Work on the law on visa-free stay of foreigners in Russia has been stopped
The press service of the Russian Ministry of Culture reported that work on the bill which should allow foreigners to stay in Russia without visa for up to 72 hours has been suspended. According to the experts estimate, the bill could increase the number of foreign tourists in the country by 30–50%.
The Ministry started to work on the law in 2013, and in May 2014 the document had to be submitted for consideration to the State Duma but due to the complicated foreign policy situation this process was deferred.
In 2015, Arkady Dvorkovich directed the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Economic Development and several other departments to develop a concrete plan ensuring foreign nationals traveling in transit the possibility to stay in Russia without a visa for up to 72 hours. This measure should concern citizens of countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, in particular, Australia, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and other developed European countries. It is known that in the beginning of February, authorities prepared a list of airports through which tourists can enter Russia such as Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo, Domodedovo, Pulkovo, Koltsovo and other airports.
This experience was well established in St. Petersburg. After the introduction of the law allowing passengers of ferries and cruise liners to stay in the city without a visa for 72 hours, the number of such travelers has increased by 30% according to experts.