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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Russia Gives Putin Critic Navalny Passport to Travel Abroad

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov – May 4, 2017) #Russian opposition leader Alexey #Navalny said he’s been issued with a passport that would allow him to seek treatment abroad for eye damage suffered when an assailant threw a chemical in his face. The Federal Migration Service notified him that he can collect the passport after a five-year struggle to […]

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Border regime with Belarus was not introduced, at issue are border zones to regulate trips by citizens of third countries – Kremlin

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. Feb 3 (Interfax) – #Moscow has pointed it out to #Minsk that no decisions on the introduction of a border regime on the #Russian-#Belarusian border have been made and the Federal Security Service director’s order on the creation of border zones is aimed at regulating trips by citizens of third countries. “Belarusian President Alexander #Lukashenko [on Friday] made critical […]

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Russia has not recognized DPR, LPR passports – Peskov

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

MOSCOW. Feb 3 (Interfax) – Russia has not officially recognized the passports of people who live on the territory of the self-proclaimed Donbas republics, there are specific humanitarian actions by the local authorities and companies, Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov said. During a meeting with journalists on Friday, Peskov was asked to comment on a report that the passports […]

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Muscovites bring flowers to commemorate slaughtered girl, nationalists demand visas for Central Asia

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

MOSCOW. March 1 (Interfax) – Muscovites are bringing flowers to the Oktyabrskoye Pole metro station to commemorate a young girl, whose nanny was detained near the metro station on Monday with the girl’s head in her hands. There are lots of flowers, some with black ribbons, soft toys, chocolate, candies and candles near the entrance to the metro station. Pedestrians […]

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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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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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Putin talks about possibility of granting asylum to Assad in Russia

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Interfax – January 12, 2016) It is premature to discuss if Russia should grant asylum to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. “I think it is quite premature to discuss this. We granted asylum to Mr. Snowden, which was far more difficult than to do the same for Mr al-Assad,” he said in an interview with […]

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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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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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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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Hiding dual citizenship now a criminal offense in Russia

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anastasia Vityazeva, special to RBTH – August 12, 2014) New legislation requires Russians with passports of two or more countries to inform the migration service on their own initiative, with those who intentionally conceal dual citizenship being criminally liable. A government representative claims that Russians who are a citizen of more than one […]

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Russian Expats Wrestle With Dual-Citizenship Dilemma

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(RFE/RL – Carl Schreck – June 23, 2014) A new Russian law criminalizing the failure to declare foreign passports has raised fears of a fresh Kremlin crackdown on opponents at home, but Russian expatriates technically excluded from the statute are now scrambling to determine whether they must comply as well. As it turns out, they may not be off the […]

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Russia To Test Migrant Workers On Country’s History

Migrant Workers file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Farangis Najibullah and Umid Bobomatov – June 13, 2014) So you want to work in Russia? You may be a skilled bricklayer — but do you know when Ivan the Terrible reined in the boyars? Or when the Polish-Lithuanian forces were expelled from Muscovy? When Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg? No? Well you might want to start […]

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Interfax: Snowden must apply for extension if he decides to stay in Russia – head of Federal Migration Service council

Edward Snowden file photo

MOSCOW. June 2 (Interfax) – Former CIA analyst Edward Snowden will have to ask for extension of his temporary asylum if he decides to stay in Russia, Vladimir Volokh, the head of the Public Council of the Federal Migration Service, told Interfax on Monday. “He has to request an extension of his temporary stay. No additional documents are filed if […]

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Russia Targets ‘Traitorous’ Dual Citizenship Holders

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – May 30, 2014) Russia is about to criminalize failure to declare dual citizenship in what lawmakers say is a bid to crack down on the “fifth column” – and the fifth column is duly scared. Exposing holders of multiple passports may be the first step to banning dual citizenship, said a holder […]

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New Law Requires Knowledge of Russian For Residency

Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 22, 2014) President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that requires foreigners to prove their ability to speak Russian while also giving his seal of approval to a separate bill that will make it easier to grant citizenship to Russian-speakers in former Soviet states. The new immigration rules for foreign citizens, published […]

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Interfax: Moscow’s response to “mirror” U.S. sanctions, asymmetric measures being considered – Russian diplomat Sergei Ryabkov

Sergei Ryabkov file photo

MOSCOW/VIENNA. March 20 (Interfax) – Moscow may draft its own “blacklist” of American officials as part of a response that will “mirror” the sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “If Washington restarts measures to escalate tensions and confrontation, as well as attempts to tell us what we should do using the […]

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Interfax: Sergei Lavrov says Western sanctions on Russia are not lawful

