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Where are the Russians?

Clerical Error or Travel Ban? Where have Bali’s Russian Visitors Gone?


Bali News: Where are the Russians?
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(5/30/2014)

Russian arrivals to Bali in April dipped to only 125 after averaging 8,000 each month January – March.

A near 99% decline in arrivals in a single month in the absence of some overt explanation initially sparks suspicions that a statistical error has taken place.

An article in the Moscow Times suggests the Kremlin “new course of self-imposed isolation” is banning a large number of Russians from traveling abroad.

Russians working for the enormous national security apparatus is just one group finding the liberalized right to travel no longer applies.

Writer Vladimir Ryzhkov even suggests that the Putin government’s desire to create a siege mentality and fuel antagonism for the West is behind a curtailment of travel privileges.

During the draconian Soviet era, very many Russians were not allowed to travel. At that time, only the Communist Party could approve exit permits, deny anyone who might reveal state secrets. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russians became one of the world’s fastest growing travel market. But now, Russia appears to be once again closing its borders for egress of its own people.

The curtailment in travel rights is happening in outright opposition to the new Russian Constitution that absolutely guarantees citizens the right to travel freely.

Bans are being imposed on security workers, people who have unpaid loans, have unpaid back taxes, pay alimony or owe fines.

This affects around 200,000 security workers and an estimated 500,000 more under surveillance from the Federal Bailiff Service that keeps watch on people with outstanding debt.

Russia is now considering also prohibiting travel for draft-dodgers and even people who have not paid traffic fines.

Following the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, the Russian government suddenly included in a ban on overseas travel employees of the Interior Ministry (1.3 million), Defense Ministry (2 million), Federal Prison Service (326,000), Federal Drug Control Service (40,000), Prosecutor General’s office (63,000), Federal Bailiff service (23,000), Federal Migration Service (34,500), and Emergency Situations Ministry (20,000).

All in all, around 4 million Russian civil servants can no longer travel abroad.

By some estimates, some 5% of Russia’s total population is now banned from foreign travel.

Related Article

Bali by the Numbers: Shifting Fortunes in Southeast Asian Travel


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