The Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO considers abolishing
of the visa barrier separating the European Union and Russia
be the most important and a very necessary step towards RF-EU
The advantages that both the sides will get in solving this
problem considerably overweight the bureaucratic problems
that may seem insurmountable today.
We are certain that the issue of elimination the visa barrier
between Russia and Europe should be examined and solved by
politicians rather than bureaucrats. A political will towards
strategic decision-making will enable us to find constructive
ways out in such issues as, for example, the readmission problem.
We would like to specially stress that freedom of movement
within Greater Europe is not reduced for the Russian citizens
to facilitation of their business, study or tourist trips
(albeit this is also very important). This means their normal
life within a single European civilization on the basis of
shared principles. And this issue has become especially acute
when a visa barrier separated us from our closest Eastern
European neighbours as close interaction with them has always
been and continue to be very important when we speak about
European trends in Russia.
Elimination visa barriers and free communication among the
citizens of the EU and the Russian Federation will enable
the Russian citizens to experience the achievements of the
Western democracies and see how democratic institutions should
function, learn the democracy and built a true democracy in
We realise that we have problems with democracy, bureaucracy
and corruption, but it is extremely important for overcoming
such problems to give ordinary citizens an opportunity to
learn and share European values and the way of living. Lack
of free entrance creates problems only for law-abiding citizens
while criminals easily escape all the barriers.
We welcome the statements by Italian Foreign Minister Franco
Frattini that “the Russian citizens have deserved the right
to free movement without visas within the EU” and the position
of Spain which is going to achieve introduction of two years
multiple visas for the Russian citizens during its presidency
in the EU.
We, Russian advocates of the European way of thinking and
the European life style, have been speaking about the reality
of the visa-free regime between Russia and Europe, when the
absolute majority of politicians and citizens regarded this
as a long-term goal or a fantasy. As early as in 1995 the
Yabloko faction in the Russian parliament for the first time
proposed to introduce a visa-free regime between EU and Russia.
We do not see large obstacles in the way of elimination visa
barriers between the EU and Russia which is a member state
of the Council of Europe. At present when we have a favourable
situation for adopting a principled decision, we are addressing
the European Commission and the European Parliament with an
urgent request not to lose time and spare no effort for elimination
of visa barriers between Russia and Europe.
We are certain that in the 21st century we all should focus
our attention on elimination of the survivals of the “iron
curtain” and consider this our common strategic goal.
Chairman of the party