Another snag was prompted by the older gentleman, who had requested a medical envoy for his diabetes. Drunkard number two, sensing an opportunity in this, began shouting about his high blood pressure and the possibility that he could spontaneously have some sort of attack without a doctor present. Another medic was dutifully called, a blood pressure cuff was applied and no one died.

When it was my turn to be fingerprinted, I joked easily with the young man using the both high-tech and poorly functioning fingerprinting machine. Not in uniform, the man’s shirt read “Greasy Monkey Garage and Repairs,” which I translated literally to his and his partner’s deli

ght.

Once everyone had been put into the system, we were herded into one of the giant, barred, bulletproof riot police vans, where we sat on the back benches (un-seatbelted) as we jostled over St. Petersburg’s potholes and took selfies with our arresting officers.

After arriving at the police station to pay our $50 fines, we were asked to wait around for 20 more minutes for some bureaucratic Russian reason. Drunkard number two had apparently had enough and covertly called Russian emergency services on his cellphone, whispering his complaint of “high blood pressure induced by police arrest.” I left the police station at 2 a.m., $50 lighter, to the sound of approaching sirens. My friend met me outside with a burger and an unused 20,000-ruble bribe.

Now I really don’t like football.

Molly Jane Zuckerman is a journalist based in St. Petersburg. The views expressed in opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the position of The Moscow Times.