Voices from Russia

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Putin Proposes Visa-Free Entry for International Athletes



This summer, Russia will host the World University Games, in 2014, the Winter Olympics, and in 2018, the FIFA World Cup. In the coming five years, it’ll also play host to a number of world championships in individual sports. To make Russia more welcoming, President Putin proposed to grant visa-free entry to foreign athletes participating in these competitions. Mr Nikolai Dolgopolov, President of the Russian Federation of Sports Journalists, said, “The news makes me happy. All this paperwork and biometrics are so time-consuming and tedious! As a great sports fan, President Putin appreciates the importance of easy entry for international athletes. Russia’s getting a better image, and its consular officials, an easier workload”.

Remember, in 2008, Russia granted visa-free entry to some 60,000 Chelsea FC supporters who came to Moscow to watch the final match of the Champions League played between their team and Manchester United FC. Will the EU respond to such Russian measures by bringing forward visa-free travel between EU countries and Russia? We asked Dr Sergei Utkin of the Europe Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences about this, and he said, “Such expectations are unrealistic. True, we have a dialogue. At the same time, the EU countries would have difficulties in finding a common response to the latest easy-visas initiative by the Russian President. Coming to an agreement within the EU is a protracted and difficult matter”. In some of its recent pronouncements, the European Commission said it isn’t in a hurry to bring about visa-free travel between EU countries and Russia.

20 March 2013

Aleksei Lyakhov

Svetlana Kalmykova

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

One reason why the EU is dragging its feet is American pressure. In particular, the US Republican Party supports repressive police state measures that restricts the travel of American citizens abroad. For instance, the Bush fascists destroyed the most peaceful border in the world when it demanded that all Americans travelling to Canada must have passports. I travelled to Canada many times without a passport… that’s no longer possible due to the Department of Homeland Security Gestapo created by the Republican Party. There’s no threat of “terrorism” from Canada. Reflect on this… the Republicans claim that they want “smaller” government… well, they don’t want to dismantle such GOP-founded “American KGB” agencies as the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA (I had contact with the latter… they’re a Kafkaesque and Queen of Hearts madhouse). I think that makes them liars, no? Read and heed…



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