6 Sep 2022 17:38

Putin supports idea of expanding visa-free travel for citizens of certain countries to develop tourism in Russia

VLADIVOSTOK. Sept 6 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has supported the idea of expanding the practice of visa-free travel for citizens of specific countries, including those visiting Russia on organized group tours.

"This is something we are doing already. I think St. Petersburg has this. A cruise ship comes without visas, people come ashore and stay there for some time without visas. This practice could be expanded. This will only be for the benefit," Putin said during Tuesday's meeting of the State Council.

Putin also proposed developing bilateral cooperation on establishing a visa-free travel framework with foreign countries.

"I would suggest talking not about certain [nations with whom visa-free travel could be established]. Nothing should be imposed on anyone. One should just talk about cooperation on a bilateral track," he said.

"As regards establishing visa-free travel on a bilateral basis in order to facilitate mutual visits, advice from the Foreign Ministry is also needed," he said.

"In principle, I wouldn't be holding on to reciprocity in this case. I know the general principle that the Foreign Ministry has, which is the reciprocity principle. When it comes to serving our interests, all these principles should be used, where this is beneficial. If something creates obstacles for us, what are such principles for? One could be more flexible," Putin said.