- Project Runeberg -  A practical guide for Russian consular officers and all persons having relations with Russia /

(1916) Author: Alfons Heyking - Tema: Russia
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Assistance to Russian Subjects.

CHAPTER I.—General.

The duties of the Consul, besides those enumerated in separate
paragraphs as under, comprise in general protection and assistance
of any Russian subject, whether in his Consular district or not. The
Consul must help any Russian subject in any legitimate aims as far
as they appertain to his sphere of Consular activity. He must assist
him in difficulties and defend him from attacks on those rights
conferred upon him by special State-conventions or by local law.
However, whilst assisting individual Russian subjects the Consul must
not overlook his official position. In obtaining a favour for an
individual he might be placed under an obligation which might
prevent him on another occasion from displaying sufficient energy
before the local authorities, and might also injuriously affect his
position. The Consular Regulations and Circulars of the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs make it the duty of Consular Officers to give all
the assistance and co-operation in their power to Russian subjects
appealing to them for advice, support, or assistance. However,
only Consular experience is able to determine precisely of what nature
such assistance should be. There are people who look upon the
Consul as an agent, commissioner and gratuitous solicitor, for every
private person, without recognising that he is an employee of the
State, who must in all his actions uphold the dignity of his office
and of his Government, and who cannot act as a private person. The
Consul cannot be required to interfere personally in quarrels between
Russians and local subjects, because the latter would not recognise
his authority, and he would expose himself to treatment unworthy
of his position. A Russian State Consul at Naples was earnestly
requested by the widow of a Russian Privy Councillor to interfere
energetically on her behalf with the proprietor of the house in which
she had taken a flat, in order that the chimneys, which unfortunately
had not sufficient draught and smoked, should be put in order. The
same Consul was asked by a Russian student at Berlin to remonstrate
with his landlady who claimed payment for a table-cloth in which the
unhappy youth had burned a hole with his cigarettes. Another
Russian subject at Berlin came in great haste to the same official
complaining of a railway servant who had stopped him at the exit
of the platform because he had lost his ticket and could not produce
it. It was at Berlin too that the Russian Consul was sent for to
express, on behalf of two Russian ladies who were staying at the
sanatorium of a famous local physician, their dissatisfaction with
the manners of the manageress of the institution. On all such and

i § 107.

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