Russian ambassador: Russia could reconsider limitation of visa free travel for stateless
Ambassador Aleksandr Petrov said though there was no Russian program to motivate the Estonian stateless to apply for Russian citizenship, he couldn’t exclude the possibility that Russia might reverse its decision to no longer grant visa free travel to all Estonian stateless.
Stateless residents of Estonia who are former citizens of the Soviet Union can enter Russia without a visa. This privilege was extended to their children, but following a presidential decree issued in 2008, the Russian border guard began to work on new regulations, which are in effect now and state that any stateless resident of Estonia born after February 1992 can no longer enter the country without a valid visa.
The Estonian ministers of culture and the interior, Indrek Saar (SDE) and Hanno Pevkur (Reform), expressed their hope in reaction to the change that the younger generation of stateless in Estonia might see more reasons now to apply for Estonian citizenship.
Minister of Culture Indrek Saar said on Thursday that anyone who successfully graduated from the Estonian general education system should be able to pass the citizenship exam. Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur pointed out that the procedure has been simplified just this year.
Going for an Estonian passport was attractive for several reasons, Saar pointed out. In addition to the European Union, they could travel to Switzerland, the USA, Canada, and Australia, where if they wanted they could study or take up work a lot more easily as well.
Petrov said that the Russian authorities were deliberating whether or not holders of one and the same passport could be put into different categories, and treated differently. He added that it was possible that the extension of visa free travel to all holders of the alien’s passport could be considered.