Duma adopts bill scrapping visa preferences for EU citizens
MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) - Bill No. 103295, adopted by the State Duma on Wednesday, scraps a number of visa preferences for citizens of most European countries.
The document establishes a visa-based system for diplomatic passport holders, citizens of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, and scraps visa preferences for members of official delegations, national and regional governments and parliaments, and constitutional and supreme courts, as well as journalists from these countries.
The Russian government initiated the bill.
The first six articles of the bill cancel certain provisions of international agreements with the aforesaid countries concerning diplomatic passports and visas. The articles say this is done "due to the need for urgent responses to unfriendly actions." Article 7 says the Russian president will decide whether the cancelled provisions might be reinstated.
The law will take effect at the moment of its official publishing.
Also, Russia will be tightening visa requirements for journalists from unfriendly countries, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov said.
"We will be tightening - under no circumstances will we be cancelling - we will be tightening visa requirements for journalists from unfriendly countries," Ivanov said at a State Duma meeting on Wednesday.
Russia will give an asymmetric response, Ivanov said. "The EU and supporting countries have complicated visa requirements for entrepreneurs, business community members from the Russian Federation," he said.
In his words, journalists from unfriendly countries will be issued single-entry visas and will pay a larger visa application fee.