Friday, 2 May 2008

Moscow visa chaos was avoidable


In June 2007 EU countries with the exception of the UK, the Republic of Ireland and Denmark signed a visa facilitation agreement streamlining procedures and instigating reciprocal visa arrangements with Russia. Had the UK not suspended negotiations to enter into this agreement, then the furore regarding Champions League Final tickets would not be occurring.

Admittedly, since the events of Tuesday and Wednesday this week, I have become less sympathetic than I might otherwise have been to supporters who wish to attend what promises to be the dreariest European final ever. Nevertheless it is indicative of patronising attitudes to Russia that on one hand the Russian Embassy is urged to ease visa requirements, or indeed suspend them altogether, whilst on the other Russian fans who wish to watch Zenit St Petersburg play Rangers in Manchester’s UEFA Cup Final are expected to supply biometric information and perhaps to undergo interview.

Supporters seeking visas to attend the Moscow final now must process their requests through the Russian National Tourist Office. On a personal note this is a relief as I have a tourist visa to negotiate from the Embassy for late June and the last thing I need is it being swamped in applications from Mancs and Rent Boys.

2 comments:

O'Neill said...

Had the UK not suspended negotiations to enter into this agreement, then the furore regarding Champions League Final tickets would not be occurring.

Why did the Uk suspend negotiations at that particular juncture?

Also, is there some kind of fast-tract system depending on some other variables (off the the top of my head,disposbable and liquid p
ersonal wealth)?

I somehow can't imagine the Russian nouveaux knocking about London faced the same indignities now awaiting the lowly Zenit fans.

Chekov said...

The wider disagreements between the two states intervened. I'm not sure about the situation for wealthy Russians O'Neill, but there certainly seems to be no problem if you're wealthy enough.