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Giving Russians travel visas is a security risk the world cannot tolerate

Russians can either wage war against their neighbors or travel freely to the West, or do both should not be allowed. We cannot destroy the European rules-based order and at the same time try to profit from its perks.

Although direct air and rail connections between Russia and her EU have been cut, Russian citizens holding a valid Schengen visa can travel by land via Finland, Estonia or Latvia. block can be entered.  Traffic also increased significantly, especially in Finland  176,000 border crossings from Russia in July alone. went up.

Finland is one of her few EU countries that continues to issue tourist visas to Russians. Poland and the Czech Republic, for example, have stopped issuing visas, except for humanitarian reasons, while Finlandissued her over 10,000 new Schengen visas to a Russian last month.

As stated by Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Karas the lack of a coordinated EU response means that Finland, Estonia, Latvia Sole land access point — bears much of the burden and risk of hosting a contingent of Russian nationals on their territory.

Karas is right: visiting Europe is "a privilege, not a human right". We have almost stopped issuing tourist visas.

Indeed, Russians fleeing President Vladimir Putin's persecution should be given access to political asylum.Facilitating brain drain through work and immigrant visas for highly vetted and highly skilled Russians would also help.

At the same time, given reasonable humanitarian exceptions, a systematic ban on short-term visits would be a trivial matter in the EU alone, and would require the cancellation of currently valid visas. It should also include the suspension of new visas.

Officials also continue to allow Russian visitors access to the West, including through threats of secondary sanctions against groups such as the Hungarian-based airline Wizz Air.of travel loopholes should be minimized. It plans to resume flights between Moscow and Abu Dhabi, offering the Russian an indirect but low-cost route to the EU.

A passenger is seen at Vnukovo International Airport.
Sergei Bobylev/

It's not something. It's a security issue first and foremost.

For example, two weeks prior to him, Russian operatives may have targeted the Bulgarian warehouse of Emilian Gebrev, a Bulgarian arms dealer who survived 2015 Novichok poisoning. highly sexual. recent facility. In the Baltics, too, the sizeable Russian-speaking minorities represent a security risk, and the ability of Russian citizens to move freely, establish contacts and foster insecurity exacerbates that risk. only.

In Budapest, the Russian-controlled international investment bank enjoys diplomatic privileges and immunities comparable to other multilateral institutions in the West, such as the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Widely recognized as a medium for espionage and influence peddling.

Banning travel will not close all existing loopholes. However, the effectiveness of sanctions regimes tends to decline over time as adjustments are made and workarounds are found. For that reason alone, so long as Russia remains an aggressor in the war against Ukraine, it is important to send the signal that the West is serious about severing economic, personal and cultural ties with Russia. is.

Talking about "collective punishment" of Russians misses the point. The regime's propaganda is effective, but popular support for Russian imperialism persists. “Ordinary” Russians, therefore, can be compared to the atrocities committed by the government and the military in wars of conquest, as were done by “ordinary” Serbs and “ordinary” Germans in the 1990s and 1940s, respectively. have some responsibility for

Certainly the dissidents deserve our help, but most Russians are, if not indifferent, ,,  In other words, this is not only Putin's war, but alsoRussia's war.

How ordinary Russians and the Russian elite will react to increased travel restrictions is a matter of speculation. But the widely accepted notion that Russians, by their very nature, are somehow eager to suffer for their homeland, and therefore must wait for Western sanctions to end, is equally speculative.

More importantly, concerns about the radicalization of the state, when pushed further and further isolated, two decades of Russian engagement, trade, and integration into Western structures have produced a regime. We are faced with the fact that It is imperialist, revisionist, and a threat to the world. In addition to economic sanctions, travel bans have the potential to make Russians understand not to eat cake.

Dalibor Rohac is a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Twitter: @DaliborRohac