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St. Petersburg Lawmaker Wants Behavior Code

A St. Petersburg lawmaker has called for the drafting of an etiquette handbook for the imperial capital that would advise foreign visitors to speak only in Russian and to avoid wearing national dress — similar to a behavior code planned in Moscow.

Yelena Babich, a city deputy with the Liberal Democratic Party, said she was moved to act after seeing people in cotton robes and house slippers walking down St. Petersburg's main street, Nevsky Prospekt, local web site reported Wednesday.

She said such incidents damaged the city's reputation as a “cultural capital."

Babich has filed an official request with St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko to develop the behavior code.

It was unclear how a behavior code would go down in St. Petersburg, the country's biggest tourist draw with sites like the Mariinsky Theater and Peterhof Palace.

Moscow City Hall said last week that it was collaborating with diasporas and scientists to create the “Muscovite’s Code,” a list of nonbinding behavior guidelines to be presented to every foreigner who moves to Moscow.

“There are unwritten rules that residents of our city are obliged to follow, such as not slaughtering sheep in the backyard, not grilling shashliks on the balcony, not walking around the city in national attire, and speaking in Russian,” said Mikhail Solomentsev, head of City Hall’s committee for interregional cooperation and national policy.

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