As if you did not need another reason to visit the Russian Federation, Russia is planning to make foreign visitors, including tourists, sign a “loyalty agreement” that prohibits any negative words about the nation or its regime.
“Loyalty Agreement” Will Be Required For All Visitors To Russia
From TASS, the Russian state-run news agency, comes news of a new protocol the Russian Interior Ministry has devised for foreign visitors:
“The loyalty agreement form represents both a permit from Russian government authorities allowing a given foreign national to enter Russia, on the one hand, and, on the other, the foreigner’s consent to comply with existing prohibitions aimed at ensuring the protection of Russian national interest.”
Among the specifics of the bill:
- Foreigners would be barred from “hindering the work of Russian public authorities and discrediting the country’s domestic or foreign policies and public authorities or government officials.”
- Immigrants would be barred from “spreading information aimed at disparaging or encouraging the repudiation of constitutionally significant moral and other values, including the concept of the institution of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and values associated with the family, motherhood, fatherhood and childhood.”
- Upon entering Russia, foreigners would also be “legally required to refrain from propagandizing non-traditional sexual relations or distorting the historical truth pertaining to the feat of the Soviet people in defending their Fatherland and their contribution to the victory over fascism.”
The bill must now be approved by the State Duma, Russia’s legislature, before going into law.
An alarming number of foreigners in Russia, like Wall Street Journal writer Evan Gershkovich, have been detained inside Russia. Gershkovich has falsely been charged with espionage and faces an extended jail sentence.
While Russia, as a sovereign nation, is free to control boards and regulate visitors, its push to clamp down on all dissent is concerning.
I’ve traveled to Russia before, loved it, and hope to go back, but foreign visitors must carefully calculate whether such a trip, during this period, is worth the risk. Until the war in Ukraine has reached an end, I do not see myself patronizing the Russian Federation.
Russia is preparing to require foreign visitors, including tourists, to sign a “loyalty agreement” upon arrival in the Russian Federation. In a land in which dissent is not tolerated, this news represents a further chilling restriction on free speech and a way in which the Kremlin hopes to stifle any public discord.