NEWSWATCH: “Frustrated at visa holdup, Russians give up on American vacations” – Washington Post/Amie Ferris-Rotman

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“… Escalating tensions between Moscow and Washington are putting a damper on Russians’ vacation plans, catching ordinary people in a diplomatic crossfire …. A year ago, obtaining a U.S. tourist visa could take less than a week. Now, it comes with an eight-month delay. * * * The Kremlin may be delighted that fewer of its citizens are being exposed to the wiles of Western soft power. … Since annexing Crimea … Moscow has spent considerable energy and money on revamping the peninsula, attempting to restore its Soviet-era status as the ultimate vacation spot. … Russia urged citizens studying in ‘unfriendly countries’ to return to the motherland and trade their coveted foreign education for one from a top Russian school. …”

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