- 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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P. v., Сн. i.



ing himself of every opportunity for such service, he is nevertheless
frequently hampered in his activity primarily by limitations proceeding
from his official position, which prohibits his acting in what may
practically be the capacity of a private agent or correspondent, and,
furthermore, by the current duties of his office, which frequently do
not allow him the leisure necessary for collateral activity.

The fundamental principle of the Consular service is, that Consular
Officers extend their assistance to Russian subjects who apply to them
in all matters in which the former are powerless to act effectively
without their aid. Thus, for instance, the judicial knowledge of the
Consul, his knowledge of economics and kindred subjects, his
acquaintance with local conditions ; his personal connections, and his
experience, whether of business or of ordinary life, should always be
available, in the form of advice as to how to proceed under given
circumstances, without, however, any responsibility being attached
to him on account of such advice.

On the other hand, all matters which the applicants can prosecute
for themselves without the assistance of the Consul and without injury
to their own interests, cannot demand the attention of the Consul.
The latter is under no obligation to lend them his aid, as he is not
permitted to engage in business of a private nature, nor is he expected to
despatch private correspondence, nor is he obliged to act as translator,
solicitor, banker, private secretary or attorney. Hence the assistance
rendered by Consular Officers may be precisely defined and limited by
the application of the principle stated above.

The following are instances which illustrate the demands made
upon Consular Officers :—

i. A person requested the Consular attestation of a somewhat
lengthy agreement. It was pointed out to him that a copy of every
document legalised at the Consulate is required for preservation in
the Consular Archives. The applicant suggested that the copy could
be prepared by the Consulate and was told that it was not the duty of
the Consular Officer to do so. To this the applicant replied that he
was being unnecessarily inconvenienced, as he only required one copy
of the document. Finally the applicant had to submit, but he went
away entertaining a feeling of resentment towards the Consular Officer
who, he was convinced, was legally obliged to make the required copy

Another case in point may be quoted :

An applicant wished to have a document translated into Russian.
The Consul offered him the addresses of those to whom he could apply
to have the translation made. The applicant refused to believe that
it was not the duty of the Consulate to undertake the translation. It
was pointed out to him that the Consular function is limited to
certifying the correctness of the completed translation, if desired. Upon this
the applicant complained at having to pay for the Consular certificate
and also for the services of the translator, and, finally, departed very
dissatisfied, and quite convinced that the Consulate had intentionally
occasioned him extra expense.

Especial caution is recommended in cases where the applicants do
not ask for a certificate of correctness of a translation into a foreign
language, but request an independent document in which the Consul

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