Alexander Yakovenko: Relations between Russia and Great Britain began to come around
Britain is not ready by the example of continental Europe to conclude with Russia a full-scale agreement on visa facilitation, – said Russia's ambassador to the United Kingdom Alexander Yakovenko in the interview with the agency ITAR-TASS.
The Ambassador noted that Russia has achieved many successes in the simplification of visa regime with EU countries. In particular, the document that precedes an agreement on visa-free regime, the so-called “List of common steps” is almost completely agreed.
But Britain that does not make part of this agreement, in its turn, carries out a strict immigration reform in relation to citizens of countries outside the European Economic Area and in this context Russia is among the “other” countries.
According to the Ambassador, during the consultation on the abolition of visa regime, “it was stated that the dialogue can go only to accelerate the processing of visas for a fairly narrow category of people – businessmen with “good visa history”. If all goes well, we are told, this practice may be in the future extended to other categories of Russian citizens that meet British standards of “respectability”.
Such an attitude, according to Yakovenko, hampers strongly the development of the humanitarian and business ties between the two countries, although in general the scope of cooperation is widen.
As the Ambassador said: “Russia is open for the full visa dialogue with the United Kingdom. The ball is on the side of our British colleagues”.
In general, Yakovenko noted that the vector of development of Russian-British relations had changed for the better. Only recently London was visited by a number of Russian delegations: the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, headed by First Deputy Minister Alexander Gorovoy, the delegation of the Committee on Constitutional Law of the Federation Council, headed by its chairman Alexei Alexandrov. The mutual trust of the leaders of both countries is slowly recovering, although it will take a long time.
The economy is still based on a set of Russian-British relations: the trade volume that went down because of the economic crisis in 2009, was practically rebuilt in 2010 and amounted to almost $ 16 billion. And while it is 29% lower than those in 2008, the trend toward complete recovery is evident.
At the same time, Britain remains one of the largest investors in the Russian economy – in 2010, our economy has been invested about 40.8 billion dollars.