Americans Organized a "Visa Paralysis" for Russians
The US State Department announced new terms for issuing tourist visas for Russian citizens. After September 1, applicants will have to wait for about three months for the call for an interview and will be able to go through the procedure only in Moscow. From August 23 until the end of summer, the processing of documents is suspended completely.
The embassy says that the restrictions are caused by the reduction in the number of American diplomats in Russia. But the Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergey Lavrov, believes that the real reason is different, and promises not to take it out on American citizens. Dmitry Petrov reporting.
Dmitry and Yana came for the interview from Rostov-on-Don. It was scheduled for Wednesday. But this morning, a friend sent an alarming SMS: «Americans don’t issue visas anymore.» Now it's time to work out an alternate option. We were going to visit our relatives to celebrate the New Year with the family. On the other hand, Russians will always find a way to meet with their friends. We will go through Mexico, then. The situation is the same in St. Petersburg, Vladivostok, and Yekaterinburg, where the US Consulates work, although it’s more accurate to say don’t work.
Americans explain this visa paralysis by the sharp reduction in the number of their diplomats. As you know, before September 1, 755 employees of the US embassy have to leave our country. These measures were a response to the arrest of Russian diplomatic property in the United States, as well as the adoption of new sanctions by Congress. Fewer staff means that opportunities for carrying out our work, including holding visa interviews, will be reduced.
The American embassy managed to formulate this only in the afternoon, although it’s obvious that the decision was made a few days ago. And the Russian Foreign Ministry reacted in the morning. The authors of these decisions started making another attempt to cause dissatisfaction of Russian citizens with the actions of the Russian authorities. This logic is well-known. It’s the logic of those who organize color revolutions. This is the inertia of Obama’s administration in its pure form. It’s necessary to study in detail the decisions that were announced by the Americans today, let's see, but I can say one thing, we won’t take it out on American citizens.
Our consulates in the USA do continue to issue Russian visas as usual. But the US State Department says that the fee already paid by the Russians, which is $160, won't be refunded. Yes, valid visas are likely to be renewed automatically. Plus, on a priority basis, visas will be issued to those who travel through international organizations, as well as to attend a wedding or a funeral. But consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok don’t plan to resume work yet. This is very bad, because I’m a children's coach, and we have a children's ice hockey team going to America for a tournament. If they don’t go because of this, it’ll be very unpleasant. It’s difficult to discuss these actions because it’s America, they have their own views on life and their own life. And they do what they want.
By the way, the official website of the embassy works quite strange. We tried to fill out the form as an experiment. It didn’t work out. As I understand, the session has expired. You couldn't fill out the form, could you? No, it turned out that the session was over, although the waiting time was short. The US tourist visa processing can now take up to for six months. In 2016, 110,000 Russians visited the USA. It’s clear that now the number will decrease. First of all, among tourists. But what about those who are going to work or study overseas?
Recently, just a few days ago, it was from these doors that happy owners of American visas came out. Now it's empty. And it’ll remain like this until September 1. But the most interesting is what will happen next. After all, if three consulates out of four stop issuing visas, then all the applicants from all over our vast country will go to Moscow for them. And there will be a real pandemonium.