Anastasia is expecting her boyfriend Sergei to be waiting for her when her flight arrives at St Petersburg airport.
But as she lands he texts to say that, due to unforeseen work commitments, a friend will be picking her up instead.
So far, so normal.
Later, as Anastasia is approaching her apartment building in the friend’s car, a minibus with blacked-out windows screeches into their path. Armed men in masks jump out and take her driver friend away.
Anastasia is led to the back of the car she was travelling in. The men begin rifling through her things in the boot and discover a small packet full of white powder.
Surrounded by men clad in black special ops uniforms, a female plain-clothes detective turns to her: “You’re suspected of supplying banned substances.”
The colour in Anastasia’s face swiftly drains away.
“You must be mistaken. That’s not mine,” she says, smiling nervously.
“Then whose is it? Enough of the games!” a man barks.
The questions continue, until the man opens the packet to reveal a small pink box.
“And what’s this?” he asks.
“No idea!” she replies, her voice breaking.
Suddenly the man gets down on one knee, rips off his mask and shouts: “Marry me!”
It’s Sergei, and it turns out he’s the only one here who actually works in law enforcement. The others work for an “extreme proposal” service – part of an industry established in Russia in recent years.
Continue reading… “‘Freeze… and marry me!’ – Russians who propose at gunpoint”