October 22, 2018

Sitting at the computer in the library, I saw a police officer enter the room. He was heading my way and soon was standing right beside me. He started speaking to me in Russian but I could only understand one word, “documentation”. He was clearly asking for my documents, but of course I had none. I had not even brought my driver’s license with me. I tried to explain that I would call my interpreter pointing to my phone, but he just repeated himself with a more urgent tone. Thankfully she answered the phone, I handed it to him and waited while they spoke. Handing me back the phone, Gulnara told me that he would take me by the hospital and retrieve my driver’s ID then go to the police station. By then another lady showed up to interpret. He began asking me how long I had been in Russia, how I had gotten there, when I arrived, and a long series of the usual questions that I have answered repeatedly since my arrival. It was obvious that he did not know who I was. I explained my situation to him and he took me to the immigration police department. Once there, it was obvious that they recognized me, being greeted with a warm handshake by the man who shares my birthdate. I waited in the police department for a couple hours, then was taken to the immigration administration office where I would undergo more questions and preview some documents before returning to the hospital. It was obvious that the authorities did not know what to do with me, apparently without a violation of law, they had no grounds to deport me, and having failed to achieve a conviction from the police, now the immigration office would charge me with the same crime and send me back to trial.