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. March 20 (Interfax) – The sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union and the United States do not have international legal grounds, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “Unilateral sanctions have never done any good. They are not legal. And they do not have international legal grounds,” Lavrov said at a State Duma sitting on Thursday. “The UN […]

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Large investors, alumni of Russian universities to enjoy easier naturalization – newspaper

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

MOSCOW. Feb 12 (Interfax) – The Federal Migration Service and the Economic Development Ministry have drawn up a law, which facilitates naturalization of foreign citizens, Kommersant wrote on Wednesday. The simpler naturalization procedure will be primarily granted to businessmen who invest at least ten million rubles in Russia and foreign alumni of Russian colleges and universities who work in Russia […]

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PACE Threatens European Magnitsky Act

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – January 29, 2014) The Parliamentary Assembly for the Council of Europe, or PACE, voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve a resolution critical of Russia for its handling of the investigation into the death of Sergei Magnitsky, over the fierce objections of Russian lawmakers present for the vote. By adopting the resolution, which […]

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Russia to start fingerprinting foreign visitors in July

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(RIA Novosti – January 23, 2014) Russia is planning to introduce mandatory fingerprinting for all foreigners applying for visas to the country. Under the terms of a draft presidential decree posted online Thursday, the Foreign Ministry will launch a pilot project in July to test the necessary equipment and procedures. The project envisions fingerprinting of foreigners at Russian embassies and […]

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EU Links Easing of Visas to Russia’s Rights Record

EU Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – January 20, 2014) An official from the European Union spoke out about several concerns over Russia during a visit to Moscow on Friday, warning that plans for a visa-free regime would be put on hold until issues of corruption and human rights are addressed. The meeting came shortly after the EU decided […]

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Hue and cry as US journalist barred from Russia – or was he?

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Business New Europe MOSCOW BLOG – bne.eu – Ben Aris – January 15, 2014) The international press threw up a hue and cry on January 14 after it emerged a US journalist David Satter had been barred from re-entering Russia. Superficially, it appears the Kremlin has banned a western journalist because he was critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. […]

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Journalist’s Expulsion Reveals Visa Quagmire

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 16, 2014) As pundits speculated about possible political repercussions of Russia’s decision to bar U.S. journalist David Satter, the country’s often cumbersome and conflicting visa application process came into the spotlight on Wednesday. While for some observers the visa bureaucracy was seen as a tool to cushion the state’s political decisions, […]

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Interfax: Russia-EU summit may become a “suitable moment” for progress on visas – Russian envoy

EU Map

BRUSSELS. Jan 14 (Interfax) – A Russia-European Union summit, due to open in Brussels on January 28, could be a “suitable moment” to sign an agreement to further simplify visa rules, while the launch of talks on visa-free travel could send a favorable signal for further promoting the sides’ strategic partnership, Russia’s envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said. “The […]

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Expulsion of U.S. Journalist Sparks Controversy Before Olympics

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 14, 2014) Russia has barred a U.S. journalist for five years in a move that has triggered a frenzy between Russian authorities and Western media on Tuesday, signaling possible heightened tensions ahead of upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. It was not clear whether David Satter, 66, was banned entry into […]

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Record Number of U.S. Visas Issued to Russians in 2013

Stylized Russian and U.S. Flags with Number 200, 1807-2007

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 13, 2014) A record total of about 250,000 U.S. nonimmigrant visas were issued to Russians last year, a jump of 15 percent compared to the previous record year, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said Monday. In 2013, more than 30 percent of Russians obtained U.S. visas without going through an interview due to […]

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Interfax: Moscow to respond proportionally in case Washington expands Magnitsky List – official [Matviyenko]

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

(Interfax – December 18, 2013) The so-called Magnitsky List is an utterly unfriendly step regarding Russia and Moscow will take proportionate measures if it is expanded, Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said. “I think that this law is an unfriendly step regarding us and does not contribute to improving the climate in our bilateral relations with the United States. […]

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Interfax: Russia will pay U.S. “in its own coin” for expanding Magnitsky List – Russian diplomat

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW. Dec 16 (Interfax) – Russia will answer symmetrically if the United States expands the so-called Magnitsky List, i.e. the list of Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses and subject to U.S. financial and visa sanctions under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “Decisions on putting more Russian […]

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RIA Novosti: New Battle Looms in US-Russian ‘War of Blacklists’

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

WASHINGTON, December 9 (By Carl Schreck for RIA Novosti) ­ The United States and Russia face a potential renewed blacklist war as a deadline looms this week for Washington to report on controversial sanctions against alleged Russian rights abusers. The US administration has until Saturday to submit to Congress its inaugural annual report on any additions to the so-called “Magnitsky […]

