NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Soccer Defeat Is a Loss for Russia. In place of a flood of U.S. travelers for next year’s World Cup, a trickle of Panamanians.” – Wall Street Journal

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“… a fresh setback for U.S.-Russia relations: The U.S. men’s soccer team fell to Trinidad and Tobago … and … failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in three decades. For Russia, hosting the quadrennial event in 2018 … missing out on an influx of rich American tourists …. [A past study by two economists suggests] the tourism boost from […]

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Travel Barriers Are the Worst of the New Cold War; Why is the U.S. squandering its soft-power advantage on petty tit-for-tat?

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – September 1, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. The latest loop in the escalation of U.S.-Russia hostilities is probably the dumbest and the most damaging: The two countries are introducing de facto travel restrictions […]

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Interfax: U.S. consulates general in Russia technically incapable of issuing visas for now – diplomat

Artist's Rendition of U.S. Embassy, Moscow, with the Russian Foreign Ministry in the Background

MOSCOW. Aug 31 (Interfax) – A number of technical problems need to be dealt with before U.S. consulates general in Russia begin to issue visas, head of the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section Laurence Tobey told reporters on Thursday. The capping of diplomatic personnel heavily impacted the capacities of consulates general, which had to reconfigure their activity, Tobey said. He noted […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s TB problem is ticking time bomb for Europe; Controlling the airborne disease takes on additional urgency this year as the country seeks to integrate into EU with a new visa-free regime” – Politico/ LILY HYDE

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“… Odessa has the highest rate of TB in Ukraine, with 110 cases per 100,000 people in 2016, and rising fast. Closely linked with migration, instability and poverty, controlling this airborne disease takes on additional urgency this year as Ukraine seeks to integrate into Europe thanks to a new visa-free regime. Part of a migration corridor from Central Asia and […]

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Russians’ Tolerance for Foreigners at All-Time High

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 24, 2017) Negativity towards foreigners in Russia has reached an all-time low, according to the results of a new poll produced Levada Center. Russians who said they’d like to restrict one or more nationalities from the country fell to its lowest level ever at 54 percent, down from 70 percent in 2016, and an […]

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Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Lands in Barcelona for Treatment

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 8, 2017) Russian opposition leader and presidential candidate Alexei Navalny landed in Barcelona Sunday to receive medical treatment, the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources. On May 4, Navalny said he had received a passport for foreign travel. But his lawyer later Tweeted that a probation officer had informed Navalny that he shouldn’t […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin Critic Navalny Says Russia Stops Him Traveling Abroad” – Reuters

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said … authorities in Russia were stopping him [from] going abroad to seek urgent medical treatment after an attack that left him mostly blind in one eye.  … authorities … unexpectedly issued … an international passport … [giving] the impression he could fly to a foreign clinic to get treatment …. But he said a senior official from the country’s prison […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergei Donskoy

Russia Map

(Kremlin.ru – March 20, 2017) Mr Donskoy briefed the President on measures to enhance the efficiency of subsoil resource use, develop a system of protected natural zones, and support eco-tourism. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Donskoy, we discussed with you on many occasions the question of effective subsoil use. I know the Ministry has prepared a roilange of instruments, […]

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Russia may take asymmetric measures against U.S. in response to ‘Magnitsky list’ expansion – Russian MP Slutsky

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW. Jan 10 (Interfax) – Moscow may asymmetrically react to Washington’s decision to expand the ‘Magnitsky list’ – similarly to Russia’s response to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the United States, Russian State Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky said. “I would like to remind you that Russia has a law on measures of response to the Magnitsky […]

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Medvedev opens Moscow’s fourth airport Zhukovsky

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

Zhukovsky. May 30 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has opened the Moscow aviation hub’s fourth international airport, Zhukovsky, an Interfax correspondent reported. One of the first airlines to begin scheduled flights from Zhukovsky will be Kyrgyzstan’s Air Kyrgyzstan. The first flight is scheduled for June 20, a representative of the carrier told journalists on Monday. At the opening […]

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Five foolproof ways to identify Russians on holiday abroad

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

I will not waste your time describing boring images of Russians squandering money and wearing tawdry outfits on vacations abroad. You have probably already read such tropes a million times. Here I’d like to discuss the not so obvious, but no less true, signs that a tourist is from Russia. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ELENA POTAPOVA, RBTH […]

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Defender of Putin, Detained in Russia: American Activist Deemed U.S. ‘Agent’

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RFE/RL – rferl.org –Carl Schreck – February 17, 2016) For a person who has dedicated her life to improving ties between Moscow and the West — and who has passionately denounced what she calls the “demonization” of President Vladimir Putin by Western media and officials — Sharon Tennison has gotten a strange reception in Russia. Tennison, an American activist whose […]

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Weak Ruble Draws Foreign Tourists to Russia for Summer Vacations

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 18, 2016) The number of foreign tourists booking summer vacations in Russia has risen by 30 percent amid the weakening of the ruble, the Kommersant newspaper reported Wednesday, citing a study by the Momondo online reservation system. Demand for trips to Russia during the summer months among German travelers – who made the most […]

