Russia makes a U-turn on reciprocity policies

Russia makes a U-turn on reciprocity policies as regards issuance of tourist visas to foreign nationals

This news item very likely will not appear in mainstream, though it represents a stunning victory of pragmatism and common sense by a government engaged in a bitter and costly war that has a heavy ideological dimension. 

Today in a meeting with government administrators and stakeholders in the tourist industry, Vladimir Putin said publicly that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will break with its traditional insistence on full reciprocity in relations with other states as regards issuance of visas to citizens of “unfriendly countries.”

Putin argued that there was no reason to make a fetish of reciprocity when the result would run counter to Russia’s national interests.  In this instance, he said Russia would best respond to the sanctions and restrictions being imposed on it by unfriendly countries, meaning first of all, the European Union, by issuing visas to their citizens so that they may see for themselves what the country is like.  “We have nothing to hide,” he added.

The instructions to Sergei Lavrov’s team were clear: to proceed with reinstatement of electronic visas available free of charge upon demand via an internet portal. This program was barely under way in 2020 when the Covid epidemic closed down borders everywhere. As from March 2020, Russia stopped issuing visas of any kind other than so-called ‘humanitarian’ visas for close relatives of Russian citizens.  There was a glimmer of hope that the e-visas would resume in late 2021 as the epidemic receded. However, the onset of the ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine in February 2022 put a halt to that.

Let us imagine that the same pragmatism and enlightened self-interest may be extended to Russian policy on applicants for permanent residency and naturalization. Russian talk shows now raise the question of conceding an Israeli-like “right of return” to ethnic Russians who were left to their lot as second class citizens of the new sovereign republics formed from the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. Should this come to pass, then Russian statehood will be entering a new level of maturity just as the West slips into self-debilitating obtuseness.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

19 thoughts on “Russia makes a U-turn on reciprocity policies

  1. Very pragmatic decision as anyone who has visited Russia in recent years will know, the country has nothing to hide and much to show off, as the World Cup demonstrated to visitors. However, the Russians can be their own worst enemies sometimes – for example this YouTuber Benjamin Rich, a gregorious Englishman who taught himself Russian, who has travelled all across the former Soviet Union over the past three or four years to places I have never heard of, shining an interesting and informative light on the country with a special love of Soviet architecture and mosaics and someone who seems to have no difficulty making friends with all sections of society, was recently tossed out of the country for no apparent reason. If they had sense they would have paid him to stay, not throw him out; his programmes go under the name: Bald and Bankrupt


    1. “the country has nothing to hide and much to show off”

      And that is how a relative of my wife, a person of above regular intelligence with an academic degree perceives Russia:

      Die russische Regierung lässt täuschen, tricksen, einsperren, foltern. töten. Es gibt nur Lügen und verdrehte Sachverhalte
      Putin hat Teile seiner Kriegsziele erreicht, etwa 20 % der Ukraine besetzt bzw. dem Erdboden gleichgemacht, die Bewohner deportiert.
      In der Ukraine brennt ein rückwartsgewandter, faschistischer Diktator das Land nieder.

      The Russian government has people deceived, tricked, imprisoned, tortured and killed. There are only lies and twisted facts
      Putin has achieved some of his war goals, occupied or razed about 20% of Ukraine, and deported the residents.
      In Ukraine, a backward-looking fascist dictator is burning down the country.

      No context, uncritically buying what he gets served by the media of NATO land.


      1. I am sure that that if one were to say that the United States Government ‘has people deceived, tricked, imprisoned, tortured and killed’ few would disagree. As for the comment about residents being ‘deported’ – you are reading too much Kiev regime propaganda.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “you are reading too much Kiev regime propaganda.”

        I clearly(or so I thought) indicated that those were the opinions of a relative. (And that is how a relative of my wife, a person of above regular intelligence with an academic degree perceives


  2. This has just been reported in the Italian news. Not sure about BBC as we are all busy with the Queen’s ill health. Corriere della Sera literally publishes everything that comes out of Zakharova’s mouth.


  3. We (‘the West’) are the ideologues in a world of Asian pragmatism…and we will learn some historical lessons.


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