- 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.

Consulate, but can the Consular service be said to exist for the purpose
of rendering assistance to this kind of person ?

The Consular assistance is also strained to excess in cases where
applicants require money for loans or for the redemption of articles
they have pawned. This service cannot be rendered for reasons of
ordinary experience. To lend the applicant money or to redeem his
belongings is to encourage further recklessness in money matters and
to further demoralise the subject. Moreover, Consulates do not
possess funds for this form of charity. Petitioners for monetary
assistance should reflect that the Consulates do not exist for the
purpose of advancing loans. Some Consulates, it is true, have sums at
their disposal for distribution to the needy, but in granting assistance
from these funds the Consul is required to conform to the instructions
of the Ministry, that is to say, his donations depend upon his opinion
as to the merits of the particular case and must be confined to small
sums. To free the Consulates of useless applications for more
extensive assistance, the above system of distributing charity ought to
be extended. The best method of assisting Russian subjects who
happen to be in difficulties is, in most cases, not to give them money,
but to direct them to an agency where they may apply for
employment or to repatriate them. It is a regrettable fact that the
greater portion of indigent Russians who crowd the vestibules of the
Russian Consulates, are no more and no less than professional
mendicants and adventurers. Neither of these types wishes to earn
money by honest labour but to make a life’s business in
exploiting the unorganised charity of inexperienced philanthropists.
Therefore, it should be the task of all Russians living abroad to form
local charitable organisations for the purpose of rendering aid to
indigent Russians on as systematic a plan as possible, and so take this
work out of the hands of the Consuls, who have not the leisure at
their disposal to collect information as to the conditions of life of those
persons applying to them for assistance and by so doing make certain
that they are deserving of relief. For instance, in London and Paris
there are special Russian benevolent societies.

Russian Consular Officers are specially concerned with seamen
who are abroad in the pursuit of their calling. Sailors out of
employment who apply to Russian Consuls for relief are placed in boarding
houses or Sailors’ Homes until they obtain employment. However,
it happens only too frequently in Consular practice, that sailors living
at the expense of the Consulate in such boarding houses, make no
effort to obtain employment, and even refuse to accept it when offered
them, and also refuse to be repatriated at the expense of the
Consulate. Having no definite instructions as to the treatment of men
who deliberately exploit the Consulates and refuse to work, our
institutions are placed in the unpleasant position of feeding and
supporting wastrels. In the first place it should be made the rule that
sailors are denied all further assistance if they refuse to join a ship
without good reason, and secondly, that a seaman who has been as
long as one month at a boarding house and is unable to obtain a berth
must be sent home to Russia or, on refusal, he must forfeit the right
to any further assistance from the Consul.

A favourite trick of persons who have matters in dispute abroad,

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