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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Moscow Places Near Bottom in TripAdvisor Cities Survey

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Breffny Morgan – May 29, 2014) Sanctions may come and go, but bad reviews last a lifetime. TripAdvisor, the second most popular travel website, has recently blasted Russia on several counts of being the world’s worst travel destination in its yearly Cities Survey. This is not an overt move by a TripAdvisor editorial team to […]

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Moscow Ready for Olympic Tourists. And Still Waiting

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – February 14, 2014) The Olympic Games seemed a golden opportunity for the Moscow tourism industry, with the majority of tourists bound to pause in the capital on their way to Sochi. But the city has not been deluged with Olympic visitors. Those few who have stopped in Moscow have been quick to […]

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Top 20 must-see attractions to make your Sochi experience complete

Sochi 2014

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – c – Svetlana Sinepostolovich, for RBTH – February 4, 2014) Here is a to-do list for travelers who don’t want to miss any of Sochi’s highlights 1. Take the obligatory tourist photo While in Sochi you must get a picture of yourself against the backdrop of the subtropical palms along Platanovaya Alley (Sycamore Alley). Tourists […]

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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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Of Russian Tourists, Egyptian Violence, and Fate

Map of Egypt and Environs`

(RIA Novosti – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief, The Moscow News – August 19, 2013) The news of violence coming out of Egypt is horrifying, and it must be said, unfortunately, that we haven’t seen the end of the horror. So why are Russians continuing to flock to the country for vacation this month? The short answer is economics. Vacation packages […]

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State-Funded Study Abroad Program Delayed, Report Says

Moscow State University

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 20, 2013) The Kremlin has held back a proposed program to give financial support to the most talented Russian students undertaking postgraduate degrees in top foreign universities, because there is no guarantee that the economy will benefit from the outlay, a news report said Tuesday. The program was aimed at raising the standard of […]

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Plan a trip to Russia in no time

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Darya Novak, special to RBTH – August 20, 2013) Moscow, Saint Petersburg and The Golden Ring are the only option presented to you by your travel agency you must be thinking there has to be more to Russia than this? Well, you would be right! Russia Beyond The Headlines is launching the ultimate […]

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A hitchhiker’s guide to the Russian galaxy

File Photo of People Working on Car Amidst Siberian Woodlands and Meadows

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Georgy Manaev, special to RBTH   – August 14, 2013) Hitchhiking in the world’s largest country can be a thrilling experience. Gathering bits of advice from Russia’s most experienced travelers, RBTH delves into the history and local habits of this adventurous mode of travel. In recent years, most of the urban population of the […]

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Top 10 must-see places in Russia you won’t find in a tourist guide

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Darya Novak, Ilaria Parogni, RBTH – August 2, 2013) In Russia, the real adventure begins where the touristy trail ends. Off-the-beaten-track sites, unexpected destinations not specified in any guide book and hidden treasures known only to the locals – we at RBTH find new ones every day. Here you can find a list […]

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American witness: Blogging Russian life

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Nathan Gray – July 29, 2013) For Oklahoma native Jennifer Eremeeva, what started as a childhood fascination turned her into a guide of Russian life. Eremeeva’s settlement in Moscow began in 1993 in a rather exotic location, an apartment she shared with her future husband in the neighborhood of Butovo, beyond today’s Moscow Ring Road. […]

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Spending Abroad by Russians to Hit $42 Billion in 2013

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 25, 2013) Russians will spend 1.7 trillion rubles ($42 billion) abroad in 2013, which represents an increase of 13 percent over last year according to an annual study Citibank released Thursday, though half that amount is being spent online. But while spending abroad continues to increase annually, growth is slowing down in some categories. […]

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U.S. Hotels Investing Heavily in Russia

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(RIA Novosti – Maria Young -WASHINGTON, July 11, 2013) ­ American travelers to Moscow, St. Petersburg and elsewhere in Russia may find themselves in familiar surroundings, thanks to a surge in US hotel chains opening across the country. “Russia is one of our three top priority markets, because travel to and from Russia is growing fast. We see it as […]

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Elusive Snowden Could Cause New Hitch in U.S.-Russia Ties

Edward Snowden file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 25, 2013) Journalists flocked to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on Monday to board a flight to Cuba that supposedly would also contain fugitive Edward Snowden, who is attempting to escape arrest by U.S. authorities for revealing highly classified surveillance programs. According to a widely distributed statement by an unidentified Aeroflot employee, Snowden […]

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Russia’s transborder traffic 80 times higher than in Soviet Union times

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Interfax – May 27, 2013) About 167 million people and nearly 27 million vehicles crossed the Russian state border last year, which was 22 percent more than in 2011. “The trend persists in 2013. Back in the Soviet period, the number of persons allowed to cross the state border was roughly 2-2.5 million per year. The number grew to 167 […]

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Russians in America: Chasing a dream or unemployment?

U.S. Map

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Vladimir Chukov, Stepan Serdyukov, Anna Laletina, special to RBTH – April 15, 2013) RBTH continues its coverage of the U.S. Work & Travel program by asking three former participants about their experiences. The Summer Work and Travel program, created as a public diplomacy tool in 1963, allows foreign university students to work and […]

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Lavrov: no obstacle to Russia, U.S. scrapping entry visas

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 11, 2013) Moscow can see no obstacle to Russia and the United States abolishing the entry visa regime in travel between them, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. “As far back as two years ago, (Russian President) Vladimir Putin proposed that we do not limit ourselves to loosening the visa regime but that we move […]

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Despite Visa Hassles, Russia Promotes Itself as Tourist Destination

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Manik Mehta – March 27, 2013) BERLIN ­ In an attempt to refurbish its image as a tourist destination, Russia went on a charm offensive to court international travelers at the recent Berlin International Tourism Bourse, the world’s largest tourism show. Conceding that visa rules were a big problem, a large contingent of Russian tour […]

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Russian-Language Textbooks Stir Controversy

Russian Duma Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Patrick Reevell – December 26, 2012) A policeman says in Russian: “I work a lot, sometimes even too much. … Winter or summer, rain or shine, I go from a bank to a store, from a store to a restaurant, from a restaurant to a market, looking for where to take money.” What’s wrong with […]

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