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52% of Russians favor open borders with Ukraine, without visas or customs

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – February 3, 2016) Half of Russians (52 percent) believe that Russia and Ukraine should be independent countries but friends, with open borders and without visas or customs, Levada Center told Interfax. The opinion was held by 52 percent of respondents in 2015, and 59 percent in 2014, the sociologists said. A third argue that Russia-Ukraine relations should be […]

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Moscow’s 5 most interesting mobile apps for tourists

iPad file photo

Foreign travelers can now get to know Moscow better thanks to some new mobile apps for those that love museums, architecture and even making random new friends in the metro. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Kira Egorova, RBTH – January 18, 2016) Moscow, Russia If digital detox while on holiday is not one of your goals and you […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: “Kremlin’s beef with Turkey hits Russians at home – and on holiday”

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

The acrimony between Moscow and Ankara over the downing of a Russian bomber in Syria has cut Russians off from Turkish produce, and reduced their vacation options to boot.

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Russia-Ukraine flight ban: A month in

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

In the days since direct flights between Russia and Ukraine ended, frequent travelers between the neighboring countries have had to spend more time and money going back and forth. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – VLADIMIR KOZLOV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – November 25, 2015) Air travel is the latest industry to fall victim to tensions between Moscow and Kiev […]

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Russians Find New Holiday Spots After Egypt, Turkey Bans

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Joanna Kozlowska – December 4, 2015) Russian tour operators have seen increasing demand for tours to India, Thailand, and the UAE following restrictions on travel to Egypt and Turkey – Russians’ two preferred destinations in the first half of 2015, Russian media reported on Friday. At the same time, officials’ attempts to revive interest in […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: “Russians Seeking Winter Retreat Are Stopped Cold. Moscow’s travel bans to Egypt, Turkey amid diplomatic crises force tens of thousands to adjust or cancel vacations”

The Wall Street Journal covers disruptions to Russian travel plans, amidst travel bans imposed by the Kremlin following Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military jet and a suspected terrorist downing of a Russian airliner in Egypt. Turkey and Egypt were popular destinations, offering hotels and services far better than Russian equivalents at a reasonable price. Six million Russians visited Turkey […]

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Russian Tour Agencies Cancel Turkey Trips Amid Fury Over Downed Warplane

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 26, 2015) Turkey is a hugely popular vacation spot for Russians, almost 3.3 million of whom holidayed there in 2014, according to official figures. Russian tour agencies have canceled flights to Turkey and suspended sales of new tours a day after the downing of a Russian fighter-bomber by the Turkish military, Russian media reported […]

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Downing of Russian Plane has Serious Consequences for Putin at Home, in Central Asia, and in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 25, 2015) The shooting down of a Russian military plane by Turkish forces after Kremlin ignored repeated warnings from Ankara not to violate Turkey’s airspace not only increases the risks of a clash between Russia and the West but has serious consequences for Putin at home, in Central Asia and the […]

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Russian Students to Get Paid Foreign Education – If They Return Home Afterward

Columbia University Campus with Main Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 9, 2015) Russia will pay for its students to study at elite foreign universities, provided they return home to work after graduation, Education and Science Minister Dmitry Livanov was cited as saying by news agency TASS. The program, titled “Global Education,” was signed into force in June 2014 and is designed to send 1,500 […]

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A-321 crash – Comment on HMG decision

Middle East Map

Subject: A-321 crash – Comment on HMG decision. Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2015 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> A-321 crash – Comment on HMG decision. My money is on a technical defect. It is either a computer glitch which the crew tried to correct and swang the aircraft into critical G or the tail was weakened in a previous incident and […]

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Airbnb Sees Rapid Growth in Russia Amid Recession

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 4, 2015) The online lodging service Airbnb has seen rapid growth in Russia as the country’s economic recession forces more Russians to look for ways to supplement their incomes, the Bloomberg news agency reported Tuesday. The Russian business of San Francisco-based Airbnb has doubled during the past year, propelling Moscow into the world’s top […]

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Thirteen Percent of Russians Want to Move Abroad – Poll

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 15, 2015) Thirteen percent of Russians would like to move abroad, while 17 percent of Muscovites would like to do so, a poll revealed Monday. Almost half of those who want to leave Russia for good – 38 percent – are young people between the ages of 18 and 24, research by the state-run […]

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Moscow world’s most unfriendly city, survey finds

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Lottie Millington in London – September 14, 2015) Moscow has been voted the unfriendliest city in the world by readers of the US magazine Travel and Leisure. The third unfriendliest was Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg, with cities in America, Western Europe and China also appearing in the list of 15 cities. Even so, […]

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More than just a pretty face: The secrets of the Russian matryoshka

When asked what to bring home from Russia as a souvenir, there’s one thing people are guaranteed to say: “A Russian doll, what else?” But the lacquered wooden “matryoshka” is not an exclusively Russian creation – and it is also a lot younger than many people believe. RBTH finds out a little about the history of the doll, a history […]

