Since the unprovoked invasion of and war from russia* against Ukraine, relations between the EU and russian federation have been at a historic low, at least since the cold war ended about thirty years ago. Many rich russian folks, certainly those aiding and supporting the putin** regime, have found travel restrictions to the EU and US.
Surprisingly, it was recently brought to our attention that several EU countries still supply russian tourists with new visa to the EU. As such visas allow for entry into the EU, not specified where, tourists found their way to Finland which shares a border with russia. There they are allowed to cross the border into the EU, leave their car behind to proceed with their travels by airliner to any given destination within the EU.
Following this, two views have surfaced:
- Allow russian tourists to enter and travel, but educate them while they are here
- Block entry into the EU for all russian tourists
Allow, albeit educate our guests.
Even if this may sound as the most friendly alternative, the question is if the russians are susceptible for dedication. Specially if it is on subjects where their homeland, its politics and chosen leaders are the the subject of structural foreign criticism.
Block all russian entry.
This might at first glance be the logical conclusion: you mess with peace and stability and we’ll not allow you to enter our territory. As a downside to this policy, the negative view on anything western will be amplified.
I can see merit in both views. It makes of course the most sense to allow tourists if you can educate them. My main concern on this is if you can influence russian opinion that way. I think that the average tourist is only interested in striking off the Mona Lisa from their bucket list. Pending that, I would propose to close the EU borders for all russians and force all EU countries to stop issuing visa. For the time being it would be a good idea to get going with the education initiative. Who knows, perhaps we see a positive effect of this and can keep letting russians enjoy the Louvre and take a selfie with Mona Lisa.
I’ll end this monologue, subtle as always with a well-meant:
*Until russia ends the ongoing war against Ukraine and leaves back all conquered territory to Ukraine, I will not use a capital R for the country.
**For the same reasons as above, I will not write the regime’s dictator with a capital P. I may continue with this…