Russia's gun-toting "tourists"

One of the Kremlin’s key tactics is to obscure the origins of those forces spearheading its operation in east Ukraine, and one of the ways it’s doing that is to promote what might be called insurrectional tourism.

“Russian Spring,” as it turns out, is not only a revanchist motto out of Moscow, which we started hearing before the Crimea annexation, it’s a website, too. Adventure seekers who dream about reviving the U.S.S.R. can go online to share information about how to travel to Ukraine and, well, make a terrible mess there. Before their departure soldiers of fortune are advised to familiarize themselves with the slogan, “Leave for the front! Glory to Russia!” along with rules of behavior for a Russian tourist who wishes to get to “the territory of brotherly Ukraine”:

“From the beginning of the Crimea events on March 2 until the present time Ukraine has refused entry to more than 10,000 Russians and the figure is growing every day,” cautions the advisory. “The situation is created artificially to reduce the quantity of people who could be involved in the conflict on the side of Russian-speaking Ukrainians.”

So, as the “Russian Spring” site recommends, “you should comply with certain rules” and know certain facts. Here is a somewhat abbreviated but informative checklist that suggests, among other things, the kinds of “tourists” likely to be crossing the border:

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