La Russophobe wishes she had a rouble for every time she's heard from a Russophile maniac that Europe sides with Russia against the United States, and/or that Russians can bribe their way out of any problem. Meanwhile, Americans can travel to Austria in any number without a visa, but Russians? Let the Guardian fill you in:
To many resorts they would be viewed as dream guests: tourists prepared to spend huge amounts of money, day and night. But hoteliers in the luxury Austrian ski resort of Kitzbühel think otherwise. According to a memo leaked to the local press, they have voted to limit the number of Russian visitors to 10% of the total number of guests at any one time. According to outgoing tourism chief Renate Danier, the deal reached by 16 out of 20 of Kitzbühel's four- and five-star hotels states that only a limited number of Russians are welcome in the Tyrolean resort. She told reporters: "We have so many bookings from international travel agents that we have a limited ability to take any more guests. We want international variety and not to be 50% Russian." The agreement states that the quota is necessary to retain the "international mix" for which Kitzbühel is well known. It adds that Russian guests are "naturally welcome" but that Kitzbühel wants to avoid becoming a Russian "stronghold". The number of Russian and Ukrainian guests to the Tyrol has been rising each year since the millennium, boosting profits while other resorts fight to keep guests despite low snowfall. Many resorts now accept the rouble, with menus written in Cyrillic and some resorts laying on Russian-speaking shopping scouts. They are known for their big spending - Gucci skis and Chanel skiwear abound, while Maybach cars cruise the streets. Last year Yelena Baturina Luzhkova, wife of the mayor of Moscow, reportedly ordered "kilos of caviar" in a single evening.
The Russians are also notorious for their ability to party hard, as well as for drunkenness and unruly behaviour. But tourism experts believe that the underlying anger of the 9,000 locals stems from the Russian-fuelled property boom. Russians are increasingly buying ski chalets and hotels for £15m or more, driving prices up and pushing locals out of the market, despite the fact only EU citizens have the right to buy property in Kitzbühel. The owner of Chelsea football club, Roman Ambramovich, has reportedly put in a bid for a luxury hotel, while Mrs Luzhkova is said to have bought a golf course on which she plans to build a hotel. Politicians are coming under pressure to deal with the issue as property prices have almost doubled since 2005. "It's time to act before locals are pushed out," said Kitzbühel's mayor, Klaus Winkler. Sepp Schellhorn, president of the Austrian Hoteliers Association, condemned the Russian quota as "absurd" and "shortsighted". "This is not in line with the wishes of those who promote Austria or the Austrian economy," he said.
But the head of Sporthotel Mayr-Reisch, Rupert Mayr-Reisch, said: "We've learned from other resorts, like St Moritz. You get a bit of a nationality imbalance when one nation gets the upper hand. It's more pleasant when there are not too many people from one country in the same hotel." However, Mr Schellhorn said that it was ridiculous to speak of a mix of nations: "Think about it: Kitzbühel has a large number of Germans, but no one has ever thought of trying to limit their numbers."Now, dear reader, how do you think Russians will react to this news? Will they (a) blame an evil foreign conspiracy of "russophobes" or will they (b) seek to find out why Austrians hate them so much and try to reform or will they (c) laugh it off like little schoolboys, as if it matters not?