Reminds me of when I lived in Almaty [Alma-Ata] Kazakhstan, in 1996-1997. I was slightly acquainted with the American pilots of the [Kazakhstan] Presidential flight. They (I only met two, but there were a couple of others) were all superannuated pilots from the insolvent and defunct Eastern Airlines [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Air_Lines] cheated out of their pensions.
They all knew how to fly the Boeing jetliners used by the KZ President Nazarbaev. Local pilots were only familiar, then, with Soviet aircraft such as Tupolev jets and Ilyushins.
None of the Americans knew a word of Russian. They were very American, and insisted on driving around themselves rather than be chauffered like most foreigners were (including me; I had a driver called Valery, ex-MVD and shared with another client, a German diplomat; at that time, the British, French and German embassies were in the same building, and the capital had not yet been moved to Astana, now called Nursultan).
Those Americans found themselves in difficulty if randomly stopped and checked by the Kazakh police, a frequent occurrence (they only checked the driver, rarely if ever the passengers), because they could not explain themselves.
They were thus issued with a laminated card about the size of a hardback book, If stopped, they pulled that out. It was like the Rosetta Stone, and said the same thing in three languages, English, Russian, and Kazakh: “The bearer of this card is the pilot of the aircraft of the President” [etc].
The card was signed by the President himself, and bore his official seal. The Kazakhs loved rubber stamps; when I wanted one for my own use, I discovered that one could not simply get one’s secretary to have one made; it was necessary to supply a proposed design and various verifying documents —properly stamped, of course— about yourself and your organization to the delightfully-named “Bureau of Rubber Stamps”, which might then approve the design. Kafka would have loved it.
It is no doubt different now, but 25 years ago, you could not even get Vitamin C capsules in Almaty without a prescription! Or at least could only get them by rather covert means.
One of the Americans told me that, the first time he used his laissez-passer card, the policeman almost kow-towed. The policeman even invited the American to visit him, his wife and children some time.
I have walked those banks, in part, from near Pangbourne to Goring, and also, when at school, rowed the river from Dorchester-on-Thames down to Moulsford (upriver of Goring).
Mark Collett broadcast
Large areas of London are now somewhere between a zoo and a jungle, yet the police have time to waste on this rubbish…
In fact, it is not history at all but, as taught, fake history and propaganda.