In a recent speech at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), Russian ambassador Alexander Yakovenko said that the UK government should ease UK visa restrictions and that this would go a long way to developing trade and tourism for both countries and strengthening their ties.
“Russia is part of the Schengen agreement, under which it takes just a few days to obtain visas to participating EU countries. However, in order to get UK visas, it takes weeks”, Mr. Yakovenko said.
“I remember five years ago when we abolished the visa regime with Israel – the business jumped by five times almost in one year. Now we have 12 jumbo planes every day to Tel Aviv from Moscow.”
Russia currently has a visa-free regime with 100 countries, and the Ambassador said he hoped to have a visa-free regime with countries in the Schengen zone, including the UK, within two years.
According to the ambassador, Russia would like more visitors from the UK, whether for business, travel or tourism purposes, and expects them to contribute to the Russian economy.