RIA.RU – Russia must respond quickly and strongly to the US ceasing to issue visas (opinion)

Sourced and translated from https://ria.ru/analytics/20170821/1500776667.html
‘На прекращение выдачи виз в США: Россия должна ответить быстро и сильно’

 

OPINION: Sergei Kolyasnikov, for RIA Novosti

It appears that after the number of American diplomats was reduced to 450, those remaining in Russia cannot find time for such important work as the issuance of visas, including for workers: “From August 23, The United States will suspend the issuance of nonimmigrant visas for Russians” In the American embassy. “Due to the Russian government-imposed cap on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia, all nonimmigrant visa operations across Russia will be suspended on August 23.” the embassy’s website in Moscow reported. The operations will be resumed at the beginning of September, but only in Moscow. In other consulates, the issuance of non-immigrant visas is suspended “until further notice”. Restrictions will remain in force until the number of American diplomats is increased.

If this measure is accompanied by further complicating the procedures and bureaucracy, then it be necessary to go to Moscow to obtain a US visa. This is not a fact that will one day be resolved, and will entail substantial financial and time costs. Everyone understands how this will affect Russians with business interests or enterprises in the US.

And it’s not just about the Russian businesses in the US. Additionally, many flights to South America go through the United States. Given the absence of transit zones in American airports, a visa will be needed to transfer through them.

Simply put, the US is using blackmail to respond to Russian diplomatic measures – that is, bringing the number of US diplomats in line with the number of Russian diplomats on their territory.

The first question that comes to mind is: what exactly are the US diplomats doing if they have no time to issue visas? We have already discussed this interesting topic: nothing good. Even a short list of their actions in Russia is frustrating.

It turns out that the newly appointed US Consul General in Yekaterinburg, Paul Carter, together with his team, will extend this depressing list. It seems that they are even toughening this activity, since they have removed substantial responsibilities for issuing visas.

In my opinion, the answer to the classic “what to do?” is obvious here. Given the vast American business interests in Russia (it is no use naming specific industries, as they are present in virtually all significant industries), the best action will be to mirror these measures in full accordance with historically established diplomatic traditions.

“This is, of course, a démarche. Obviously, we cannot remain in debt, so every action will be mirrored,” stated the deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, head of the Commission for the Protection of State Sovereignty, Andrei Klimov. This was his reaction to the statement of the American embassy, ​​released on Monday, August 21.

We must accept that the US understands only the language of power and no other. Loyalty and attempts to find a compromise are treated without exception as weaknesses and excuses for increasing pressure. The best example of this was in December 2016, when Russia failed to respond to the deportation of 35 Russian diplomats, and the restriction of their access to real estate. What followed in the wake of this? In six months, the United States warned that this reaction would not be considered a response, but a new challenge to be answered. In other words, Russia was deprived of even the right to self-defence.

I am sure there will be a lot of appeals for reconciliation and tolerance in the Kremlin’s lobby, but it is important to remember that ‘tolerance’ is not only a sociological term denoting acceptance of a different worldview, way of life, behaviour and customs, allowing others to live in accordance with their own worldview. In medicine, this word denotes a decrease in the body’s resistance and the weakening of the immune system to the introduction of foreign organisms.

And so, Russia’s response to the American démarche must be rapid and at least symmetrical. Although the latter is not necessary – is it possible to hit back even more powerfully. And maybe, and it is necessary.

 

Featured image: NVOMoscow, US Embassy and Chalyapin houseCC BY-SA 3.0

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