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Interfax: Most migrants come to Russia in visa-free travel regime, many don’t speak Russian

Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – A third of migrant workers do not speak Russian, Federal Migration Service head Konstantin Romodanovsky said. “We are witnessing a surge in the arrivals of migrants from CIS member countries. As of now, 11.1 million foreigners are staying in Russia, and almost three-quarters of them enjoy the visa-free travel regime,” he told a roundtable in […]

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Browder Expects Broader Magnitsky List Sanctions for Russian Officials in U.S., Europe

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 20, 2013) The United States may publish the extended version of the “Magnitsky list” as early as next month, while Europe is expected to pass a  similar measure, Hermitage Capital investment fund president and bill supporter William Browder said. The Magnitsky Act, enacted by the U.S. Congress in December 2012 and named after late […]

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Lawmakers From 21 Countries Form Magnitsky Group

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 13, 2013) Lawmakers from 21 countries have formed a commission to promote sanctions against Russian officials implicated in the prison death of whistle-blowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. The Justice for Sergei Magnitsky commission, which was holding its inaugural meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, includes lawmakers from Canada, Britain, France, […]

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How Wealthy Russians Buy a 2nd Passport

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Sam Skove – October 18, 2013) When Nuri Katz, founder of investment firm Apex Capital, heads for the customs gate, he gets to decide which of his three passports to use ­ – a privilege that his Russian clients would pay up to 5 million euros to enjoy. Katz is in the citizenship-by-investment business. Select […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia to Push for Visa-Free Regime Deal With EU in 2014 – Official

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, October 17, 2013) Russia wants to begin drafting a deal on visa-free travel with the EU early next year, a senior Russian diplomat said in an interview published Thursday. That deal, however, requires the EU to make a “political decision to begin negotiations on drafting the agreement,” Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told RIA Novosti. The […]

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Despite U.S.-Russia Tensions, Visa Deal Called a Success

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – September 27, 2013) As U.S. and Russian officials enter the umpteenth month of wrangling over how to address the Syrian civil war, and politicians from the former Cold War foes maintain their hostile rhetoric, one of the countries’ last bilateral agreements is turning one year old, and its success is showing that […]

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About 1 Million Foreigners Registered in Moscow

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 28, 2013) About one million foreigners are officially registered with the migration authorities in Moscow and 1.5 million in surrounding areas as of Tuesday, a senior migration official said. “We have a centralized database of foreign nationals. Today we have obtained the most recent figures: there is about a million of foreign nationals in Moscow […]

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U.S. Fugitive Snowden Can Work, Travel in Russia – Official

Edward Snowden file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 2013) ­ Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is legally free to travel around Russia and occupy any non-state job in the country, a senior migration official said on Friday. Last week Russia granted Snowden – who is wanted by the United States on espionage and theft charges after leaking classified information about the US […]

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Explainer: How Do You Get Asylum In Russia?

Edward Snowden file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – July 26, 2013) Fugitive U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia and is expected to soon be given a document that would allow him to leave the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport — where he has spent the past month. RFE/RL takes a look at the procedure for […]

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Russia hopes to sign visa relaxation accord with EU before year-end

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 29, 2013) Moscow hopes to sign a visa relaxation agreement with the European Union before the end of 2013, Russian Foreign Ministry Ambassador at Large Anvar Azimov said. “We expect the signing of the updated agreement before the end of this year. This will require political will to be demonstrated by EU member states. Russia has […]

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Russians get over 111,000 U.S. visas in Jan-June 2013 up 20% year-on-year

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

(Interfax – MOSCOW. July 24) Russian citizens received over 111,000 U.S. visas from January-June 2013, the U.S. embassy in Russia said. “Over 111,000 visas were issued in Russia in the first half of the year. Over 20% more tourist visas than the same period last year,” the U.S. embassy tweeted.

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Snowden has no grounds to apply for Russian citizenship – Russian human rights activist

Edward Snowden file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW. July 17, 2013) Former CIA employee Edward Snowden has no right to submit documents for Russian citizenship, Civil Assistance human rights committee head Svetlana Gannushkina told Interfax on Wednesday. Lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, who is helping Snowden, said on Wednesday that Snowden did not exclude applying for Russian citizenship. “As of today, Snowden has no right to submit […]

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Decision to be made on Snowden within three months – migration service

Edward Snowden file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 16, 2013) A decision on granting asylum to ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden will be made within three months, a highly-placed official with the Federal Migration Service told Interfax on Tuesday. “A decision will be made in compliance with the legal timeframe, within three months,” he said. Federal Migration Service spokeswoman Zalina Kornilova has confirmed to Interfax […]

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