Deacon Andrey Kurayev called the next step towards total Chekism changes in the procedure for obtaining Russian visas, which will be introduced from January 1, 2021. From now on, in order to obtain electronic visas to Russia, you will need to fill out a more complete application form than before. It should contain links to pages on social networks and information about relatives and partners. The corresponding decree was published on the portal of legal information.
Now, to obtain an electronic visa, you need to provide general information about yourself (last name, first name, date and place of birth, passport details, place of residence and work), inform about the purpose and region of the visit, the expected date of entry, the presence of relatives in the country and about previous trips to Russia.
From January 1, according to the decision of the Russian Foreign Ministry, more comprehensive information will be required. The foreigner will be obliged to indicate all available email addresses and phone numbers, links to profiles on social networks and instant messengers, personal identification number, details about the spouse and parents, about education in all educational institutions (except for school), as well as about the last two employers (with exhaustive details for communication), military service (indicating the type of troops), the facts of prosecution and the countries visited in three years. Those who have entered into same-sex civil unions may indicate a partner instead of a spouse.
In addition, you will need to provide the exact address and contacts of the place of stay in Russia or information about the citizens whose visit is the purpose of the visit. It is also necessary to indicate the presence of real estate in the Russian Federation, the intention to participate in political activities and the presence of plans to represent non-profit or government organizations.
The reaction of social media users to this initiative was expectedly negative:
- Is it for the development of tourism? And already earlier everyone complained that it was very difficult to get a visa, and with this approach, it's even more difficult...
- All Western Europeans I knew have always complained about Russia's incredibly complicated visa policy. And after that Russia is waiting for the abolition of visas for its citizens?!
- It is incredibly difficult for them to get to Russia, much more difficult than for us in Schengen. Schengen is a paradise in comparison to Russian visas. I'm not talking about Britain and the United States: the immigration rules there are extremely strict.
Indeed, in the United States, similar rules were introduced more than a year ago, and today most applicants for an American visa have to show their social networks to visa officers. The regulations of the Department of State that introduced these rules state that applicants will have to provide information about their social networks, email addresses, and phone numbers for the past five years. The situation is similar with British visas.
All this testifies to the fact that the new "cold war" has not only begun, it is in full swing, and for the complete closure of the "iron curtain" Russia only needs to introduce exit visas, as it was in the USSR.