Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Russians are coming: the invasion of Turkey

Messy: Russians paint the town red in Alanya.

The Russians are not just coming - they are here and they are taking over.

Turkey hideaways and property havens like Antalya, Bodrum and Kalkan has seen the invasion of Russians - to the chagrin of British expats. Statistics show that every year some three million Russians vacation in Turkey, spending a total of $3 billion on average.

Russians with their excessive spending and love of local products were voted the most desirable shoppers by Turkish shops - but are Brits justified in their dislike of them?

After all, Brits were the first people to make Turkey their second home. In some ways they put Turkey on the map as a holiday haven so have the right to feel aggrieved that the Russians have taken over. Russian is virtually the official language at many local spas. Alanya even has a Russian school, a Russian radio station and a Russian television channel.

It seems Russians feel more at home in Turkey than visitors from any other countries, and this point is reinforced by the common sight of Turkish men with Russian wives.

Regardless of the complaints, the Russian invasion is seen as a good thing for Turkey’s economy so the government has rewarded them by abolishing visas for Russians.

While some may think Brit expats are just being petty, some see the Russian invasion as a serious issue because a typical Russian trait is the inability to compromise and share. This behaviour has seen Russians voted the worst tourists by holiday makers. Even previous title holders, the Germans, deem the behaviour of the Russians as unacceptable.

In their heart of hearts Russians firmly believe that anything good is bound to end soon, so you should get all you can while the going’s good. What they don’t get is that this rule of Russian life does not apply in Turkey.

 Their alleged offences include

  • Taking hotel sun loungers into their rooms to make sure they get a seat by the pool in the morning
  • Eating almost everything at all-inclusive dinners - even taking doggie bags to stock up on grub
  • Flashing their money around and ordering hotel staff to be at their beck and call
  • Belching and swear in public areas such as hotel swimming pools and bars
  • Dressing like 'chavs' - wearing tracksuits and gold bling
  • Pushing into queues in bars and shops to be served first

According to holiday-maker Geoff Hunt, his Turkish hotel was 'overrun' with Russian tourists; ‘they were known as the 'Rude Ruskis' by everyone - even the Germans; they just barged into queues flashing their money and shouting.’

However Natasha from Russia says ‘Russians are smart enough to wake up earlier to put a towel on the best placed lounge to keep it.’ She believes Brits are just jealous because Russians have more cash flash about.

Regardless of the way they behave, it looks like the Russians are here to stay thanks to their spending power. So Brits should brace themselves the next time they visit Turkey and watch out for the 'Rude Ruskis'.


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