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Crowdfunding Support for a Grassroots Organization [The American Home in Vladimir]

American Home in Vladimir, Logo; Adapted from Image © Serendipity-Russia American Home

Subject: Crowdfunding Support for a Grassroots Organization Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 02:15:13 -0500 From: Ron Pope <ron42.pope@gmail.com> THE ISSUE: The American Home in Vladimir has encountered an unusual obstacle. After years of cooperative relations with our organization, the current Vladimir City Administration has decided to invoke what we thought was an outdated clause in the 1992 contract governing the […]

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Ruble Fall Stokes Russian Holidaymaker Woes

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – July 30, 2015) Alexandra Khomenok booked a European holiday earlier this month, but her plans hit a stumbling block this week as the ruble took an abrupt plunge, scraping four-month lows. While the 27-year-old PR manager has already bought tickets for herself and her husband to fly to Italy in September, they […]

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Consumer-Rights Advocate Calls Putin ‘Paranoid’ After ‘Foreign-Agent’ Slur

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, June 24, 2015) A Russian consumer-protection group lambasted by President Vladimir Putin as a “foreign agent” after giving cautionary advice to Russians traveling to annexed Crimea has accused Putin of “paranoia” and called him “badly informed.” Mikhail Anshakov, chairman of the Moscow-based Society for the Protection of Consumer Rights (OZPP), said his […]

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British Explorers Aiming to Cross Bering Strait

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Stirling, Laura Ridpath – June 16, 2015) In February 2016, a team of three British men will attempt to travel across the Bering Strait by ski and kayak, traveling westward from the United States to Russia. If successful, the expedition, headed by Scotsman Mike Laird, will join eight others in completing this treacherous journey. […]

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Russians think their country is most hospitable, foreigners disagree

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Interfax – May 15, 2015) Russians think their country is the world most hospitable, but foreigners maintain an opposite viewpoint, according to a survey conducted in 15 states by use of the Momondo meta-search engine. Thirty-eight percent of polled Russians said their country welcomed foreigners in a best possible way. They gave second place to Turkey (18 percent) and third […]

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Moscow Government Approves Plans for Russian Disneyland

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 12, 2015) Moscow’s urban planning commission has approved plans for a children’s amusement park along the lines of Disneyland to be built in the Nagatinskaya Poima park in southeastern Moscow, City Hall said in a statement. The amusement park will include an indoor theme park operated by Hollywood animation studio DreamWorks, another park operated […]

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EU Says No Visa Liberalization For Ukraine And Georgia

EU Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – May 8, 2015) The EU Commission has said neither Georgia nor Ukraine would obtain visa-free travel to the EU’s Schengen zone at the Riga Eastern Partnership Summit later this month. Speaking in Brussels on May 8 after the EU Commission published its annual visa report on both countries, the spokeswoman for home affairs, Natasha Bertaud, said […]

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NEWSLINK Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies: On Russian Visas for Researchers

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

For non-Russian passport holders required to obtain a visa to conduct research in Russia, the safest visa choice appears to be the Common Humanitarian visa type, backed by an invitation from a Russian academic organization, and specifying “scientific-technical” purposes of the visit, rather than a tourist or business visa. You can obtain a multi-entry humanitarian visa as well, at least […]

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NEWSWATCH National Interest: Debunked: Why There Won’t Be Another Cold War. The new generation doesn’t believe in a “New Cold War.”

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

[“Debunked: Why There Won’t Be Another Cold War. The new generation doesn’t believe in a ‘New Cold War.’” – National Interest – Matthew Rojansky, Rachel S. Salzman – March 20, 2015] Writing for The National Interest, Matthew Rojansky and Rachel S. Salzman address the status of U.S.-Russian relations and whether they could be deemed a new Cold War or turn into one. They also consider […]

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Russia to fingerprint foreigners seeking visas starting Dec. 10, 2014

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

(Interfax – November 25, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on the collection of biometric data for personal identification of foreign citizens and stateless persons. The decree posted on the official legal information portal says foreigners and stateless persons applying for Russian entry visas or transit visas in their travels across Russian territory will be fingerprinted starting […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin’s spokesman rules out return of Iron Curtain

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, October 1, 2014) It is absurd to raise the issue of a possible closure of the Russian borders, the Russian president’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov has said, commenting on a survey by the Levada Centre about the possibility of a return of the Iron Curtain. “The absurdity of this survey does not require any answer,” Peskov […]

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Most Russians Are Against Broadening Foreign Travel Restrictions, Survey Shows

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 1, 2014) More than half of all Russians are against the idea of the government broadening a ban on travel to Western countries, a recent survey has shown, but one third considers more groups should be prevented from leaving the country. Out of the 1,600 people questioned by independent pollster Levada Center, only 55 […]

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Kremlin Undergoing Major Renovation to Lure Tourists

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – August 12, 2014) The Kremlin’s historic building complex in the heart of Moscow is undergoing a series of changes to make it more accessible to tourists, and the presidential administration’s unused offices may be torn down to restore the world heritage site’s “historic look.” Most of the presidential administration has already been […]

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