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Russian Cafe Chain Charges Foreigners 10% Extra

Schastye Cafe

The Russian cafe chain Schastye (Happiness) has introduced a 10 percent surcharge for foreigners, the Bumaga news website reported Wednesday.

The surcharge only affects groups exclusively made up of foreigners and is added to the bill at the "personal discretion of the administrator." 

The policy has been in effect since November last year in each of the chain's four branches, which include three in St. Petersburg and one in Moscow.

Current policy requires staff to inform customers of the additional charges. This levy is currently not mentioned on the chain's menus.

Schastye have declined to comment on the reason behind the surcharge.

Article 63 of the Russian Constitution clearly states foreigners are entitled to the same rights as citizens of Russia. In addition, article 19 outlaws discrimination on the basis of nationality, gender, race, religion, material wealth, language, place of residence and political affiliations.

Russian courts have previously ruled against price discrimination on the basis of nationality, including a 1998 case in Novosibirsk against the Sibir regional airline. Foreigners still continue to be charged more than Russian citizens at many museums and tourist attractions across Russia.

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