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Unlike in Russia, Ukraine-bought tickets do not have a passenger’s name written on it. Therefore, we were delayed while our tickets, passports, faces and clothes were inspected thoroughly. Finally, we were let in, but the young woman wasn’t willing to give up easily. 

As soon as the train took off and headed north, the attendant knocked on our doors and said that the trainmaster requests that we give our mobile phone numbers. It was not a flirtatious request. When I and my friends demanded an explanation, the answer was unbelievable. The attendant said her boss would call later to assess “quality of the service.”  

Soon, however, the likely reason became clear. As it turned out, the rest of the passengers in our railway car were marines going to one of the military bases near Murmansk, hence the train personnel’s apprehension of strangers.

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