declared closed to foreigners without proper permission from the authorities of that country;

establish and maintain, directly or through other persons due to foreigners, if it is not caused by business need (for each case to establish contacts with foreigners to report the head of the Soviet missions abroad, and if necessary, as provided in paragraph 4 of these rules - even after having on security);

take when returning home parcels and letters from Soviet citizens and foreigners for those living in the USSR;

abuse of alcohol, to appear in public places and on the street drunk;

store their personal cash savings in foreign banks (but not the Soviet citizens who are paid in checks) and to participate in lotteries, collecting donations, and other similar activities;

Soviet money to exchange for foreign currency, unless there is proper authorization;

sell or trade personal items;

acquire and bring to the Soviet Union literature, films, tapes, cards and other printed matter and anti-Soviet pornographic content.

15. In the period of stay abroad is strictly forbidden to enter the oral or written agreements for works or perform any activity, paid or free, and the public to speak at meetings, rallies, radio and television, in the press, cinema, concerts, participate in professional and so on if it is not provided-trip mission. Of all the proposals of this kind, Soviet citizens are obliged to inform their supervisor or the embassy and to act in accordance with their recommendations.

16. Upon returning from trips abroad Soviet citizens must, within two weeks to surrender all they have received at the public expense in foreign government, private and personal files documentaries send them to ministries, departments or agencies that send these materials to the relevant archives. On this kind of material, free or purchased personal funds should inform these ministries, departments or agencies, which, depending on the character and historic value of the materials, decide to transfer them to state custody.

17. All kinds of patrols by the host country on business and personal matters only with the approval of the Embassy or Consulate. Driving a car in the host country can only Soviet people with the appropriate local or international driver's license and permission from the ambassador, consul or manager.

Be careful when photographing, filming amateur, strictly within established rules in the country.

18. Soviet citizens residing abroad must proceed from the fact that the Soviet ambassador to the country is a representative of the Soviet state, and on it the control of the activity of all of the country of residence of Soviet institutions, delegations and officials.

Soviet citizens who are abroad, in their official and social activities, and personal behavior should strictly and unswervingly follow the orders and instructions of the ambassador or a substitute person.

19. In the performance, behavior and relationships with foreign agencies, organizations and their representatives must strictly follow the instructions and guidelines of the leaders of the Soviet establishment.

Soviet citizens who entered the country on temporary assignment in the delegations, art groups, sports teams and other groups, are required in all of its offices and public affairs and personal conduct strictly obey the orders and instructions of the head of delegation, team or group that informs the embassy plans stay in the country and the results of work during trips abroad.

20. In the case of the Soviet people difficult issues at work, at home, in relationships with foreigners, and to call the police or any other foreign institution should immediately report this to your supervisor, the consul or ambassador and act only in accordance with their instructions .

Assuming an error in personal or behavior, the Soviet citizen should not hide it, and shall immediately report the incident to your supervisor.

21. In the case of the detention and the police drive the Soviet people, avoiding confusion, should require a call representative of the Soviet embassy or consulate. Without a representative of the Soviet embassy or consulate not to answer questions, not to sign any papers and reports, not to succumb to threats and intimidation.

In case of accident, which occurred outside the apartment or the Soviet office space, resulting in a board-sky people admitted to hospital, he shall as soon as possible by any means to inform the Embassy or Consulate of the USSR.

22. Of all the facts attacks and insults directed against the Soviet Union or the Soviet institutions, regardless of where it occurred (in the street, in shops, theater, cinema or other places), should be reported immediately to the manager or senior to the Soviet embassy (consulate). If such attacks and insults will be permitted with the direct address to the Soviet citizen, he should, avoiding temper, take them, and if necessary, to protest and also to inform the senior manager or to the Soviet embassy (consulate).

23. In the Soviet citizens abroad must always remember that they are under the protection of the Soviet state. If, due to unforeseen circumstances prevailing Soviet citizen would be in a difficult situation for him and promptly declare it to representatives of Soviet power, he will always find help and support from the institutions representing our country abroad.

24. Living abroad, the Soviet citizen must not only personally to comply strictly with all the requirements of these rules and guidance of leaders but also alert and keep your family from misconduct abroad.

25. Soviet citizens who migrate to capitalist and developing countries as members of the family (wife, parents, adult children) are also required to comply strictly with the relevant paragraphs of the rules and keep in mind the following:

at home to behave modestly, not to be curious for their working relatives in the family circle to avoid quarrels and family domestic turmoil. Modest, polite and dignified behavior among foreigners, particularly when visiting the shops and stores, markets and other public places, do not go for casual dating, no exercise of gab, having in mind that among the foreigners around the Soviet people in public places may always be people who know Russian, and other languages of the Soviet Union.


State, party and social organizations of the Soviet Union, directing Soviet citizens abroad and provide them with great confidence. This trust is the Soviet people must live exemplary performance and the impeccable behavior.

Failure to comply with the Rules of Conduct abroad should be considered a breach of duty and discipline of the state.

TsKhSD, f. 89, op. 31, 7, ll. 9-22. [This is the archival reference of the document.]

- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Sue

    I thought Richard Madeley summed the whole thing up perfectly when he wrote “Personally I blame Charles. Remember him necking that cherry brandy in a pub at 15? Harry never stood a chance, it’s in the genes.”

    27 Aug 2012, 19:55

Add a comment

You are not allowed to comment on this entry as it has restricted commenting permissions.

I am a professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick. I am also a research associate of Warwick’s Centre on Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy, and of the Centre for Russian, European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Birmingham. My research is on Russian and international economic history; I am interested in economic aspects of bureaucracy, dictatorship, defence, and warfare. My most recent book is One Day We Will Live Without Fear: Everyday Lives Under the Soviet Police State (Hoover Institution Press, 2016).

Economics Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Mark talks about why and how he blogs on Warwick’s Knowledge Centre.

Search this blog

Blog archive



Most recent comments

  • Great article on coronavirus Keep sharing your knowledge with us Educational and technology blog by Amrit on this entry
  • Thanks! Trying to work this out—as far as I knew, Joan Littlewood had the author down as "unknown." … by Mark Harrison on this entry
  • Powerful stuff, Mark. I look forward to reading the memoir. The lyric to "and when they ask us" was … by Robert Zara on this entry
  • Great history lesson. Something that was never taught in school, nor hinted about to egg your on to … by Julian Fernander on this entry
  • Thanks Tony! by Mark Harrison on this entry
Not signed in
Sign in

Powered by BlogBuilder