The US Embassy in Russia stops issuing non-immigrant visas in Russian regions from August 23, 2017. The procedure will resume in Moscow from September 1, but US consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok will suspend interviews indefinitely. The move comes as a reaction to Russia's response to US sanctions, when Russia ordered to cut the number of employees at the US diplomatic mission.
In turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry promised to study the USA's decision about visa procedures. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the USA has conceived "another attempt to raise discontent among Russian citizens with actions of the Russian authorities."
Pravda.Ru conducted an interview on the subject with Andrei Klimov, Senator, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee for Foreign Affairs, Chairman of the Commission for the Prevention of Intervention in Russia's Internal Affairs.
"Do you think that the Russia's Foreign Minister is right in his comment about the decision of the USA to suspend the issuance of non-immigrant visas in Russia? What does the United States want to say with these measures?"
"Their move was predictable. The Americans are trying to respond asymmetrically. In fact, there are not many people working at the US embassy. They had a dilemma to solve: to keep real diplomats and fire those who work in the consulate department and issue visas. Apparently, they wanted to keep more experts who work to spread "American democracy" and cause as much discomfort as possible to Russian people. They kill two birds with one stone. It looks like they keep specialists in the field of color revolutions and send a message to the people of Russia saying that all this is happening because of the actions of the Russian government. Russia tries to understand now how to respond, but the Russian Foreign Ministry does not want to take it out on American people. Unlike the USA, Russia tries to be more civilized."
"It does not look like Russian people will take to the streets to rebel against the Russian government because of such a move of the US authorities. It would be naive to believe the Russians would act so."
"I am sure no one will stage any revolutions because of this. At the end of the day, there are not too many Russians who want to obtain a US visa. Only two or three percent of Russians travel abroad once a year, and most of them go to resort destinations in Europe and Asia. There are no reasons for a revolution here, but the Americans did not use a chance to spite Russia yet again.
"It is worthy of note that Donald Trump, who does not agree with the decision, does not decide much in the USA. Those in charge of anti-Russian policies in the United States were serving on their positions during the presidency of Barack Obama. Trump has not been allowed to bring his people to power. Even if he wanted to change something, it would be very hard for him to do it."
"Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov was appointed on the position of Russia's Ambassador to the United States. What does Russia want to achieve in the US now? What questions do you think Antonov is going to deal with in the first place?"
"Anatoly Antonov is a good specialist, a professional in matters of security. This is what we have to deal with at the moment with the US. The trade turnover between Russia and the United States tends to vanish, economic ties are underdeveloped. I think that the new Russian Ambassador to the United States will be a very good specialist in military and political matters that Russia currently needs to address in its relations with America."
Interviewed by Tatiana Traktina
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The General Staff noted that the document appeared at a time when Russia was trying to deter the arms race unleashed by the United States